How to Tell if Computer Parts are Compatible with Each Other

The first time you build a computer, you may have enough parts to fit in a locker. But as you start building more and more systems, you’ll quickly find that the parts you have don’t fit well together. Over time, you’ll find yourself mired in a gargantuan system of cables, adapters, and cables for adapters.

Compatible parts are essential for any computer system to function properly. And it is important to make sure the parts you buy are compatible with the rest of your system, or you might end up with a system that won’t work at all.

Are you tired of throwing away perfectly good computer parts because they’re incompatible with the new ones you want? If your answer is yes, then this post is for you! I will show you how to tell if computer parts are compatible with each other and help you avoid having to throw away perfectly good parts that you will never use.. Read more about computer parts compatibility checker and let us know what you think.

Before buying any components to either add, replace, or construct a full computer from start, it’s critical to know how to determine whether they’re compatible with each other. There will be a link at the bottom of this article if you need to learn more about specific computer components and what they perform.

I still spend a significant amount of time studying components before constructing, updating, or repairing a computer.

Why? It’s because this is the most essential stage in planning and budgeting, as well as getting everything properly. Then, when the components come, I’m certain that everything will fit together perfectly. It’s the cornerstone of high performance and dependability.

Looking at both product pages from the manufacturer’s website is the fastest method to see whether a computer component is compatible with another. In most instances, you’ll discover a compatibility list. If not, you’ll have to take that information and conduct some study to figure out how they’re supposed to function together.

How to Tell if Computer Parts are Compatible with Each Other

Let’s take a look at each main component of a computer and see how you’d go about determining whether it’s compatible with another.

Computer case and motherboard

computer case with motherboard mounted inside

In today’s market, you can buy a computer case in about any size you can think of. However, with such a wide range of options comes the duty of ensuring that your motherboard fits properly.

If you’ve already decided on a computer case, you’ll need to visit the manufacturer’s website to find the product page for your case.

Physical Dimensions

They will include a list of all the sizes of motherboard it can support under the specs.

The motherboard is in the same boat. Again, the motherboard will be stated in terms of size, so you won’t have to guess if it will be compatible or not.

The ideal situation is to attempt to fit an ATX sized motherboard into the case, and if that isn’t possible, move down in motherboard size till it fits into the case’s maximum permitted size.

When you choose a motherboard that is too tiny for the job, you are limiting the amount of IO that the motherboard can offer.

In general, this will imply fewer connectivity choices for all kinds of connections. In certain cases, cheaper motherboard versions may be bigger, but they may have fewer connection.

Connectors on the front panel

The number of USB connections for the case’s front panel supported by the motherboard is another area of compatibility to keep an eye on.

When your case needs two onboard USB headers but your motherboard only has one, it’s not ideal. It means you can only connect to one port on your computer’s front panel, which is inconvenient if your machine has two.

Motherboard and CPU

cpu being installed into socket

You may be shocked to discover how simple it is to locate a suitable CPU for a motherboard, or a motherboard for a CPU.

To begin, you must decide whether you want an Intel or AMD processor. The motherboard you select must then be compatible with that decision.

A particular socket will be specified under the CPU support requirements by the motherboard manufacturer. So, although this is a nice place to start, we may go a step farther to be sure.

Look for a CPU compatibility list on the motherboard’s product page on the manufacturer’s website (by searching for the particular model you’re looking for). They may contain a PDF that you can download, or they may put it on a different page.

Stick to the CPUs on the list if you want to be as safe as possible. It will be put to the test and shown to function.

Cooler for the CPU

installing cpu cooler

Compatibility with CPU Sockets

Any CPU cooler’s manufacturer will specify which CPU socket type the cooler is compatible with. Please read the list carefully to ensure that your CPU socket type is supported.

Physical Dimensions

There’s one more item to look at in terms of compatibility. And that’s the size of the cooler, as well as whether it’ll fit inside your case.

If there isn’t enough space within your computer case after the CPU cooler is placed on your motherboard and CPU, the height of the CPU cooler may be an issue.

It’s possible that you won’t be able to close the case cover again. To prevent this, study the CPU cooler’s specs to get its precise measurements and measure it inside your case from the CPU’s surface to the inside of the case lid.

Check for adequate space around the CPU cooler within the case to avoid any cooling problems, anything vibrating against it, or, worst of all, blocking you from installing a component like a drive or RAM modules.

