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PC Part Compatibility How to Check the Compatibility of PC Parts?

5unnykum4r profile image Sunny Kumar Updated on ・6 min read

I know it's painful to check the compatibility of PC parts and build your own PC, especially when you don't know the compatibility of the products.

So looking at all these things, today we're sharing an exclusive post on checking the compatibility of PC Parts even before buying them.

This guide will help you to efficiently choose the best and compatible products for building your PC, and it will also help you to invest your hard-earned money on compatible parts rather than losing on incompatible or parts with bottleneck issues.

So let's get started...

Steps to Build Your Custom PC

You're still reading this post, then probably you're looking to build your PC by yourself but due to a lack of knowledge in computer compatibility, but now you need not to be in fear of losing your hard-earned money.

So the first step in building your PC is selecting the processor and then all other main components.

Here I'm listing the components which are essential for building the PC;

  1. Processor
  2. Motherboard
  3. Graphics Card
  4. RAM
  5. Storage
  6. Cooling Fans
  7. Power Supply
  8. Case

But before we proceed to check the compatibility manually, I would like to share a few sites with you.

These sites are essential for checking the products' compatibility before buying them and provides you with a full-proof compatibility test by analyzing products on thousands of compatibility algorithms.

These websites are;

  1. PC Builder: It is one of the best websites out there to check the compatibility of pc parts without actually having them. They claim to have more than hundreds of computer algorithms written for checking the compatibility of PC parts.
  2. Build My PC: Came to existence in 2018, Build My PC is another widely used pc builder to check the compatibility of pc parts. They claim to have hundreds of algorithms for checking the compatibility of pc parts.
  3. PCPartPicker: One of the oldest websites in the market for checking the compatibility of pc parts. They're in the market since 2007, and they've one of the most advanced systems to check the compatibility of PC parts available on various merchants.

Here you can find some more tools which can be used for checking the compatibility and buying the customized PC.

If you want, you can use these websites to check the compatibility of PC parts before actually buying them - but we can't be 100% sure about these tools.

Here I'm writing how you can manually check the compatibility of the parts (also cross-check these compatibilities, if you're using the tools I shared above).

Processor

As you know, the processor is the brain of the computer. So first, we have to choose the brain. While choosing the processor, we got two main-streamed lines, AMD and Intel.

But what's the difference between them?

Both of them are indeed good players in the market with top-notch performance, but the main difference between both of them are backward compatibility and price.

Intel processors aren't backward compatible as the AMD. It changes generation and compatibility with every generation update, where's when we talk about the AMD, they're backward compatible and are compatible with predecessor motherboard.

Motherboard

Once you select the processor, the next thing you've to look at is the motherboard. It is another most important component, and while selecting the motherboard, the first thing you should have to do is, match their socket type with the processor.

We're doing this because a motherboard with AM4 socket type is only compatible with the processor having AM4 socket type.

Next to it, you've to check the chipset supported by your processor with the motherboard. As I told you above, in AMD, they're backward compatible, so they can work with old generation AM4 motherboard too, but when we talk about the Intel, they're not backward compatible.

So, in this case, you've to check the chipset supported by your processor and look out at the motherboard, which supports the same chipset.

Graphics Card

Now we've to choose the graphics card. It is also known as the video card. A Graphics card is another most important core component for building a powerful PC.

They also use to render the video and output them on your monitor. While selecting the graphics card, you don't have to match the socket type or chipset like we do in the motherboard - but we have to look at the PCIe interface.

PCIe interface are backward compatible, so a graphics card with PCIe 3.0 works well with PCIe 2.0 port in motherboard - but look for the motherboard, which supports the latest PCIe interface for optimal performance.

RAM

Most of the people get confused while choosing RAM because of the speed and capacity issue. When I first built a computer for myself, even I find it difficult to build a PC due to a speed issue in RAM.

But don't worry!

Speed in RAM simply means the speed it can go up to. A DDR4 based RAM has a stock speed of 2133 MHz and anything above it simply means it can be overclocked.

And when it comes to the capacity, I highly recommend you to grab anything above 16GB and if you wanted to do hardcore gaming, then I suggest you to grab minimum 32GB of RAM.

Storage

Storage is a core component of your system. It is used to store the operating system and all the other application data in your system and it helps in booting the system.

It comes in different types and sizes, including Mechanical Drive, SATA SSD, NVMe M.2 but they all are compatible with each other.

SSDs are much faster than mechanical hard drives. So grab the best storage unit accordingly for optimal performance.

Cooling Fans

Cooling fans are another top-most core component that you have to grab for your PC. It prevents the processor from overheating the system.

And when it comes to compatibility, they come in two different types, Liquid Cooler and Air Cooler.

As the name, a Liquid cooler uses water to cool down your processor from overheating whereas an air cooler uses air to cool it down.

This is why liquid coolers are much more efficient than normal coolers but with great pros, there are great cons of using liquid cooler, it can be dangerous for your system if water leaks into hardware.

