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MSI Z490 motherboards offer complete PCIe 4.0 solutions. With 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, MSI Z490 motherboards offer great bandwidth and performance for PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs and graphics cards. Many of you may have the question: which M.2 slot should be used for PCIe 4.0 devices? Here is the recommendation.


Use M2_1 Slot for PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs

The M2_1 slot of every MSI Z490 motherboard supports PCIe 4.0 with the 11th Gen Intel Core Processor installed. The M2_1 slot will be connected to the CPU to use the PCIe 4.0 x4 bandwidth from the CPU. No additional setting in BIOS is necessary.


As the below graph shows, when a 10th Gen Intel Core Processor is installed, the M2_1 slot is connected to the chipset. It’s connected to the CPU when an 11th Gen Intel Core Processor is installed.


M2_1 slot can be connected to CPU or PCH depending on the CPU installed
▲ M2_1 slot can be connected to CPU or PCH depending on the CPU installed.


Samsung 980 PRO is running PCIe 4.0 x4 on Z490-A PRO
▲ Samsung 980 PRO is running PCIe 4.0 x4 on Z490-A PRO


When it comes to PCIe slots, for every MSI Z490 motherboard, the first PCIe x16 slot (PCI_E1) supports PCIe 4.0. For some models equipped with 3 PCIe x16 slots, the second PCIe x16 slot supports PCIe 4.0 as well. PCI_E1slot is recommended for installing a graphics card.


Here is the list for M.2 and PCIe x16 slot and the max transfer mode supported. Please refer to the user’s manual for more detail about M.2 and PCIe slot configurations.


M2_1 slot of each Z490 motherboard supports up to PCIe 4.0 x4
▲ M2_1 slot of each Z490 motherboard supports up to PCIe 4.0 x4.


PCI_E1 slot is recommended for installing a graphics card
▲ PCI_E1 slot is recommended for installing a graphics card


*11th Gen Intel Core Processor is required for PCIe 4.0 support.
* *When a SATA M.2 device is installed in M2_1 slot, it will be connected to chipset.