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You’ve finally done it! You’ve switched to a Mac from Windows, which hopefully means you’ll be visiting Switching to Mac in the future! For now, you’re staring at the macOS desktop and, while it sort of looks and feels like Windows, things are very much not where you expect them to be. 

We’re here to help you get up to speed quickly. By the end of this article, you’ll know the most important things from a Windows user’s perspective to get up and running quickly. We’re using macOS Catalina here, so some of the newer features may not apply to older versions such as Mojave or High Sierra.

Table of Contents

The Apple Button Is Your Friend

The very first thing you should acquaint yourself with after switching from Windows to Mac is the Apple button at the top left corner of the screen. Just move the mouse pointer there and the menu should pop up. The two most important entries on that Apple button menu are About this Mac and System Preferences.

“About this Mac” shows you essential information about your Mac. This includes its serial number, specs, how much storage is available, and more. It’s a very useful utility.

System Preferences is the macOS equivalent of the Control Panel in Windows. 

Here you’ll find all the utilities to adjust the settings of your Mac. If you want to change your network settings, mouse behavior, or display preferences, this is where to do it.

If using a Magic Trackpad or Mouse, you can also make use of gestures to get around. For example, a two-finger swipe left or right on the trackpad will scroll horizontally. A three-finger swipe will move you between desktops.

On the Magic Mouse, you can subtract one finger. One for directional scrolling and two to swap between desktop spaces. Of course, you can change these in the preferences.

The Dock Is Everything Finder Is Explorer, Launcher Is Like Start

Speaking of the dock, by default you’ll find a weird smiling face icon on the far left of the dock. That’s Finder and it’s the file explorer for macOS. It also works more or less the same, so we don’t have to go into too much detail.

Managing Windows & Desktops

This is probably where the most culture shock comes into play for Windows users coming to macOS. The windows controls are on the top left corner of each window. The red button closes the window, the yellow one minimizes it and the green one maximizes it.

macOS also uses multiple virtual desktops. If you’ve maximized a window, it will get its own workspace. If you want to split the screen between two windows, there are two ways to do it.

Once the first window is split you can choose the other.

If one window is already maximized, you can split it with another window, but going to the smaller window’s workspace, grabbing it and moving it up to the top middle of the screen, drag it onto the maximized app’s workspace on the popup and drop it on the left or right half.

That bar showing you multiple desktops is known as Mission Control and you can use keyboard shortcuts or mouse gestures to use it efficiently. Check the Mission Control settings under System Preferences for the keyboard shortcuts,  but the mouse gestures are probably more useful.

On a Magic Touchpad, swipe up with three fingers to reveal all workspaces for each display. With a Magic Mouse, double-tap with two fingers. Once open, you can move, delete, and generally manage all your workspaces

Spotlight Search Is The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

The last feature we have to highlight for switching from Windows to Mac is quite possibly the best trick in all of macOS. It’s known as Spotlight Search and lets you instantly find anything on your Mac. including apps.

Honestly, we much prefer using Spotlight Search instead of Launchpad, since it’s much faster. All you have to do is press Command and the space bar together, Now type what you are looking for into the search bar. If the first hit is already the one you want, simply hit enter to select it. 

For example, if we type “calc” and press enter, the calculator app launches right away. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without Spotlight Search.

Mac & Me

There is a lot more to learn about macOS if you’re switching from Windows to Mac, but the above features are the ones you’ll need to quickly start navigating and using your macOS computer.

You're reading Switching From Windows To Macos: What You Need To Know

Twitter Marketing: What You Need To Know

With the birth of Web 2.0, the Internet provided people with a lot of opportunities that they could only dream of. In fact, there are many online tools that were not made for marketing, but have a lot of potential to be used in such purpose. One of these is Twitter.

Why Use Twitter?

What makes Twitter an ideal marketing tool for businesses is its large and interrelated community. This makes the micro-blogging site a very convenient place to promote your brand. All that you need to do is set up an account, attract followers, and start tweeting.

It also offers a lot of helpful tools that can let you track your potential audience, the people talking about you, and what they say about you. If you know how to use Twitter to your potential, you can monitor whether people are pleased with your brand or not.

Furthermore, it can help you determine your target market, and what they are looking for from your business. In turn, Twitter tools will help you learn what adjustments you need to do for your business.