Power Supply

It is another top-most required component in PCs. The power supply is used to provide the power wattage required by every component to work perfectly.

If anyhow you got a power supply with under wattage, the chances are, your system will not even boot up properly.

Along with it, you should have to look at the size of the power supply you're getting to buy. Mostly the power supply comes in standard ATX packages, which is fine - but I still recommend you to once check the form factor of your power supply.

Case

Last but not least component is the case or also know as chassis. It is one of the most important core components which is used to place all other components.

Depending upon the Motherboard, you'll get majorly four types of case, and these are;

  1. Mini ITX (for ITX Motherboard),
  2. Mini Tower (for Micro ATX Motherboard),
  3. Mid Tower (for ATX Motherboard), and
  4. Full Tower (for EATX Motherboard).

Another thing which you need to make sure of is, some motherboards with EATX sizes can also fit in the Mid Tower case.

So keeping all these factors in mind, you have to buy an efficient case for your motherboard and all other devices which can easily fit in your case.

Wrapping Up!

In this guide, I tried my best to explain everything related to the compatibility of the product. You can follow this guide to assure the compatibility of the PC product you're going to buy.

Along with it, I highly recommend using the tools I shared above for cross-checking the compatibility of the PC parts.

Happy Building :)

Discussion (3)

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athomsfere profile image
Austin French

I see a few points I think are critically lacking. Great start, but maybe think about expanding:

CPU compatibility, Regardless of truth with it right now. Check 2 things with your CPU. The socket and the chipset. Sometimes even a socket compatible processor won't work with a board if the chipsets are too far out of date. Sometimes you might lose features. Good luck for example with a Ryzen 5900x on a b350 board!

GPU: Doesn't matter for all workloads. Feel free to get an APU or cheap GPU for most office related work. Rendering, gaming and video editing tend to require a decent GPU, but it depends on the software.

RAM: The speed is what it should run at, with XMP, stably. You can overclock any RAM. Get faster RAM if performance is critical. In gaming for example DDR4 3600 CL16 can gain you several "free" FPS over DDR4 3200 CL16. You need to balance frequency of the chips, latency and price, but every CPU has a cost/performance "sweet spot".
Finally, check the RAM and Motherboard QVL. If you want the best odds of a stable system.

Drives: SSD/ NVMe are much faster and more expensive. Buy a decent sized NAND drive for the OS and important apps (I have a 1TB SSD, and a 256GB SSD for OS and a dedicated swap drive) and then a big HDD for storage. (I have a couple 3TB drives for games, pictures, and videos).

Fans: They keep everything cool. The CPU might get a lot of attention, but if the case ambient temps are high, nothing works as well. The CPU and GPU will throttle more (decreasing performance) and the even the SSD, HDD, and PSU become less efficient. In general, buy a bigger high quality fan over a couple small fans. They will move more air, and more quietly.

And paste: IF you are going to spend $1000+ on a build, use a decent paste. And while some CPU stock coolers are fine, if you really plan to push the limits of the CPU get a good after market cooler, and use that better paste to really see the best temps you can.

And there are kind of 3 types of coolers: Air, Liquid and AIO (All in One). An AIO makes liquid cooling cheaper and safer. But, a good air cooler can do just as well as at cooling as a not good AIO / water cooling setup.

Power Supply:
Don't cheap out here. Use a power supply calculator (from a reputable PSU brand) to see what your minimum requirements are. Add around 20% and then buy that or close to that. And buy a good brand, and check reviews. NZXT appears to rebrand Seasonic which are great. Corsair are usually great, as well as Superflower, EVGA and Antec. A cheap PSU going out can kill your entire PC by overloading the components. Also, look at the EPA certified rating. The higher the rating the better.

Cases: The form factor should have been mentioned for motherboards too. A case can easily support all of these, one of these or a few of these. Some even support a dual system (ITX and a ATX). But check here for features you care about. AIO won't fit in all cases. USB 3 front panels? Check that the case supports it.

Build Quality of the case: How well do the panels align, is there decent cable routing? If the fans are included, are they decent? What fans does it support, and how many? How many 2.5 and 3.5 inch internal bays are there for drives? Do you need an external 5.25?

Cases have come a long way though. Even a $40 case is 1000 times better than a case 15 years would have been for $300.

I've been doing this far too long, but a couple recent builds: Well, one was a budget rebuild.

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5unnykum4r profile image
Sunny Kumar Author

Thanks for mentioning all these... I was bit confused while sharing this post on this platform as my first post.

As the name, people mostly share related to development and languages... but I’ve knowledge about PC builds so at first I thought it would be awkward to share all these information here.

I never thought people like you also read posts on Dev.to (compliment)

I’ll surely keep all these things in my mind... and surely I’ll update the post as soon as I get the time.

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athomsfere profile image
Austin French

LOL, I am here for the Dev stuff (full stack developer) but I've also put a ton of time in with hardware both professionally and for fun.

And sadly, my home machine runs circles around my work machine for development!