How To Make Sure All Your Computer Hardware Is Compatible.

Okay, so you are determined to build your own computer but you don’t really know where to start. Building your own computer system can be an exciting, rewarding, and money-saving experience.

But at the same time, for some it can also be a confusing and frustrating experience. Because at the end of the day, nobody wants to screw up the new platform considering its high cost!

A computer system is made up of many parts, and all of these must be compatible with each other in order to function. Otherwise your system will not run smoothly, or it may not work at all.

In this article, we are going to discuss a little about how to check all the components of your PC and also about how to ensure that they are compatible with each other.

Compatibility Between PC Parts: Where to Start?

Reviewing the main components of the assembly list, we are going to review each of the components and discuss what you should know when determining compatibility. Below we will leave a brief summary of the points that we are going to discuss.

  • Motherboard
  • CPU (processor)
  • GPU (graphics card or video card)
  • RAM
  • Hard disk / Storage drives
  • Cooling (i.e. fans)
  • Power supply
  • Computer case
  • Screens / Monitor

Motherboards and Processors (CPU)

Sockets

Your first choice will be to decide on the processor and motherboard that you will use. Both components run hand in hand and will be the factors that will determine the compatibility of the rest of the assembly process.

Besides the size, many of the other parts are more compatible than the processor, unless you are dealing with models that are too old. So this factor is regularly the element that has the greatest influence on the rest of the assembly.

Most common processors

There are regularly two main processor lines that you can select to build a gaming PC: the AMD Ryzen line or the Intel Core line.

How To Make Sure All Your Computer Hardware Is Compatible.

JUNE 8, 2021SAY ADMIN  LEAVE A COMMENT

Okay, so you are determined to build your own computer but you don’t really know where to start. Building your own computer system can be an exciting, rewarding, and money-saving experience.

But at the same time, for some it can also be a confusing and frustrating experience. Because at the end of the day, nobody wants to screw up the new platform considering its high cost!

A computer system is made up of many parts, and all of these must be compatible with each other in order to function. Otherwise your system will not run smoothly, or it may not work at all.

In this article, we are going to discuss a little about how to check all the components of your PC and also about how to ensure that they are compatible with each other.

Compatibility Between PC Parts: Where to Start?

Reviewing the main components of the assembly list, we are going to review each of the components and discuss what you should know when determining compatibility. Below we will leave a brief summary of the points that we are going to discuss.

Motherboard

CPU (processor)

GPU (graphics card or video card)

RAM

Hard disk / Storage drives

Cooling (i.e. fans)

Power supply

Computer case

Screens / Monitor

Motherboards and Processors (CPU)

Sockets

Sockets

Your first choice will be to decide on the processor and motherboard that you will use. Both components run hand in hand and will be the factors that will determine the compatibility of the rest of the assembly process.

Besides the size, many of the other parts are more compatible than the processor, unless you are dealing with models that are too old. So this factor is regularly the element that has the greatest influence on the rest of the assembly.

Most common processors

There are regularly two main processor lines that you can select to build a gaming PC: the AMD Ryzen line or the Intel Core line.

Most common processors

The Ryzen lineup was built to be fully compatible with previous releases and upcoming releases for the foreseeable future (and since this only started in 2017, you shouldn’t worry about unexpected changes happening in the near future. ). This also works for the latest Ryzen 5000 processor series, which provide a wide range of support for pre-chipsets ranging from the X570 and B550, and which also offer support for the 400 series processors we have on the horizon. On the opposite side, each new generation of Intel Core processors will require a new motherboard to go with it.

Although the 8th and 9th generation Intel processors use the same LGA1151 socket, they both require motherboards based on the Intel 300 series chipset. The processors in this chipset do not offer backward compatibility with motherboards, which are based on Intel series chipsets. 100 or 200. And this is also the case with the latest generation 10th generation Intel processors, which have been designed for the new LGA1200 socket.

Chipsets

The next step is to make sure that the chipset will support the functions you need. Chipsets are part of motherboards and will determine their capabilities.