Ultimately, Twitter is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. Communication between you and your customers is an important aspect of trading and marketing. This will enable you to build relationship and trust with your potential customers, letting you establish your online presence and credibility.

Before You Begin

However, having a Twitter account and hundreds of followers is not enough to start your marketing campaign.

You have to plan on how you will present your company, as well as your products and services. Find and implement good tactics that will shed light on your company, without annoying your followers.

Using Twitter to help develop your business could be a beneficial undertaking. However, you need to carefully build a good strategy that will help you engage your followers, and leverage your brand further.

What You Need To Know About Migraine And Vertigo

Different degrees of vomiting, noise and light intolerance, and headaches happen of varying intensities. Some signs might appear before a migraine headache. Hormonal changes, specific foods and drinks, stress, and physical activity are triggers. The degree of pounding brought on by migraine headaches might vary. Other typical symptoms include dizziness and intolerance to noise and light. Migraine headaches can be controlled using preventive and painkilling medicines. 


Prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome are the four main stages of migraines, which can afflict youngsters and teens along with grownups, can go through. Not all migraine sufferers go through each level; migraine discomfort is commonly described as:






It might also seem like a sharp, constant agony in other cases. Sometimes the discomfort is minor at first. However, it can worsen from mild to severe if left untreated.

Most migraine bouts last for four hours or less. They may last for up to a week if untreated or if therapy fails to relieve them. A migraine with aura may or may not have pain, which might co-occur with the aura.

Before the headache, migraine symptoms might start one to two days earlier. This phase is referred to as the prodrome. Throughout this phase, symptoms might include −

Desires for food

Depressive mental condition

Poor energy or weariness

Often yawning


Mood swings

Neck rigidity

The aura stage of a migraine develops following the prodrome phase. You could experience issues with your eyesight, feeling, movement, and speech when experiencing an aura.

The attack phase is the following stage. The period when the real migraine pain manifests itself is the most intense or acute. This may occur together with or during an aura in specific individuals. The duration of attack phase symptoms might range from hours to days. Migraine symptoms might vary from individual to individual.

Several signs might be

Increase in light and sound sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, or experiencing a mild headache on one part of the head, whether on the left or right, front or rear, or in your sinuses, as well as throbbing and pulsating headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

The postdrome phase generally follows the assault phase for an individual. Typically, mood and sentiments fluctuate throughout this phase. These emotions might range from being ecstatic and extraordinarily delighted to being worn out and uninterested. Sometimes a dull, slight headache lingers. Different people experience these periods at varying lengths and intensities. Occasionally, a phase is missed, and a migraine episode might happen without producing a headache.


Although they appear to be linked to genetics and changes in the brain, doctors are unsure of the precise etiology of migraine headaches. Even inherited migraine triggers like weariness, strong lights, or changes in the weather are possible.

For a long time, experts believed that variations in the blood flow to the brain caused migraines. The majority believe that while this may add to the discomfort, it is not the cause.

The trigeminal nerve, which supplies feeling to your head and face, is thought to be the main initiator of migraines when hyperactive neurons give out signals that stimulate it. Your body responds by releasing serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP). The brain’s lining blood vessels enlarge as a result of CGRP. Then, pain and inflammation are brought on by neurotransmitters.

Additionally, other migraine triggers are frequently mentioned, including −

Shining lights.

Excessive heat or other types of weather can lead to dehydration.

Barometric pressure changes hormone changes in those classified as females at birth, such as variations in estrogen and progesterone levels during menstruating, pregnancy, or the menopausal period.

Extra anxiety, loud noises, intensive physical activity.

Giving up meals.

Alterations in sleeping habits.

Use specific drugs, such as nitroglycerin, contraceptive pills, or strange odors.

A few specific foods and their odors.

Drinking and smoking.

Treatment For Migraine

While migraines cannot be cured, a doctor might assist you in preventing attacks by arming you with the knowledge to treat symptoms as they arise, which can result in fewer attacks overall. Additionally, treatment might lessen the severity of a migraine. A migraine attack can be prevented with medication or treated after it has started. With over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, you could get relief. However, your doctor can prescribe other drugs if OTC remedies don’t work.

The best medication for you depends on the severity of the migraine and any additional medical issues you may have.


When you feel dizzy, you may believe that you or your environment are rotating or shifting, known as vertigo. However, the syndrome cannot be confused with light-headedness. It may feel similar to motion sickness.