Manufacturers can only do so much to prevent accidents with internal components of your computer. When it comes to height, this is particularly true.

For obvious reasons, having a big air CPU cooler is desirable, but your case may prevent you from reaping the advantages.

So make sure you do your homework on this one. By avoiding component returns with the CPU cooler package already open, you will save time and perhaps money.

Connectivity for cooling fans

Make sure the cooling fan has four wires and a four-pin connection with a wire going to each terminal before buying a CPU cooler.

It’s not the kind of cooling fan you want to fiddle with in order to have your fan speeds correctly controlled.

The four-wire cooling fan will provide you all the control you need to keep your system quiet and cool.


installing ram module

RAM is an important component to get properly and make sure it’s fully compatible. It’s essential to get the RAM compatibility list from the motherboard manufacturer’s website for this.

You don’t want to make a mistake when it comes to RAM. If you select any model to install, you risk having an unreliable computer that drives you crazy.

To begin, double-check that the RAM you’re looking at has the proper DDR version. Then, under the motherboard’s compatibility list, search for the particular model of RAM you want to compare.

If the RAM module you’re thinking about has large heat spreaders, be sure that won’t be an issue if you opt with an air-type CPU cooling.

The additional height may interfere with certain CPU coolers, causing a collision with the CPU cooler’s cooling fan or the heatsink itself.

Card for graphics

graphics card being pushed into place

In terms of compatibility, graphics cards are one of the most straightforward components to match.

Version for PCI Express

PCI Express slots are backward compatible, therefore you won’t be unable to use a new graphics card on an older motherboard.

However, there are certain factors to consider as a result of this. Do you want to degrade the performance of your new card by introducing a bottleneck like this?

If so, a motherboard upgrade may be necessary to fully use your flashy new graphics card.

Look up the specs for the motherboard by looking up the brand and model and going to the manufacturer’s website to find the particular product page.

The PCI Express slot specification, more particularly the version, may be found in the documentation if you download it.

In the same manner, check the graphics card to see what PCI Express version it has.

Physical Dimensions

The size of the card and whether or not it will fit in your system will be the other compatibility problem. Some cards, for example, need one or more bays.

The length of the piece is also a problem. Depending on the size of your case, certain graphics cards are extremely lengthy and may easily take up space from the rear to the front.

Connectors for power supplies

Make sure your power supply has enough PCI Express connections to meet the card’s power needs.

To allow for additional connections on the board, you may require some adapters to convert a Molex or SATA connector to PCI Express power.

Fans for cooling

Check the card’s cooling system in addition to all of this. Fan configurations may be divided into two categories. A fan or fans that blow directly down onto the heatsink are one option, while a centrifugal fan is another.

The centrifugal fan is better suited for compact form factor cases, providing somewhat less effective cooling for the card while sucking heat from the cooler and blowing it out the rear of the case.

SSDs and alternative types of storage

ssds and hdd

An SSD is almost a given as a main storage device for your computer these days. The reason for this is because they are quick, silent, and do not suffer from knock damage, and they endure a long time.

Most contemporary motherboards have slots built in that enable you to directly connect an SSD to the board. This hole eliminates the need to install drives in your case and cuts down on system wiring.

However, when selecting an SSD for your motherboard, this choice brings up something to consider.

Compatibility with slots

It’s an important compatibility check since purchasing the incorrect one will prevent your SSD from fitting into the slot.

Most computer component vendors will face an extremely difficult part return scenario as a consequence of this. Again, a costly error, particularly if you go for a higher capacity SSD.

When it comes to SSDs being plugged in and fastened directly into the motherboard, there are potential slots.

  1. M.2: M.2 Slots are the most popular right now. When compared to mSATA, it provides faster speeds.
  2. M.2 is the successor for mSATA, which has been phased out by motherboard makers.

When it comes to transfer speeds to and from internal memory media, the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) protocol enables SSDs to reach their full potential.

NVMe SSDs are often seen in M.2 SSD drives. Although some mSATA SSDs support NVMe, they are restricted to mSATA’s maximum speeds.

Serial ATA 3.0 drives have a maximum transfer speed of approximately 600MB/s, whereas Gen 4 NVMe SSDs can presently write at over 5000MB/s.

A SATA data connection and a SATA power connector are used to connect other kinds of storage, such as a hard disk drive (HDD).