To make it clear; the chipset is simply a chipset. As technology progressed, certain motherboard operations that required its own chip were reduced and were integrated with other chips, hence the word chipset.

Processors support multiple tiers of chipsets, regularly starting from the most basic motherboard operations such as the AMD Ryzen A320 chipset, which does not support overclocking, to more advanced chipsets, such as the AMD Ryzen X570, which supports overclocking. complete and much more.

CPU Sockets

Core i3 – 9300 LGA1151

Core i5 – 9600K LGA1151

Core i9 – 9900K LGA1151

Core i9 – 10980XE LGA2066

Ryzen 5 3400G AM4

Ryzen 5 3600X AM4

Ryzen 9 3950X AM4

Ryzen TR3990X TRX40

Sockets

To ensure that your motherboard will be compatible, you will need to know what type of socket and chipset your processor will be compatible with.

The socket refers to the physical slot (or slot) of the motherboard, and is what will keep your processor in place. This can be easily determined by just figuring out the socket size, both for the processor and for the motherboard you want to use.

If you try to pair a processor with the wrong socket type, you could ruin the processor and / or motherboard. Here are some examples to help you understand what you are looking for.

Motherboard Form Factor (Size and shape)

The form factor is also an element that should be considered when choosing a motherboard, because their sizes can vary a lot. Smaller boards generally have less RAM capacity, and fewer GPU slots, but they also have fewer SATA connectors.

The most commonly used form factors for standard desktop computers, ordered from smallest to largest, are:

Mini ITX

Micro ATX

ATX

E-ATX

These are for standard desk sizes only. There are other motherboard sizes for other types of configurations, such as those used for servers.

Motherboard 

The ATX motherboard is the most commonly used size in standard computers and is probably the one you want to use, unless you are looking for something significantly smaller or are planning to build a server.

RAM

RAM

RAM, or Random Access Memory , often causes misinterpretations, and setting speeds, or their compatibility range, can also be confusing.

Capacity

The vast majority of casual users won’t have to worry about maxing out their RAM, but you might want to build a real beast and plan to push all levels to the max. If this is the case, you should pay special attention to the maximum RAM of your motherboard.

A modern motherboard will generally support a maximum 64GB RAM, but some support more or even less than this.

Speed

When you look at RAM capabilities, your biggest concern should be speed. For DDR4 memories (the current generation of RAM), the stock speed has a maximum of 2133Mhz. Any speed higher than this will technically overclock.

When a RAM indicates a speed greater than 2133Mhz, this will not be its stock speed, but it is indicating that it is classified to be overclocked up to that specified speed. If you buy a RAM with a speed higher than 2133Mhz, you must first make sure that your motherboard is capable of supporting it.

Processor compatibility

When looking for RAM, you might come across an indication of compatibility with AMD or Intel processors. You shouldn’t worry about this, because they will be compatible with both processors, usually this is just a bit of overclocking speed marketing.

In general, RAMs come with two “XMP” profile configurations, which have been established by the manufacturer and configured for a specific processor. Most of the processors of both brands tend to work with these profiles, although they may sometimes require some adjustment to obtain higher nominal speeds.

Channels: Double, Quad

RAMs also commonly come in dual or quad channel kits, to allow for higher bandwidth. Even though dual or quad channel RAM is almost always standard, you should double check which one your motherboard will support.

Graphics Cards: AMD Radeon Vs. Nvidia

Graphics Cards

Graphics cards deliver the most important power in graphics and gaming performance, but this is usually the least valued part of the build. In this section you can forget about the compatibility issue but not about your wallet; graphics cards are somewhat expensive.

No Sockets; PCIe only

Motherboard compatibility is not usually a problem in relation to graphics cards, as they do not require a specific socket or chipset for the graphics card.

PCIe offers backward compatibility, so even a PCIe 3.0 graphics card will run smoothly on a PCIe 2.0 motherboard. Although the PCIe 3.0 version will allow for higher bandwidth, and for this it turns out to be an optimal option, the same can be said in relation to the latest PCIe 4.0 graphics cards.

Running Multiple Graphics Cards

Although running multiple graphics cards on a single computer is not uncommon on a powerful gaming rig, this is still a major compatibility issue.

