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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I'm putting together a computer for the 'rents to use in their family room - there's a TV in there that it'll be hooked up to, as well as a desk with a monitor. Mostly it will be used for streaming video (Prime, Netflix, YouTube etc.) and web browsing.

The machine is a 2500K clocked at 4.2GHz, 1.15V.
Graphics card is a GT 1030 with dual HDMI 2.0 outputs (one out is DVI-D -> HDMI adaptor)
It has 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM, dual channel (2x4GB).
SSD is an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB (old but fast, 600MB/s each direction, surprisingly fast rnd4k)
Storage will be two 2TB WD Red hard drives in RAID 1 using Intel's chipset as the controller.

Below is a picture of the internal expansion slots

PCIe x1 (from chipset)
PCIe x16 (from CPU)
PCIe x1 (from chipset)
PCI (32 bit/33MHz)
PCIe x16 (from CPU, runs at x8 when configured for dual GPU)
PCI (32 bit/33MHz)
PCIe x16 @ 1x/2x/4x (configurable, from chipset)

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In the day of P67/Z68, Intel still hadn't integrated a USB 3.0 controller onto their chipsets. The standard had been around long enough though, that motherboard manufacturers had made it possible to do things like boot from a USB 3.0 device.

Last night, the connector of the USB AC WiFi adapter I was going to use with the system was physically damaged pretty severely. It still works, but is extremely flimsy and its case isn't conducive to repair. I'm sure that once it gets bumped a few times as things in surrounding ports get plugged/un, it'll have at least 1/9 conductors damaged, at least to the point to cause intermittent connection.

So I want to replace it, preferably with something internal.

Problem is, I don't know how adding an x1 card will affect the USB 3.0 ports. From reading the manual, to me, it looks like if you add an x4 card to the chipset x16 slot, both 2 port USB controllers get disabled, as well as the controller for the eSATA port get disabled, but if you add just an x1 card, both USB controllers and the eSATA port continue working. But the manual isn't very clear.

tl;dr/conclusion:
I'm looking for someone who's had experience with this platform, specifically z68/p67 and using its x1 expansion slots. Was your USB 3.0, eSATA, or any of the additional controllers your board might have had, affected? If so, how many x1 ports were you using? If you used just one, did everything still work?

Also, if I wanted to put a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gbps) controller in for fast external storage, is it possible to use some of the PCIe lanes from the CPU? The GT 1030 is only x4, so essentially 12 lanes are being wasted, 8 of which could be routed to the middle PCIe x16 slot. It's just a thought, there's maybe a 10% chance I'd add one if I could (yes I know that PCI express 2.0 is 2.0GB/s maximum, and USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 is 20Gbit).

Below is Intel's 6 series (p67/z68/lower end) PCH details. Unfortunately it doesn't have the pretty diagram showing the lanes and what they can be used for like I've seen in the 6/7/8/9/10/11/12 datasheets, especially 600 series (and maybe 500?) with an additional chart underneath (small example of it below the PCH details)

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It will be fine. Wifi is not fast enough to affect PCI bandwidth, and even if it was, you would only run into a bottleneck if you were doing a lot with you PCI bandwidth already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It will be fine. Wifi is not fast enough to affect PCI bandwidth, and even if it was, you would only run into a bottleneck if you were doing a lot with you PCI bandwidth already.
That's not my question!

edit: I even made a tl;dr
 

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It wont affect you usb3 expansion card to any meaningful degree.
 

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If you add the USB expansion card in the second CPU x16 slot it will split the CPU lanes between the GPU in slot 1 (only using 4 lanes in 2.0 spec and leaving 4 unused but for your uses it is more than fine) and expansion card in slot 5 (with 8 2.0 lanes you can use), leaving all chipset lanes available. In my experience it is usually an external chip (NEC for example) that handles USB 3.0 but it might use chipset lanes.

In my P67 board (ROG Maximus IV Extreme) all the ports in the rear are USB 3.0 and I could still use chipset lanes with a WI-FI card for example. when upgrading to a 3770K I got PCI-E 3.0 (Ivy Bridge upgraded to PCI-E 3.0 vs Sandy Bridge 2.0) through the slots connected to the CPU, even if the motherboard itself originally only supported PCI-E 2.0. This allowed me to use a M.2 NVMe SSD connected at x4 3.0 through the second slot connected to the CPU, with my GPU running at x8 3.0 with negligible performance loss. I then added a Wi-Fi card to an x4 slot handled by the chipset. I don't remember losing any ports but eventually I removed the Wi-Fi card to use in another computer.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you add the USB expansion card in the second CPU x16 slot it will split the CPU lanes between the GPU in slot 1 (only using 4 lanes in 2.0 spec and leaving 4 unused but for your uses it is more than fine) and expansion card in slot 5 (with 8 2.0 lanes you can use), leaving all chipset lanes available. In my experience it is usually an external chip (NEC for example) that handles USB 3.0 but it might use chipset lanes.

In my P67 board (ROG Maximus IV Extreme) all the ports in the rear are USB 3.0 and I could still use chipset lanes with a WI-FI card for example. when upgrading to a 3770K I got PCI-E 3.0 (Ivy Bridge upgraded to PCI-E 3.0 vs Sandy Bridge 2.0) through the slots connected to the CPU, even if the motherboard itself originally only supported PCI-E 2.0. This allowed me to use a M.2 NVMe SSD connected at x4 3.0 through the second slot connected to the CPU, with my GPU running at x8 3.0 with negligible performance loss. I then added a Wi-Fi card to an x4 slot handled by the chipset. I don't remember losing any ports but eventually I removed the Wi-Fi card to use in another computer.
Thanks!!
 
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