SSDs with a 3.5-inch form factor are also available and utilize the same connections. SATA SSDs, on the other hand, will not offer the same data transfer speed as M.2.

electricity supply

installing power supply into computer case

When searching for a power supply, the physical size is the first thing to consider for compatibility with your system.

Small form factor, normal ATX, and a bigger ATX dimension for higher power needs are the three major size choices for power supplies.

How to Tell if Computer Parts are Compatible with Each Other 1PSU with a modular design

How to Tell if Computer Parts are Compatible with Each Other 2PSU that is fully wired

Modular, semi-modular, and completely wired power supply are available from manufacturers.

  1. All of the leads that may be connected to the power source can be separately hooked into the power supply. This implies that you just need to connect the connections that are required to power your computer.
  2. The 24 pin ATX lead is hardwired directly into the power supply, and the lead is hardwired straight out of the power supply, making it semi-modular.
  3. All power supply leads are hard wired into the power supply and exit via an aperture on the inside of the power supply.

These choices are useful for reducing the amount of cables in your case, but a completely modular power supply may occasionally create space issues in tiny form factor computer cases.

Second, you’ll need to figure out how much power in watts you’ll need to keep your system running safely, plus an additional 10% to 20% headroom for lifespan and dependability.

Although this isn’t technically a compatibility criterion, having an underpowered power supply for that system may be deemed incompatible.

Fans for cooling

installing cooling fan to computer case

Compatibility isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about a computer cooling fan. However, considering the explosion of cooling goods on the market, I felt it would be appropriate to include it in this list.

The real size is one of the most important characteristics to check for to ensure compatibility with your machine.

Physical Dimensions

Various mounting solutions for various fan sizes will be available on your computer case. The 120mm fan is the most popular size.

When it comes to tiny form factor cases, some case makers only offer mounting for certain sizes.

As a result, it’ll benefit you to make sure you get the right size for your case.


Another topic I’d like to discuss is connection. A typical 3 or 4 pin connector connects cooling fans to the motherboard or fan controller.

I suggest aiming for 4 pin fans since they are simpler to manage. The additional connection also makes it simpler for hardware to control the fan speed.

In our post on how to install additional fans to your PC, I go into fan selection in further detail.

RGB lights and fans

How to Tell if Computer Parts are Compatible with Each Other 3

RGB lighting for your fans or casing may be connected in two ways.

The first method is to use your motherboard, and the second method is to use a separate RGB controller. The most popular method RGB lighting is linked and utilized nowadays is using addressable RGB (A-RGB).

So, before you buy anything RGB, think about how you’ll connect the lights. Are you planning to utilize the A-RGB controller on your motherboard or an add-in controller, for example?

Your motherboard’s controller software may be restricted in certain ways, but choosing a controller that matches the lighting manufacturer’s hardware may provide greater control and compatibility.

So, in my view, you should purchase the proper controller for your RGB lighting and only utilize the motherboard ARGB output as a stopgap solution or when you run out of mounting choices for ARGB controllers.

If you want to utilize your motherboard as a lighting controller, be sure the lighting system used on the components you’re looking at is compatible with your motherboard.

If you want to learn more about each component in detail, go to components of a computer and their functions.


That covers the majority of the essential hardware in terms of determining whether or not components are compatible.

Never hurry this section, and if necessary, do further research on the internet. In the long run, it will save you money and effort while also providing you with a better, more dependable system.

As a result, doing no research is a waste of time. You’ll become better at it with time, and the time it takes will be substantially reduced.

Like the first rule of Fight Club, there are in fact no rules to this one. When it comes to tech, compatibility is key. When I buy a new computer part and have to put it in one of my existing computers, I have to make sure it’s going to be compatible. Sometimes the original manual won’t be available, and that’s when it becomes more than just a guess. I take a few minutes to read the specs on the new part to see if it will work with my computer.. Read more about compatible components and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make sure my computer parts are compatible?

You can find a list of compatible parts on the Beat Saber website.

Do all PC parts fit in any case?

No, every case is designed for a specific type of PC.

How do I know if my motherboard and CPU are compatible?

To make sure your CPU and motherboard are compatible, you can use the following website to check.

Related Tags

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  • computer parts compatibility checker
  • website to check computer part compatibility
  • how to know if computer parts will fit in case
  • motherboard compatibility