To run multiple graphics cards, you will need to find models that have the legend ” AMD Crossfire or Nvidia SLI / NVlink .” This is the method by which both AMD and Intel run two graphics cards together.

But in addition, graphics cards marked “SLI” or “Crossfire Ready” can also be used on their own.

It is important to note that SLI support has declined among game creators in recent years, and – to be honest – it has become less and less necessary from a gaming perspective year after year. Now, with the latest NVIDIA RTX-30-Series graphics cards, it will be completely phased out, not to mention the enthusiastic level of RTX 3090 GPUs.

Making sure your hard drives are compatible

Rigid Disks 

There is not much to discuss when selecting a storage solution, as most drives still use standard SATA-type data and power connectors.

Type M.2 SSD Drive

However, if you plan to use a modern M.2 type SSD, you should first check the specifications of your motherboard because it may not support it.

The most common M.2 form factors use a mini PCIe connector located on the motherboard and this is usually associated with a number, such as M.2 2280.

This number will let you know the width and length of the supported drive, because some motherboards will only allow a shorter M.2, such as an M.2 2240.

Mix and Match is a cool thing

You can have multiple types of drives and storage built into your computer, depending on whether you have the proper connectors for this. Mixing and matching drives is possible because NVMe devices, SSDs, and mechanical drives are all compatible with each other.

Is the cabinet really important?

When it comes to the compatibility issue, it is absolutely important! There are three important things you should consider when checking compatibility: form factor (size), graphics card gaps, and airflow.

Form Factor and Free Space for Graphics Card

There are motherboards of multiple sizes on the market, and you will need to find a cabinet that fits this.

Smaller cabinets may have limited space for your graphics card. That is why a suitable cabinet should indicate the maximum height and length limits for graphics cards, but also each graphics card producer should indicate the dimensions of their products.

Another size-related concern is the space required for your cooling solution, whether it’s fans or something more advanced, and also for extended memory, which you may want to take advantage of.

Refrigeration

Refrigeration

If you want to update the original cooler, you will have to make sure that the new one fits into the socket of your motherboard.

The processor heat sinks are located on the top, and that means they use the same socket as the processor. In other words, whatever type of cooler you decide to use, it must be compatible with the processor socket.

In case you choose to use the liquid cooling option, you will need to make sure that your cabinet has enough space. The liquid cooler uses a radiator that regularly has between one and up to three fans, and in these cases you will need to find a cabinet that is compatible with these fan configurations.

Does your PSU have the necessary power?

PSU 

The components you will be using have specific power requirements, and ensuring that your power supply can meet these requirements will be critical.

Motherboard and CPU Power

Your motherboard will have two areas that demand power: the motherboard itself, and the processor. The motherboard will use a 24-pin connector, and the processor power requirements will vary between the 2-pin and 8-pin connectors.

GPU power

A graphics card may require a 4-pin to 12-pin connector, depending on the amount of power it needs.

Storage Unit Power

Both hard drives and SSDs, which use a SATA connection, require a power supply. If you plan to pair multiple drives, you should check that your power supply has enough connectors.

Fans, LEDs, Etc.

If you also plan to add some extras such as additional LEDs or fans, which do not consume power from the motherboard, you will need to make sure that your power supply has the correct connectors.

Finding the Right Screen

There are many styles of monitors on the market to choose from, and they all have a variety of features and enhancements compared to their predecessors.

Read more:

Photo Editing Monitor

Best 144hz monitor

Best 4K Gaming Monitors

Connector types

The three most common connector types used by monitors today are DVI, GDMI, and Displayport. At present, most graphics cards will have at least one of these three connectors, and it will mostly be HDMI.

Resolution

The offer of high resolution monitors is growing rapidly at the same time that their costs are becoming cheaper and more, and this makes them more accessible than ever. But before you go out and buy one, you should check that your graphics card is rated to deliver a high resolution, because the truth is that most graphics cards are not yet capable of offering true 4K graphics.

