Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a shipment of PC parts only to discover that the CPU you ordered is not compatible with the motherboard. Certain components, such as the CPU, have unique properties that can only be used with certain types of technology. For example, you won’t be able to install an Intel CPU on an AMD socket motherboard. We will look at some of the things you may do to help avoid this.
Compatibility of computer components
Before you go out and buy all of the parts you’ll need for your new gaming PC, make sure that all of the components you want are compatible with one another.
The last thing you want is to bring home numerous bags of expensive gear only to discover that some pieces don’t fit or that the computer won’t boot up for no apparent reason.
If you want to avoid unnecessary stress and irritation, as well as maybe waste money, keep reading because we’ll go over all the key compatibility issues to look out for while creating a PC.
When it comes to the internals, the motherboard and power supply are the two most important components to remember, as they are the ones that must operate along with everything else.
If your CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage are compatible with the motherboard, they will also be compatible with each other!
Here are some ways to make sure that the motherboard and other parts you’re buying will work together:
Compatibility with the CPU
Compatibility of PC Parts
There are many CPUs to choose from these days, with both Intel and AMD offering good gaming CPUs, but what should you keep in mind if you want to ensure that your newly selected CPU is compatible with the new motherboard?
The socket is, after all, the most crucial item here. It is the place on the motherboard where the CPU communicates with the rest of the system and connects to the motherboard. This is called a socket.
Sockets now exist in a variety of sizes and pin layouts, and there are several different types of sockets found on modern motherboards. AMD currently employs the AM4 socket for its conventional CPUs and the TR4 socket for its Threadripper products.
The situation is a little more difficult with Intel. The LGA1151 socket is used by most Intel CPUs now, while the LGA2066 socket is used for more powerful models, like how the TR4 socket is used for Threadripper.
The LGA1151 socket, however, is available in two versions: Rev. 1 and Rev. 2. A new version of the socket didn’t work with pre-Coffee Lake desktop CPUs, like the 8th and 9th generation. Some of the pins were moved in the new version.
If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between Rev. 1 and Rev. 2 motherboards, all you have to do is look at the chipset.
Every motherboard with a 300 series chipset – H370, Z370, and so on – uses the redesigned version of the socket and is compatible with the 8th and 9th generations of Intel Core CPUs, but not with the 6th and 7th generation Skylake and Kaby Lake versions.
ASUS mother board
But, while we’re on the subject of chipsets, how essential are they in terms of compatibility?
The CPU will operate as long as you have the correct socket. However, chipsets differ in terms of some capabilities and the number of ports they provide.
Overclocking, dual GPU compatibility, AMD StoreMI, and Intel Optane technology, as well as the number of PCIe slots, USB ports, and SATA connectors, are all factors to consider.
The specifications for Intel chipsets can be found here, and the specifications for AMD chipsets can be found here.
Compatibility with GPUs
Compatibility of PC Parts
If you’re building a gaming PC, you’ll almost certainly need a dedicated graphics card, but AMD’s APUs are suitable for budget builds if you’re on a tight budget.
The GPU is the most important component in a gaming PC, and you don’t have to worry as much about GPU compatibility as you do with CPU compatibility.
GPUs have been using PCI Express as a means of connecting to the motherboard for years, and PCIe 3.0 is currently the most widely used version. PCIe 4.0-capable motherboards have lately begun to appear on the market, but there’s no need to upgrade just now.
You’re okay to go if your motherboard has a free PCIe 3.0 slot and the graphics card physically fits inside the casing.
Remember that having only two PCIe 3.0 slots isn’t enough if you’re considering a multi-GPU system. As previously stated, the chipset must enable AMD CrossFire or Nvidia SLI.
Compatibility with RAM
Compatibility Checker for Computer Parts
RAM compatibility, like GPU compatibility, isn’t a big deal these days because most motherboards now use DDR4 RAM, and popular RAM modules all use standardized DIMM slots. So long as you use DDR4 RAM on a DDR4-capable motherboard with enough DIMM slots, you’re set to go.
However, you should consider the maximum RAM size and speed supported by the CPU and motherboard, as well as whether dual-channel or quad-channel RAM configurations are supported by the motherboard and CPU.