Vertigo mostly comes in two forms −

Peripheral Vertigo − This condition is brought on by an inner ear issue.

Central Vertigo − Central vertigo develops when there is a problem with the brain. Brain tumors, strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and infections are a few potential causes.

Vertigo and dizziness can affect balance, but they are not the same. A general sense of being off balance characterizes dizziness. You may feel as though you are spinning or that you are moving when you experience vertigo.

Vertigo attacks can occur at any age, although the elderly are more likely to have them. Vertigo is a condition that affects more women than males. Vertigo is a side effect that some pregnant women experience. A frequent problem is a vertigo. About 40% of the population have at least one episode of vertigo in their lives.

Vertigo bouts often come from a few seconds to a few minutes. Vertigo can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months in extreme situations. Vertigo is not directly caused by stress but can affect how well the inner ear functions. Some people may experience bouts of vertigo as a result of this.


Vertigo is frequently brought on by −

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – The sensation that you are spinning or moving suddenly and intensely is brought on by this, which is the most frequent cause of vertigo. A head injury, such as a hit to the head, might cause these episodes to start suddenly.

Infection– Vestibular neuritis, also known as labyrinthitis, is a viral illness of the vestibulocochlear nerve that can result in severe, persistent dizziness.

Meniere’s disease– Spontaneous occurrences of vertigo that continue for many hours might occur due to an excessive buildup of fluid in the inner ear.

Migraine– Vertigo brought on by a migraine might linger for a few minutes or several hours.

Physical Damage– Vertigo is a typical symptom, particularly if the vestibular system has been damaged.

Medication-related side effects include tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, nausea, loss of hearing, and vertigo.


The fundamental cause is one of the numerous variables determining the best vertigo therapy for you. The following are a few of the most well-known vertigo remedies −

Medication − Taking care of your vertigo’s underlying cause might help symptoms go away. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics, for instance, when vertigo is a symptom of an illness. Steroids can lessen inflammation. Additional vertigo symptoms, including nausea or motion sickness, can be treated with medicines.

Vestibular rehabilitation − This form of physical treatment may help you feel better if an inner ear issue brings on your vertigo. Vestibular rehabilitation supports the development of your secondary sensations, so they can better counteract periods of dizziness.

CRP (Canalith Repositioning Treatment) − If you have BPPV, this operation helps shift calcification into a cavity in your inner ear where your body may metabolize it.

Surgery may be required if the cause of vertigo is a significant underlying condition, such as a brain tumor or neck injury.

What You Need To Know About Converting Your Home To Solar

If you live in an area with abundant sunlight—hello, fellow southern Californians—you’ve probably thought about installing solar panels on your roof to save on your electric bill. But with so much information, it can be hard to know where to start.

Look no further—start here

Between the different types of panels, financing, inverters, and other jargon, researching solar energy can feel overwhelming at first. That’s why I recommend starting at a solar quote comparison site like EnergySage, Solar-Estimate, or SolarReviews (the latter two are run by the same people).

Both EnergySage and Solar-Estimate act as educational resources and comparison shopping tools to help you field bids. I’ve been using EnergySage, which is chock-full of articles explaining the technology involved. You can also watch videos, look at their buyer’s guide, or start getting quotes. Their Solar 101 series of articles will help you understand the basics, and when you’re done, scroll through the site’s “Learn About Solar” sidebar to read even more articles that’ll give you a feel for the process.

To understand what your home requires, though, you’ll need to look up how much electricity you use. If your bill tells you the average amount of electricity you use each month, make a note of that, or calculate a quick and dirty average yourself. The more information you have on your usage, the more accurate an estimate you can get from installers.

Your energy usage will determine how many panels you’ll need on your roof. Too few, and you’ll still have to pay the electric company for whatever extra power you use. Too many, and you’ll waste money on panels you don’t need—though the electric company will give you credits for any energy you don’t use, should you one day need electricity from the grid.

Keep in mind your future use, too—EnergySage CEO Vikram Aggarwal says that if you plan on getting an electric car, for example, you may want to add a few more panels than you currently need. My neighbor did exactly that, and he’s glad he doesn’t have to rely on the grid for the increased energy usage his new car requires.

