Question Z370 + thunderbolt 3 + PCIE lanes + NVME

johnrob

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Nov 22, 2014
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Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on a potential build.

Intel i5 8600k
Asus Z370 Prime A2 motherboard

Can someone explain to me how PCIE lanes work?

I would like to also install an NVME boot drive, a SATA 3 SSD work drive, and a thunderbolt 3 add in card.

I want to run an audio interface to the thunderbolt add in card, and I'm wondering if there is enough bandwidth available for that to make sense.

My DAW and plugins would be installed on the larger SATA SSD, NVME would likely only have windows installed on it and a select few games.

My main concern is ultra low latency record monitoring with plugins active....but I won't go MAC because of cost + user experience differences.

Since gaming is also something I will be doing, the x16 pci slot will be populated with a GPU.
 

jimmysmitty

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The Z370 chipset ha s24 PCIe 3.0 lanes to itself. Most are divided between the slots but some are used for the onboard devices like the NIC, USB and SATA. You should have plenty of bandwidth. The NVMe drive will take x4 lanes and the Thunderbolt add-on card will take another x4 lanes. It looks like your board also has its own Thunderbolt header and since you are using it just for audio it probably wont need a ton of bandwidth.

The SATA drive wont affect the lanes used by the NVMe drive or TB add-in card.

The top x16 slot has its own PCIe lanes that are directly connected to the CPU so they do not factor into the 24 lanes provided by the chipset.

You should be fine to do what you want.
 
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johnrob

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Nov 22, 2014
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The top x16 slot has its own PCIe lanes that are directly connected to the CPU so they do not factor into the 24 lanes provided by the chipset.
This is what I was hoping for, but was pretty unclear, especially after doing some googling.

I wish some of these companies weren't so slow to adopt faster I/O into the built in rear panel, but I get that it's risky...apple having fully adopted thunderbolt 3 kinda makes this all seem unnecessarily conservative though.
 
FYI, the 24 lanes from the chipset all share a x4 connection to the CPU. So in theory if you install the thunderbolt card in the 3rd PCIe slot (which goes through the chipset), it would have to split the x4 bandwidth to the CPU with the NVMe SSD. If you install the thunderbolt card in one of the first two PCIe x16 slots, it would limit bandwidth of whatever is in the other slot to x8. But given that you don't mention any graphics card, this may not be applicable.
 

jimmysmitty

Champion
Moderator
This is what I was hoping for, but was pretty unclear, especially after doing some googling.

I wish some of these companies weren't so slow to adopt faster I/O into the built in rear panel, but I get that it's risky...apple having fully adopted thunderbolt 3 kinda makes this all seem unnecessarily conservative though.
The adoption for TB on PC is slow because it had a proprietary connection and was more expensive. Now that USB Type C is becoming common and Intel removed the royalties I am sure it will adopt much faster since it can run pretty much every standard and has quite a bit more bandwidth than USB 3.2 Gen 2.

Apple on the other hand adopts more expensive tech fast because people blindly buy their products.

FYI, the 24 lanes from the chipset all share a x4 connection to the CPU. So in theory if you install the thunderbolt card in the 3rd PCIe slot (which goes through the chipset), it would have to split the x4 bandwidth to the CPU with the NVMe SSD. If you install the thunderbolt card in one of the first two PCIe x16 slots, it would limit bandwidth of whatever is in the other slot to x8. But given that you don't mention any graphics card, this may not be applicable.
His last sentance states his top PCIe x16 slot will be GPU for gaming. x8 wouldn't be the end of the world but I doubt that the audio and NVMe drive will compete enough and degrade performance to a noticeable point especially since his motherboard has a plug for TB on it. They probably designed it with adding a TB card into the system.
 
Jun 7, 2019
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Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on a potential build.

Intel i5 8600k
Asus Z370 Prime A2 motherboard

Can someone explain to me how PCIE lanes work?

I would like to also install an NVME boot drive, a SATA 3 SSD work drive, and a thunderbolt 3 add in card.

I want to run an audio interface to the thunderbolt add in card, and I'm wondering if there is enough bandwidth available for that to make sense.

My DAW and plugins would be installed on the larger SATA SSD, NVME would likely only have windows installed on it and a select few games.

My main concern is ultra low latency record monitoring with plugins active....but I won't go MAC because of cost + user experience differences.

Since gaming is also something I will be doing, the x16 pci slot will be populated with a GPU.
Hi There,

Im using a GA Z370 SLI XP ....with 970 evo nvme .. and all my SATA ports r connected to different HDDs

Also i'm planning to buy a GA Alphine ridge for a UAD Apollo TWIN MKii Sound card ..
is that gonna affect my PC .. I'm Using a hackintosh for Music Production .. LOGIC PRO X as DAW

I wanted to know if it worked for you.

THUNDERBOLT HACKINTOSH setup
 

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