Additional options

Depending on your graphics card, you could also purchase a monitor with some advanced features, such as a higher frame refresh rate or that is Freesync / G-Sync compatible . Or even with both options, if you have the necessary budget.

AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync are two great features to use on a monitor, if the graphics card supports it. When using a compatible graphics card, the game’s frame rate will sync with your monitor’s refresh rate to help prevent screen tearing.

Compatibility Check List

So far we have mentioned the parts that are essential to put together your computer and we also go over the ways to ensure compatibility between them. But all of this may be too much information to remember, especially if you are new to all of this.

To help you a bit with everything, we are going to give you a very useful list that you can always review to make sure you don’t forget anything.

CPU and Motherboard

Socket Type

Chipset

Form factor

RAM

Speeds

XMP profile

Double or quad channel?

Graphics cards

Crossfire / SLI compatible (if you use more than one graphics card)

Storage

Disk connectors (SATA, M.2, HDD)

Refrigeration

Aftermarket cooler socket type

Liquid cooler radiator size

Power

Pin connectors – do you have the right ones?

Adequate power

Cabinet

Suitable slots for fans

Radiator bracket

Form factor

Available slots for the GPU

Some final words

Now that you have all the information you need to make sure your system is compatible, you are ready to become a professional computer builder. What do you have in mind to build?

At first it may be too much information to process, but as time goes on this checklist will become second nature. After a while you will realize that you will not even need to consult it because you will already know which components are compatible -or not- with each other, without the need to review their specifications.

We hope this article will be of use to our readers, and we can’t wait to find out what kind of machines you are capable of building after reading this article.

The Ryzen lineup was built to be fully compatible with previous releases and upcoming releases for the foreseeable future (and since this only started in 2017, you shouldn’t worry about unexpected changes happening in the near future. ). This also works for the latest Ryzen 5000 processor series, which provide a wide range of support for pre-chipsets ranging from the X570 and B550, and which also offer support for the 400 series processors we have on the horizon. On the opposite side, each new generation of Intel Core processors will require a new motherboard to go with it.

Although the 8th and 9th generation Intel processors use the same LGA1151 socket, they both require motherboards based on the Intel 300 series chipset. The processors in this chipset do not offer backward compatibility with motherboards, which are based on Intel series chipsets. 100 or 200. And this is also the case with the latest generation 10th generation Intel processors, which have been designed for the new LGA1200 socket.

Chipsets

The next step is to make sure that the chipset will support the functions you need. Chipsets are part of motherboards and will determine their capabilities.

To make it clear; the chipset is simply a chipset. As technology progressed, certain motherboard operations that required its own chip were reduced and were integrated with other chips, hence the word chipset.

Processors support multiple tiers of chipsets, regularly starting from the most basic motherboard operations such as the AMD Ryzen A320 chipset, which does not support overclocking, to more advanced chipsets, such as the AMD Ryzen X570, which supports overclocking. complete and much more.

CPUSockets
Core i3 – 9300LGA1151
Core i5 – 9600KLGA1151
Core i9 – 9900KLGA1151
Core i9 – 10980XELGA2066
Ryzen 5 3400GAM4
Ryzen 5 3600XAM4
Ryzen 9 3950XAM4
Ryzen TR3990XTRX40

Sockets

To ensure that your motherboard will be compatible, you will need to know what type of socket and chipset your processor will be compatible with.

The socket refers to the physical slot (or slot) of the motherboard, and is what will keep your processor in place. This can be easily determined by just figuring out the socket size, both for the processor and for the motherboard you want to use.

If you try to pair a processor with the wrong socket type, you could ruin the processor and / or motherboard. Here are some examples to help you understand what you are looking for.

Motherboard Form Factor (Size and shape)

The form factor is also an element that should be considered when choosing a motherboard, because their sizes can vary a lot. Smaller boards generally have less RAM capacity, and fewer GPU slots, but they also have fewer SATA connectors.

The most commonly used form factors for standard desktop computers, ordered from smallest to largest, are:

  • Mini ITX
  • Micro ATX
  • ATX
  • E-ATX

These are for standard desk sizes only. There are other motherboard sizes for other types of configurations, such as those used for servers.

