PCI card slot compatibility

Tech Note: TN0265
Product: PI5, PO5
Version: All
Date Added: 2007-09-20


The PI5 and PO5 cards should only be installed in (PCI v 2.2 or greater) compliant 3.3 V slot. The PCI standard has changed and evolved through the years with varying degrees of backwards compatibility, however, most computers purchased since 1998 will support the PI5 and PO5. Problems with compatibility typically manifest as communications errors and can be hard to troubleshoot. This tech note can help you verify that your computer's PCI slots are compatible with the PI5 and PO5.

The early versions of the PCI standard (v 2.2) supported 5 Volt cards. When PCI 3.0 was released in 2002, all 5 Volt PCI slot support was removed in place of 3.3 Volt compatibility, however, 5 Volt slots can still be found on older machines. To avoid 5 Volt slots, check your computers specifications or carefully check the PCI adapters on your computers motherboard and compare them to the diagram below.

As illustrated in the figure above, 3.3 Volt PCI slots always have the PCI key close to the back of the computer tower unlike the 5 Volt slots that are furthest away from the back of the computer tower.

You will need to avoid PCI-X slots. These 64-bit slots will be notably longer than the PI5 and PO5.