From there, you can call local installers directly or plug your information into EnergySage to streamline the process. “You tell us about your home, your bill, and we ask you if you have any preferences regarding equipment, quality, or type of financing. Based on that information, you’ll get quotes from half a dozen pre-screened solar companies,” explains Aggarwal.

Since these quotes contain a number of figures, including a “price per watt,” it’s a bit easier to compare each installer apples-to-apples—rather than just comparing the total cost of each installation that you might get from individual quotes. And, unlike some other solar comparison tools, you won’t have to share your phone number on EnergySage, which is a big plus if you don’t want unsolicited phone calls. (Both EnergySage and Solar-Estimate make money from installers, who pay a fee to list on the site.)

How to choose an installer

As with any big project, don’t just pick the first cheap quote that comes along. “Consumers should get three to five quotes from a mix of different kinds of solar companies to truly evaluate their options,” says Aggarwal. That way, you’ll get a feel for the average cost—pay special attention to the price per watt, which is your main point of price comparison—though it isn’t the only factor you should consider when selecting an installer.

When you find some prices you like, reach out to the companies and set up a visit to your home where they can create a more detailed plan. You may find that a slightly more expensive installer makes a better pitch for the project. My brother-in-law, for example, liked that his chosen company had a keen attention to detail and helped explain the process to him. Other companies he looked at were cheaper, but didn’t take as much care in helping him decide between products, or determining the most aesthetic way to run the conduit to the electrical panel. So don’t be afraid to get a few on-site visits under your belt before committing. (And make sure a company is licensed, insured, and certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners—you can search their database of companies here.)

Different installers may carry or recommend different panels and inverters, too. (Inverters convert the direct current from the panels to alternating current for your home.) More-efficient panels are naturally more expensive, but may be necessary if you can’t fit enough lower-efficiency panels on your roof to cover your home’s electricity usage. If you have a large roof or lower usage, you can go with less-expensive panels. You can also choose between more-affordable inverters mounted to the side of your house and pricier, more-efficient ones that sit on your roof. A good installer will walk you through all your options, so you can make an informed decision.

The installer should also draw up the plans, get the permits, and install the actual equipment. So while the installation may be fairly quick, the start-to-finish process may take a few weeks to a few months, depending on your situation. Your installer should also tell you if you need to upgrade your electrical panel, which may be required for certain homes.

Payment and financing

You don’t necessarily need to shell out a bunch of cash up front to get your home running on solar. Alexander Mils/Unsplash

Paying for your system can feel like a minefield all on its own. There are a ton of options out there, but most of them boil down to two main flavors: you can own your system, or you can rent it from the solar company.

Owning the system

Buying everything outright is ideal, since you reap the biggest financial benefits. You can either pay cash, which requires a high upfront cost but nets you the largest long-term savings, or you can take out a loan, which costs a little more in the long run but doesn’t require as much immediate money. Considering a typical solar power system can cost upwards of $10,000, a loan may be attractive. Plus, with a loan, as long as your monthly payment is lower than your monthly electric bill, you start saving money on day one. Purchasing the system upfront means you won’t break even for a few years (though again, you spend less in the long run).

That loan can come from many places, too. You can go to your bank and get it rolled into your mortgage, open a new line of credit, or get a loan through the installer, Aggarwal tells me. Going through your bank may be cheaper, he notes, but may also require more paperwork than choosing the loan your installer offers. It depends on how much legwork you want to do.

Renting the system Crunch the numbers

You may be curious to know how long it takes before the solar panels pay for themselves (the moment your savings overtake the initial cost of the system), particularly if you’re buying them outright. This depends on the price of electricity in your area, the incentives available in your region, and how much sunlight you typically get, Aggarwal says. In California, where I live, electricity is 56 percent more expensive than the national average, and there aren’t any state incentives. But we get so much sunlight that Aggarwal tells me California’s average payback period is seven to eight years. Most solar markets, he says, typically see payback in less than 10 years.

That’s pretty good, because most systems are designed to last significantly longer than that. Most solar equipment is warrantied for about 25 years, but can last even longer before you need to replace them, Aggarwal says. The panels do, however, lose efficiency over time, so they may not produce as much energy once you get that far down the road. In addition, the installer’s labor warranty will likely be shorter, so you may have to do a little legwork if you encounter trouble between years 15 and 25, for example.

