Want to properly show off your graphics card with a vertical orientation? You’re going to need a riser cable. As they gain in popularity, PC gamers are met with an ever expanding range of extension cables to choose from. We’ll help your search for the right get started, with our recommendations on some of the best PCIe riser cables out there.
First and foremost, PCIe riser cables are meant to extend the reach of an existing PCIe slot on your motherboard. By elongating the connection, PCIe components can be oriented in different ways. This is mostly used to position graphics cards with their most appealing side towards the window of their enclosure. Seeing how graphics cards can often be showpieces, it’s easy to see the growing appeal of PCIe extension cables.
What makes a PCIe riser cable good, then? You’ll mostly want to be on the lookout for optimal performance in bandwidths and compatibility. PCIe connections can be finicky, with subpar riser cables throttling performance. It’s rare, but in some cases, faulty riser cables have been known to create shortages, capable of burning down the interface itself.
PCIe riser cables always come with some risk of lesser compatibility, but there’s often a right fit for your specific use case. You’ll need to take in mind the dimensions in your PC case, the need for a seperate holding bracket or not, and of course bandwidth compatibility — especially if you want to run PCIe 4.0 with some newer GPUs and motherboards. If you got all that in mind, we can get to listing some of our top picks.
Not all PCIe riser cables are meant for the same job, but we will be listing some that are within the top of their class. What we look for in the best PCIe riser cables comes down to great compatibility, as well as solid build quality. Bonus points are in place for competitive pricing, as well as additional luxuries.
Cable oriented manufacturer LINKUP is doing rather well in the age of PCIe riser popularity. Not only are their PCIe extensions available in many different lengths and orientations, they also adopted PCIe 4.0 pretty early on. The PCIe 4.0 versions come with a higher price, but are definitely worth it if you want to future-proof your riser cable.
Compatibility-wise, many customer reviews will already tell you their rig runs perfectly well with this cable. Some X570 motherboards seem to throttle their bandwidth ever so slightly, but most combinations of components support PCIe 4.0 just fine.
Apart from the myriad of colors and lengths, LINKUP already offers rotated connections too. These can increase compatibility for many popular cases and brackets, for which LINKUP also offers ample documentation. In addition, LINKUP also produced their own vertical GPU bracket, which can come bundled with one of their latest riser cables.
If you’re still on the fence about LINKUP as a brand, fret not. This isn’t some off-brand dropshipping scheme, these guys have been doing stellar work with cabling products and adapters. Most of their PCIe riser cables also come with at least a year of factory warranty.
Cooler Master is no stranger to pimping out PC cases. As such, it’s no surprise they offer an appealing take on the PCIe riser cable market. Their so-called Vertical GPU Holder Kit Ver.2 is a bundle of a neat PCIe 3.0 extension cable, that goes together with a highly capable mounting bracket.
You’ll have to settle for PCIe 3.0 — which will probably still be reliable for the next couple of years — but it’s a great package. Cooler Master offers full PCIe 3.0 x16 bandwidths and compatibility, with the bracket fitting countless graphics cards and cases. As long as your ATX case has 7 free PCI slots, this extension piece will pop in nicely.
All in all, it’s a solid all-in-one solution for getting your graphics card displayed nicely. Cooler Master even made it possible to easily slide the card a few inches further into the case. The riser cable is limited to 165mm, which will suit virtually any common PC case. It’s easy to see that Cooler Master has a knack for customizing builds — especially considering their often competitive pricing and solid build quality.
ThermalTake already offered some solid PCIe 3.0 riser cables (with lengths up to 1000mm), but is also hopping on the PCIe 4.0 train af of late. The “Premium PCI-E 4.0” range already offers sizes of 300mm and 600mm, with a 90 degree angled connection optional.
There’s definitely some more “out there” branding on the Premium variation, but they net you the full bandwidth of the PCIe 4.0 x16 interface. In addition, the cables can easily withstand multiple folds, making them flexible enough for specific twists and turns.
The downside lies with the higher price point. Over time, PCIe 4.0 riser cables will obviously become more widespread and affordable, but for now, ThermalTake feels slightly off-brand with this kind of elevated pricing. Usually the brand is more about tailoring to lower budgets, but early adopters of PCIe 4.0 might have some bitter pills to swallow, at least for some time.
ROG’s own PCIe 3.0 riser cable is less of a stand-alone product, and more of an addition to their own line of PC cases. Still, it could easily integrate with other build scenarios too, while providing some solid performance. It’s only available in 200mm length, however.
When it comes to PCIe 3.0, the ROG Strix GPU Riser Cable is a great contender though. Not only is the PCIe extension fully EMI shielded, it also comes with a sturdy PCIe slot. Even some of today’s bigger and heavier cards won’t drag this interface down. And that’s without the design bulking up, as this blacked-out riser cable is quite stealthy with its looks.
Looking for an easy PCIe riser solution? Cooler Master has got you covered on that end too. Their “MasterAccessory” Universal Riser Cable is a solid and affordable extension for PCIe Gen 3.0 GPUs and motherboards. Length-wise, it comes in at 200mm of Hitachi-made high-bandwidth cabling.
Even Cooler Master themselves offer more luxuriously made riser cables. This “universal” lacks any high-grade interface protection, while shielding the cabling with nothing all too special. It will work reliably in most cases, but it’s rather clear that Cooler Master is targeting lower budgets. In turn, the toned-down aesthetic and small form factor can be a great fit for less flashy or compact builds.
That’s it for our recommendations on some of the best PCIe riser cables out there. No matter your needs for interfaces and bandwidths, these models should give you easy starting points to find the right fit for you. Do take in mind that many manufactures also offer varying sizes and orientations, so it might be worth clicking through some options.
Still got any questions on PCIe riser cables or hardware compatibility? Don’t be shy, and hit us up in the comments down below. We’ll be happy to clear up some uncertainties, and help you find the best cabling solution for you. In case you have any great suggestions of your own, we would love to hear those too.
Want to get into more PC building topics? Read up on How To Place Case Fans for Optimal Airflow in your case, or get acquainted with All Components for Gaming PCs if you want a quick run-down before your next build.