The ATX motherboard is the most commonly used size in standard computers and is probably the one you want to use, unless you are looking for something significantly smaller or are planning to build a server.

RAM

RAM, or Random Access Memory , often causes misinterpretations, and setting speeds, or their compatibility range, can also be confusing.

Capacity

The vast majority of casual users won’t have to worry about maxing out their RAM, but you might want to build a real beast and plan to push all levels to the max. If this is the case, you should pay special attention to the maximum RAM of your motherboard.

A modern motherboard will generally support a maximum 64GB RAM, but some support more or even less than this.

Speed

When you look at RAM capabilities, your biggest concern should be speed. For DDR4 memories (the current generation of RAM), the stock speed has a maximum of 2133Mhz. Any speed higher than this will technically overclock.

When a RAM indicates a speed greater than 2133Mhz, this will not be its stock speed, but it is indicating that it is classified to be overclocked up to that specified speed. If you buy a RAM with a speed higher than 2133Mhz, you must first make sure that your motherboard is capable of supporting it.

Processor compatibility

When looking for RAM, you might come across an indication of compatibility with AMD or Intel processors. You shouldn’t worry about this, because they will be compatible with both processors, usually this is just a bit of overclocking speed marketing.

In general, RAMs come with two “XMP” profile configurations, which have been established by the manufacturer and configured for a specific processor. Most of the processors of both brands tend to work with these profiles, although they may sometimes require some adjustment to obtain higher nominal speeds.

Channels: Double, Quad

RAMs also commonly come in dual or quad channel kits, to allow for higher bandwidth. Even though dual or quad channel RAM is almost always standard, you should double check which one your motherboard will support.

Graphics Cards: AMD Radeon Vs. Nvidia

Graphics cards deliver the most important power in graphics and gaming performance, but this is usually the least valued part of the build. In this section you can forget about the compatibility issue but not about your wallet; graphics cards are somewhat expensive.

No Sockets; PCIe only

Motherboard compatibility is not usually a problem in relation to graphics cards, as they do not require a specific socket or chipset for the graphics card.

PCIe offers backward compatibility, so even a PCIe 3.0 graphics card will run smoothly on a PCIe 2.0 motherboard. Although the PCIe 3.0 version will allow for higher bandwidth, and for this it turns out to be an optimal option, the same can be said in relation to the latest PCIe 4.0 graphics cards.

Running Multiple Graphics Cards

Although running multiple graphics cards on a single computer is not uncommon on a powerful gaming rig, this is still a major compatibility issue.

To run multiple graphics cards, you will need to find models that have the legend ” AMD Crossfire or Nvidia SLI / NVlink .” This is the method by which both AMD and Intel run two graphics cards together.

But in addition, graphics cards marked “SLI” or “Crossfire Ready” can also be used on their own.

It is important to note that SLI support has declined among game creators in recent years, and – to be honest – it has become less and less necessary from a gaming perspective year after year. Now, with the latest NVIDIA RTX-30-Series graphics cards, it will be completely phased out, not to mention the enthusiastic level of RTX 3090 GPUs.

Making sure your hard drives are compatible

There is not much to discuss when selecting a storage solution, as most drives still use standard SATA-type data and power connectors.

Type M.2 SSD Drive

However, if you plan to use a modern M.2 type SSD, you should first check the specifications of your motherboard because it may not support it.

The most common M.2 form factors use a mini PCIe connector located on the motherboard and this is usually associated with a number, such as M.2 2280.

This number will let you know the width and length of the supported drive, because some motherboards will only allow a shorter M.2, such as an M.2 2240.

Mix and Match is a cool thing

You can have multiple types of drives and storage built into your computer, depending on whether you have the proper connectors for this. Mixing and matching drives is possible because NVMe devices, SSDs, and mechanical drives are all compatible with each other.

Is the cabinet really important?

When it comes to the compatibility issue, it is absolutely important! There are three important things you should consider when checking compatibility: form factor (size), graphics card gaps, and airflow.

Form Factor and Free Space for Graphics Card

There are motherboards of multiple sizes on the market, and you will need to find a cabinet that fits this.