Finding tax credits and rebates

If you choose to buy your solar system, you may be eligible for a number of financial incentives. It can be hard to keep track of what’s available, though, especially considering the federal government has started to phase out tax credits for solar. For 2023, the current federal tax credit stands at 26 percent of the cost of your system. This isn’t a rebate, it’s a tax credit, which means it’s deducted from the taxes you owe next year. If you don’t owe any taxes, you won’t get a check in the mail. The credit goes down to 22 percent in 2023, then phases out for residential customers in 2023.

There are also state or local incentives, but these can vary by location. Aggarwal recommends checking out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, or DSIRE, to see what’s available in your area. Your accountant may also be able to help you make sense of all this for your specific tax situation—so give them a call as you’re running the numbers to see what your final cost and savings will be.

Related: Best solar generators

What Is A Sim Card? Everything You Need To Know

A SIM identifies you as a subscriber of a network.

“SIM” and “SIM card” are often used interchangeably. SIM refers to the identification technology as a whole, while SIM card refers to the plastic card that holds the gold-colored electronic contacts that enables SIM tech.

How does a SIM card work?

A SIM stores several crucial pieces of data, including:

ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identification Number): This is a unique 18-22 digit code that is used to identify the physical SIM card itself. In common parlance, it is also called the SIM card number, but do not confuse it with your mobile number.

IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity Number): This is a 14-15 digit code that forms the basis of identification for the subscriber.

Data related to security authentication such as the authentication key, LAI (Local Area Identity), and more.

Carrier-specific data such as SPN (Service Provider Name), SDN (Service Dialling Numbers), network identifiers, and more.

Your phone pulls the IMSI contained within the SIM card.

The phone identifies the mobile operator from the code and contacts it.

The phone passes the IMSI to the mobile operator for authentication.

The mobile operator searches within its database for the IMSI.

Upon successful location, the authentication key associated with the IMSI is also found. This is then utilized to help confirm the identity and authenticity of the SIM. There’s a fair bit of back and forth between the phone and the network operator in the authentication process, but these technicalities are outside the scope of this article.

Once authenticated, the mobile operator grants the phone access to its network.

The SIM is the most crucial piece in this whole puzzle, namely for the data it contains. The physical card is less important, and that is why alternatives like eSIMs have evolved to provide similar functionality.

How many types of SIM cards are there?

There are four main types of SIM cards on the basis of their physical size, although only the smallest retains relevancy in current times. Beyond them, there are two other types of SIMs that people should be aware of.

Full-size SIM, mini-SIM, micro-SIM

The full-size SIM was the first format of SIM cards, issued all the way back in the 1990s. It was the size of a credit card, although the total area of the gold-colored contacts was the same as we see now.

Mini-SIM and micro-SIMs were introduced later on, with the intention to reduce the size of the plastic holding the gold-colored contacts and allow for smaller mobile handsets to come into existence. As mentioned, they retained the same area for the gold-colored contacts as the full-size SIM. In the transition phases between two sizes, mobile operators would issue the bigger size SIM but offer an easy way to “break” the SIM into its smaller size.

Nano SIM

This is the current size of SIM cards that most popular smartphones accept. It’s the smallest size possible while maintaining backward compatibility, as the size of the card is practically just the gold-colored contacts and a very thin layer of plastic.

However, phone manufacturers find this small size enough of a liability to consider removing it completely. For instance, the iPhone 14 series completely removed the SIM card slot and opted for an eSIM-only solution in the US.

eSIM (Embedded SIM)

Advancements in technology have allowed SIMs to be programmed remotely, allowing the SIM to take the form of a chip built into your phone itself. There is no physical card for the SIM for you to insert into your phone anymore. The eSIM configuration profile can be installed onto a phone by the network (usually by providing a QR code that the subscriber can scan), so you don’t even need to pop open the SIM slot anymore.

eSIM support started off rather slow but has built up steam in the past few years. And with the launch of the iPhone 14 series, Apple removed the SIM slot entirely on phones sold in the US, which skyrocketed eSIM adoption in the region as well as across the globe. For better or for worse, most phones and most popular carriers provide eSIM options nowadays.

iSIM (Integrated SIM)

iSIM shrinks the SIM down even beyond what eSIM could achieve. It integrates the SIM directly into the modem chip or the SoC of the phone. So you’re no longer reserving the (relatively) larger space that an eSIM needed. While this technology has been slow to pick up on smartphones, it has great scope in IoT devices.

