If your motherboard has a PCI Express slot next to the CPU socket, you are likely using one of Intel's motherboards with LGA 1156 sockets. Most of these types of boards require the user to install an expansion card in that PCI Express slot for additional North Bridge components, such as video cards. However, if you are using Intel's H55 chipset motherboards, the PCIe x16 slot has direct access to the northbridge (Intel ICH10), because there is no additional logic between them to share data paths.

PCIe Slot

The motherboard's Northbridge is directly accessible via the primary PCIe slot. Let's start with what a PCIe slot is and why it's important. PCIe cards connect computer motherboards to graphic cards and other expansion devices. Because of its speed, the PCIe slot is replacing the common PCI expansion card connector. As you can see in the photo, there are two types of PCIe slots: x1 and x16. Its main feature is that it has direct access to your motherboard's Northbridge chipset via direct paths instead of sharing data with devices on other interfaces which could cause bottlenecking. It typically supports speeds up to 1 GB per second (so don't get confused when someone tells you that they have a "1000 Mbps" connection).

ZIF Socket And Its Purpose

The term "zero insertion force" refers to the amount of pressure required to insert a chip into a socket. It's a pin grid array (PGA) or pin grid array (PGA) socket. It's straightforward to use since it doesn't require any effort to push PGA chips in. It has a rectangular socket and is used to securely mount the chip. Its pins are pressed by the socket's pressure plate, which makes it possible for you to unplug chips easily.

The motherboard's cards slot gives direct access to its Northbridge chipset. The typical ATX motherboard has several expansion slots such as PCI Express x1 and Cardbus x1 (for laptops) that connect your computer tower to devices like video cards or sound cards. An important thing about these types of sockets is that they use shared data paths – meaning that information from more than one source can be sent through them simultaneously – making it a bottleneck where there is a traffic jam on a single bus leading to the Northbridge chipset.

North Bridge Motherboard

The chip architecture determines the maximum speed of a computer's main chipset. The Northbridge is the controller that links the CPU to the front side bus, which connects it to memory (FSB).

The processor is connected to the chipset located north of other computers via a rapid bridge, also known as the Northbridge. The Southbridge is at the bottom of all other systems, as seen in the drawing.

The Northbridge chipset is the main controller that links the microprocessor to other system components, such as memory and video cards. It is connected to the CPU through a motherboard's front-side bus (FSB). The FSB transfers data at very high speeds between these two important pieces of hardware. Sharing this path with other devices can cause bottlenecks by either overloading or underutilizing it. Having direct access to your Northbridge chipset should be considered when choosing your motherboard for ABIT IS7-G, Intel P35 chipset, Asus P5Q-E, Gigabyte GA-EP45T UD3R, MSI P965 Platinum, etc...

In most cases, all you have to do is simply install the expansion card into the correct PCIe slot. In some cases, you may need to configure your BIOS for proper operation as well as install drivers from a disc that comes with the device.

Motherboard's PCIe Slot

In this case, installing your graphics card in the motherboard's primary PCIe x16 slot should provide good performance results because of direct access to the main chipset (Northbridge). However, this configuration is not always possible and may require additional hardware such as power cables or SLI connectors (to link graphics cards together - see picture below).


You should be able to identify the major components and elements of a typical motherboard, as well as how they function together. On average, your new high-end graphics card should fit in the newest PCIe 16 slot. However, when choosing your motherboard, be sure to choose one with a PCI Express x16 connector for best performance.