Smaller cabinets may have limited space for your graphics card. That is why a suitable cabinet should indicate the maximum height and length limits for graphics cards, but also each graphics card producer should indicate the dimensions of their products.

Another size-related concern is the space required for your cooling solution, whether it’s fans or something more advanced, and also for extended memory, which you may want to take advantage of.

Refrigeration

If you want to update the original cooler, you will have to make sure that the new one fits into the socket of your motherboard.

The processor heat sinks are located on the top, and that means they use the same socket as the processor. In other words, whatever type of cooler you decide to use, it must be compatible with the processor socket.

In case you choose to use the liquid cooling option, you will need to make sure that your cabinet has enough space. The liquid cooler uses a radiator that regularly has between one and up to three fans, and in these cases you will need to find a cabinet that is compatible with these fan configurations.

Does your PSU have the necessary power?

The components you will be using have specific power requirements, and ensuring that your power supply can meet these requirements will be critical.

Motherboard and CPU Power

Your motherboard will have two areas that demand power: the motherboard itself, and the processor. The motherboard will use a 24-pin connector, and the processor power requirements will vary between the 2-pin and 8-pin connectors.

GPU power

A graphics card may require a 4-pin to 12-pin connector, depending on the amount of power it needs.

Storage Unit Power

Both hard drives and SSDs, which use a SATA connection, require a power supply. If you plan to pair multiple drives, you should check that your power supply has enough connectors.

Fans, LEDs, Etc.

If you also plan to add some extras such as additional LEDs or fans, which do not consume power from the motherboard, you will need to make sure that your power supply has the correct connectors.

Finding the Right Screen

There are many styles of monitors on the market to choose from, and they all have a variety of features and enhancements compared to their predecessors.

Read more:

  • Photo Editing Monitor
  • Best 144hz monitor
  • Best 4K Gaming Monitors

Connector types

The three most common connector types used by monitors today are DVI, GDMI, and Displayport. At present, most graphics cards will have at least one of these three connectors, and it will mostly be HDMI.

Resolution

The offer of high resolution monitors is growing rapidly at the same time that their costs are becoming cheaper and more, and this makes them more accessible than ever. But before you go out and buy one, you should check that your graphics card is rated to deliver a high resolution, because the truth is that most graphics cards are not yet capable of offering true 4K graphics.

Additional options

Depending on your graphics card, you could also purchase a monitor with some advanced features, such as a higher frame refresh rate or that is Freesync / G-Sync compatible . Or even with both options, if you have the necessary budget.

AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync are two great features to use on a monitor, if the graphics card supports it. When using a compatible graphics card, the game’s frame rate will sync with your monitor’s refresh rate to help prevent screen tearing.

Compatibility Check List

So far we have mentioned the parts that are essential to put together your computer and we also go over the ways to ensure compatibility between them. But all of this may be too much information to remember, especially if you are new to all of this.

To help you a bit with everything, we are going to give you a very useful list that you can always review to make sure you don’t forget anything.

  • CPU and Motherboard
    • Socket Type
    • Chipset
    • Form factor
  • RAM
    • Speeds
    • XMP profile
    • Double or quad channel?
  • Graphics cards
    • Crossfire / SLI compatible (if you use more than one graphics card)
  • Storage
    • Disk connectors (SATA, M.2, HDD)
  • Refrigeration
    • Aftermarket cooler socket type
    • Liquid cooler radiator size
  • Power
    • Pin connectors – do you have the right ones?
    • Adequate power
  • Cabinet
    • Suitable slots for fans
    • Radiator bracket
    • Form factor
    • Available slots for the GPU

Some final words

Now that you have all the information you need to make sure your system is compatible, you are ready to become a professional computer builder. What do you have in mind to build?

At first it may be too much information to process, but as time goes on this checklist will become second nature. After a while you will realize that you will not even need to consult it because you will already know which components are compatible -or not- with each other, without the need to review their specifications.

We hope this article will be of use to our readers, and we can’t wait to find out what kind of machines you are capable of building after reading this article.

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