The Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 comes with four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, and three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots.

Usually, on motherboards based on the Z87 chipset, only the first two PCI Express x16 slots are controlled by the CPU. The other PCI Express x16 slots are controlled by the chipset, operating at a lower speed (x4 or x1) and only compatible with 2.0 specifications, which offers half of the 3.0 bandwidth. On this motherboard, however, the four slots are controlled by the processor, using a PLX PEX8747 switching chip, thus all slots are PCI Express 3.0.

The second PCI Express x16 slot (PCIEX8_1) shares bandwidth with the first one (PCIEX16_1), which means that the first slot works at x16 speed if the send one is not used, and at x8 if there is a video card installed in the second one. The same happens with the third and fourth slots. So, the possible slot configurations are x16/x0/x0/x0, x16/x0/x16/x0, x16/x0/x8/x8, and x8/x8/x8/x8.

All the PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots support both SLI and CrossFireX technologies.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5Figure 2: Slots

The PLX PEX8747 chip, which allows the high-end slot configuration, is shown in Figure 3, without its heatsink.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5Figure 3: The PLX PEX8747 chip

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.