How to insert a SIM card into a phone

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Despite the wide diversity of smartphones, the process of inserting and removing a SIM card is largely the same.

Locate the SIM slot. It is usually present on the phone’s mid-frame and looks like a closed cupboard drawer.

Locate the pinhole near the SIM card slot.

Use the SIM removal tool that came with your phone, or a small paperclip, to press into the pinhole. This will eject the SIM slot tray.

You can now insert the SIM card into the SIM slot tray.

There are likely to be markings present on the SIM slot tray to indicate which side of the tray should be facing the screen. Insert the tray back in that orientation.


SIM cards are backwards compatible through the use of adapters. You can also use punches to cut out a smaller SIM card for a larger-sized card. However, your carrier will easily issue you a newer SIM card for a nominal fee, and we recommend that you choose that option for the additional security and benefits present in newer, higher-storage SIM cards.

No, you do not need a new SIM card to upgrade from 4G to 5G. The SIM upgrade was needed during the upgrade from 3G to 4G as the older SIM lacked certain capabilities. This is not the case for switching from 4G to 5G. However, ensure that your phone supports 5G, and that your carrier offers 5G in your region.

SIM cards do not usually go bad, but they can stop working due to poor maintenance and habits. If you remove them very frequently, the contact points could get scraped and fail. They can also fail due to corrosion and water damage. Bending a SIM card will also destroy the contact lines and cause failure.

Yes, SIM cards can be swapped between devices, as long as they are the same size. If sizes mismatch, you may need an adaptor or a punch, as the case may be.

It depends. On iPhone 13 and older, you can easily use a SIM card from an Android phone by simply popping it in to the SIM slot. However, the newer iPhone 14 series is eSIM-only in the USA, so you will need to migrate your eSIM configuration profile. You can do so during the iPhone 14 setup process, or contact your carrier for further assistance.

iPhone 13 and older iPhones come with SIM card support. However, iPhone 14 series sold in the US does not support a SIM card as the series is eSIM-only. iPhone 14 sold outside the US still retains SIM card support.

While it is technically possible to use a SIM card in an eSIM-only iPhone 14, we do not recommend users do so. The process involves disassembly and complicated motherboard resoldering, and thus, is best avoided by most people.

Pcie 4.0: Everything You Need To Know, From Specs To Compatibility To Caveats

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What is PCIe 4.0?

PCIe 4.0 is the next iteration of the PCIe interface. It’s used for connecting add-in cards and M.2 drives, as well as interconnecting various chips inside a PC. Compared to its predecessor PCIe 3.0, PCIe 4.0 essentially doubles the overall throughput. The chart below from PCI-SIG lays it all out nicely: 


If that looks like a boatload of bandwidth, it is. Seizing an opportunity to troll Intel and Nvidia, AMD ran Futuremark’s unreleased PCIe feature test to show how a Ryzen 7 3800X coupled with a Radeon RX 5700 in PCIe 4.0 mode offered 69 percent more PCIe throughput performance than a Core i9-9900K and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.


AMD’s demo featured Futuremark’s new PCIe feature test. It showed a PCIe 4.0-based Radeon RX 5700 besting a PCIe 3.0 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in transfer performance.

PCIe 4.0: Gaming reality vs. hype

One problem with AMD’s demonstration, however, is that “69 percent” performance, while most likely real, doesn’t actually translate into more practical gaming performance today. That’s because few games ever saturate the 32GBps of data today’s x16 PCIe 3.0 slot can carry. 

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Alienware’s laptops actually limit the slot to x8 PCIe 3.0, siphoning off the rest to support the external graphics port. The reason? It doesn’t matter (much).

This disparity between demand and supply has been proven out many times over the years, and TechPowerUp proved it again by testing PCIe 4.0 gaming performance using the Radeon RX 5700 XT and a Ryzen 3000 GPU. “Looking at the results, we can see a whole lot of nothing,” the site says. (AMD says the Radeon RX 5700’s PCIe 4.0 support brings bigger benefits to gamers who also create content on Twitch, YouTube and the like.)

Gordon Mah Ung

Gigabyte’s Phison-based M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD supports up to 2TB of storage.

Where PCIe 4.0 matters more: Storage

PCIe promises a huge boost in other areas of the PC, though. The most obvious one is storage, where AMD also demonstrated the performance difference using SSDs.

