I have a Shuttle SG31G2 that has an Intel G31/ICH7 chipset, one PCI slot, and one 16x PCI Express slot. I want to add a better gigabit NIC to it, and the PCI slot is already in use by a SATA card. According to this this diagram of the chipset, the x16 PCIe slot is connected differently than the other PCIe slots.

If I put a non-graphics PCIe card into this slot, will it work? Has anyone tried this? This may seem like a dumb question, but this guy was not able to do it on a Shuttle SB81P with a Intel 915G/ICH6R chipset, which has a similar diagram.


This configuration worked for me. I was able to install a network card in my "graphics" PCIe slot, and my onboard video continued to work (at least through the VGA port, the DVI port could have been disabled, but I don't use it so I don't know). This behavior appears to depend on the motherboard, so you may not have the same results with yours.

  • I did some more digging, and apparently installing a PCIe card on this motherboard works, but any card will disable the integrated DVI port (the VGA port is unaffected, apparently). – Kaypro II Dec 31 '09 at 21:19
  • I installed a PCIe network card, and I can confirm that it works and the VGA port is unaffected (I didn't check the DVI port because I don't use it). – Kaypro II Jan 17 '10 at 7:43
  • good question, in fact, on shuttle.eu one typically sees 1 x PCI-Express x16 v1.0 (for graphics cards only) – Andre Holzner May 11 '11 at 7:56
  • I am also facing the same problem with PCI-e slots. I want to use a PCI-E x1 NIC card on a PCI-E x16 slot. Physically, the card was placed perfectly, but when I switched on my PC, my display/monitor did not switch on. I came to know that the x16 slot is dedicated only for the graphics card. This seems logical because no other cards have that much speed, compatible with x16 slot speed, VGA/GRAPHIC is directly connected to the motherboard and transfers data with the same speed. – user100945 Oct 10 '11 at 21:10
  • @wasim For me, the integrated VGA video still worked with a card in the "graphics" slot. It probably depends on the motherboard. – Kaypro II Oct 17 '11 at 22:17

January 7th 2014 Edit

I currently have a PCIE x4 Intel I350 NIC in a PCIE x16 slot meant for graphics on a Intel DH77DF motherboard working without a problem.

The original post below stating that "as long as it fits it should work" still stands. It's still possible that some motherboard manufacturers have a PCIE x16 slot that won't accept anything other than a graphics card. I think this only happened in the early days of PCI Express, and modern motherboards (say Core 2 and newer, and definitely Core i-series and newer) are pretty flexible in what you can use the PCIE x16 slot for.

Also, make sure you have on-board or on-chip graphics, or a video card somewhere. Most motherboards won't boot without video. Although, sometimes you might be able to configure the BIOS to ignore the lack of video and continue booting.

I figured I'd return to clarify my answer after encountering this very situation myself :)

Original Post

Initially I'd say there's no real difference between the PCI-Express slots and as long as it fits there's no problem.

However, the problem is if the PCI-Express slot is specifically labeled for video card. The tomshardware link shows the user placing the TV Tuner card in his second slot, not the first. The first slot (in your case, your only slot) might be graphics only.

Some point to yes. Some point to no. It's hard to tell and seems like it's up to how the motherboard manufacturers decided to integrate the chipsets.

  • "slightly" interesting, but more than "slightly" offtopic... – quack quixote Dec 30 '09 at 6:12
  • Well -- he's trying to add SATA and gigabit in a machine and has gone beyond what the motherboard features. If it turns out he can't have both cards in the same box, it could be an alternate solution. – krhainos Dec 30 '09 at 6:16
  • I have a raid array on this box (6 2.5" drives in the 5.25"/3.5" bays), and I'm only getting <=20MB/sec, which I'm trying to improve by upgrading the NIC. I think I'll just spend another $30 and try it out, since if it will work seems highly dependent on the mobo. Though, next time I try to build a tiny fileserver, I think I go with a low-profile business-class Dell over another Shuttle. – Kaypro II Dec 30 '09 at 6:44
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    If that is really a PCI Express x16 slot, then there is nothing to fear. There were however some Intel chipset motherboards, that could use that slot with a special DVI extender card, I don't know about them. And who cares about your SATA RAID? This is highly offtopic! – ppeterka Oct 19 '12 at 13:20

Yes, they will physically fit into the machine (and work properly). You're just not using those extra bus lanes.

I also verified this through a discussion on the web: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/205984-33-card-slot

  • I've put SATA cards into 16x PCIe slots, it works perfectly fine. – Steven Lu Dec 30 '09 at 3:21
  • Could you tell me the chipset of the motherboard you did that on? – Kaypro II Dec 30 '09 at 3:47
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    PCIe should be PCIe. an x1 board uses 1 lane; an x16 slot provides 16 lanes. not all of them need to be used by a given card. just don't force insertion and you should be fine. – quack quixote Dec 30 '09 at 23:37

I have done this many times without a problem.

The PCI Express graphics slot (PEG) is identical to a normal PCI Express slot, with the exception that it has some architectural enhancements for transferring large amounts of data to and from your system and sometimes providing more power to the card. This doesn't negatively impact using any standard PCI Express card in that slot.

The hiccup, is if the motherboard also has an integrated graphics chip. If it does, a few motherboards automatically disable the integrated graphics chip, depending on if the BIOS detects a card in the PEG slot. This is not typical though, and you can usually adjust this behaviour by going into the BIOS and changing the priority of video card detection to prioritize integrated graphics first instead of PCI Express or PCI.

  • 1
    +1 for stating that PCI-e is PCI-e. There are no 'graphics PCI-e slots' and 'other PCI-e slot'. PCI-e = PCI-e. -1 for extra power. No PCI-e slot should provide more than 75 Watt via the connector (and really none should provide less). Having said that, there are at least a few computers (Dell optiplex 745/755) which turn off the on-board graphics when any card is inserted in the PCI-e slot. Any card, including non graphics cards. This however is a serious bug in the BIOS of those computers. – Hennes Jan 7 '14 at 19:05

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