DDR4 clock frequencies typically vary from 2133 MHz to 3200 MHz, while some more expensive RAM kits can reach as high as 4866 MHz.
As previously said, as long as the RAM is the correct type, it will function, but there’s no use in spending more money on a RAM kit that can achieve such high clock speeds if your motherboard and CPU can’t handle it.
This varies by model, and the highest RAM speed that can be used can be found on the website for the CPU or motherboard.
The same is true for capacity: a CPU/motherboard can only accept a certain amount of RAM, which is typically 64–128 GB for most major motherboards and CPUs.
Finally, dual-channel and quad-channel RAM configurations are available. If you want to find out how many RAM channels your motherboard and CPU support, all you have to do is go to the official product page.
Compatibility of Hard Disk Drives and Solid State Drives
HDD vs. SSD
When it comes to storage, you have two options: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). The whole essay can be found here if you want to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Most hard drives and NAND SSDs use SATA 3 now. SATA 3 is also used by a lot of the ports on new motherboards, which should be enough for a gaming PC’s storage needs.
However, because SATA 3 isn’t the quickest interface available, many SSDs, especially NVMe SSDs, employ M.2. An M.2 is a unique, ultra-compact PCIe slot that allows an SSD to be inserted invisibly onto a motherboard. At least one of these can be found on most current motherboards.
Compatibility with power supplies
Compatibility of Computer Parts
If you’re building a desktop computer, you’ll almost certainly need an ATX power supply, which is the industry standard for most modern computers. The best thing to do before you buy a power supply is to read our detailed guide on how to choose the best one for your needs.
In terms of compatibility, the PSU must fit into the case and have all of the appropriate connectors, although this isn’t a problem. As previously stated, most cases are built around standardized ATX power supply units.
Of course, wattage is an important consideration, but we’ve covered that and more in the article mentioned above.
Compatibility of the Case and Motherboard
Compatibility of Computer Parts
Finally, there’s the issue of whether the motherboard – along with the rest of the components – will fit within the case.
Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, and EATX are the four most common motherboard formats. Apart from the physical size of the motherboard, what distinguishes one format from another?
As you might expect, smaller motherboards have fewer slots and connectors and are therefore less expensive, whereas larger motherboards have more slots and are therefore more expensive. Micro ATX motherboards are an exception, as they are both smaller and more expensive than Micro ATX motherboards.
Cases are available in four standard sizes that closely correlate to the motherboard sizes described earlier. A compact form factor (Mini ITX), a mini tower (Micro ATX), a mid-tower (ATX), and a full tower (ATX) are all available (EATX).
This isn’t fixed in stone, and some Mini Towers will be able to fit full-sized ATX motherboards, while others will be able to fit EATX motherboards. This varies from case to case, and it’s recommended to double-check with the case manufacturer’s website.
Apart from the motherboard, are there any additional components you need to be sure will fit in the case?
Yes, albeit this is primarily an issue with small form factor cases and, maybe, Mini Towers. The graphics card and the CPU cooler are the two components that could cause issues.
As you might expect, the only way to ensure that these will fit inside a compact case is to double-check the case’s exact dimensions, as well as the graphics and cooler’s.
Fortunately, OEMs offer a large range of tiny GPU versions, as well as a wide range of low-profile CPU cooling… When
it comes to compatibility concerns, the motherboard is the main culprit, as it has to interact with a variety of other components such as the CPU, RAM, and so on. Because it is the heart of the PC and must interact with a variety of associated hardware, we must be cautious when reviewing specifications and requirements. It’s recommended to start with the motherboard and CPU when creating a new computer.
Examine the CPU socket on the motherboard and compare it to the processor you want to use.
Check to see how much RAM the motherboard can handle (an example being DDR4 2300MHz).
Check the CPU’s RAM support, same as you did with the board.
The motherboard’s ability to support a GPU SLI arrangement
When putting ATX into smaller cases, double-check the ATX size and specs.
Make sure your power supply can handle the load.
There’s a helpful website for configuring a new PC build (or an upgrade if you specify what hardware you already have installed). The technique really eliminates incompatible motherboard sockets and RAM by starting with the CPU. If you manage to mix and match things that just do not work together, the website will provide a warning for you to correct the problem.
All in all, it’s a good site that we strongly recommend you use, especially if you don’t know much about how PCs are built.