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Gordon Mah Ung

It gets even crazier if you run them in RAID 0, which is what Gigabyte did using a PCIe 4.0 add-in card holding four 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs. You can see the card below with its shroud off. The card is essentially one big passive PCIe extender.

Gordon Mah Ung Gordon Mah Ung

With four M.2 PCIe 4.0 drives in RAID 0, the AMD-based Gigabyte Aorus M.2 RAID card can push 15GB each way.

The PCIe 4.0 catch: SSD vs. GPU

While seeing 15.4GBps of drive speed is cool, one thing you should keep in mind is that it will involve a small compromise. Note that the card above is a x16 PCIe 4.0 card. Because Ryzen 3000 “only” can support a single-slot x16 PCIe 4.0, you have to choose whether to put your x16 PCIe 4.0 graphics card or your x16 PCIe 4.0 SSD in that slot.

Maybe you’ve seen marketing and stories that claim the Ryzen 3000 has 40 PCIe lanes, so “there’s plenty.” It doesn’t quite work out that way.

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Unlike a Ryzen Threadripper, which has 64 PCIe lanes (Gen 3.0) in the CPU, the Ryzen 3000’s 40 lanes are platform lanes. That means there are 24 in the CPU, with 16 reserved for an add-in card (typically the GPU), and another four for an M.2 or other device. The last four PCIe lanes are used to connect the CPU to the chipset. The chipset itself contains another 16 PCIe 4.0 lanes.

There is an actual use for these additional PCIe lanes in the southbridge, as they allow motherboard makers to connect multiple M.2 SSD slots, PCIe, SATA, and other ports and devices without having to turn things off—something that was done in the past when they ran out of PCIe bandwidth.

Although we don’t know the final configurations of how x570 can be split out, early indications suggest the southbridge can be configured with a single x4 and three x1 slots at PCIe 4.0, with the rest being broken out among other hardware in the motherboard.

While you might recoil at the idea of putting your x16 GPU into a x4 slot shared with other devices, you’ll likely take a small and relatively painless hit, given that it’s still the equal of a x8 PCIe 3.0 connection.

Gordon Mah Ung

The Gigabyte Aorus PCIe 4.0 SSD features beefy copper heat sinks, and it needs them.

PCIe 4.0 will run hot

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The chipset to supply the PCIe 4.0 is hotter, too. Vendors tell us it’ll generate anywhere from 11 watts (at idle, most likely) to 16 watts of heat. It’s hot enough that just about every PCIe 4.0 motherboard we’ve seen featured a fan for the chipset.  Fans on southbridge chips were actually fairly common just 10 years ago as well.

This is a consideration but likely not a concern. Fans do add to system noise, but if done properly, you’ll be hard-pressed to hear it.


One Reddit user had high hopes after a Gigabyte BIOS/UEFI update seemed to enable PCIe 4.0 support on older AMD motherboards.

PCIe 4.0 is not backward-compatible

Initially, AMD fans were juiced to hear that PCIe 4.0 compatibility could be done on older x470 motherboards. In fact, Gigabyte released a UEFI update that appeared to show an older x470 going from PCIe 3.0 to PCIe 4.0. 


It’s taken almost two years to see our first PCIe 4.0 hardware. You’ll likely see a similar time frame for PCIe 5.0.

What about PCIe 5.0?

Confusing the news around PCIe 4.0 was the seemingly simultaneous release of the PCIe 5.0 spec, finalized by the PCI SIG. The confusion is somewhat false, because announcing a spec doesn’t mean the hardware is available. The PCIe 4.0 spec was finalized in 2023, and now, about two years later, we have the first PCIe 4.0 hardware. We’re likely to see the same lag between final specifications and released hardware for PCIe 5.0.

Intel doesn’t have PCIe 4.0 yet

The only thing that could usher in PCIe 5.0 faster than expected is if Intel or Nvidia decided to accelerate its adoption to throw some mud on AMD. Officially, however, Intel hasn’t even announced any plans to implement PCIe 4.0, let alone PCIe 5.0. Its current products remain rooted in PCIe 3.0. 

PCIe 4.0 will quietly bring more speed

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Ultimately that’s the user’s choice to make. But now, we’ve finally got options.

Editor’s note: This article originally published on June 13, 2023, but was updated by Brad Chacos to add review links and additional information throughout after the launch of AMD’s PCIe 4.0-compatible hardware.

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