To build a PC, one needs numerous components like PSU, Processor, etc. But to build a perfect PC, all the components need to be in sync with each other.
Problems arise when one component is not able to keep up with the other hardware. For most people that one hardware is the Graphics Card. The essential source of display in the PC. Most graphic cards require more than what is present.
At this point, most people raise the question of Graphic cards compatibility. Will this graphics card work best with the PSU and processor that you have? Or do you need to change it?
You do not need to panic! If you’re running across such problems, this guide will surely help you. We will look into the steps to check whether the graphic card is compatible with the other components.
Graphics Card Compatibility – Here’s How To Check
To check if your GPU can cope up with the other devices. Or if other components like PSU can run the GPU at its full performance and do justice to it.
The methods and techniques required to answer these questions are called graphics card compatibility checks.
Let’s now dig into the ways to check for Graphic Cards Compatibility.
1- Find The PCI Express Slot – (PCIe x16 Slot)
PCIe x16 slots provide more data transfer, whereas the version of a PCIe slot tells us about the transfer speed.
Before adding the graphics card to the motherboard, the first thing you need to do is to check the pins of the graphics card. If the pins in the graphic card are the same as the pins of the PCI express slot, then you can continue with the build.
If you have a graphics slot less than the PCI x16 express slot, then you might need to consider upgrading the motherboard. You can still fit the graphic card if it has an open-end slot.
However, the transfer rate will be less and maximum performance cannot be achieved. Fitting graphic cards with lesser pins in a more pin PCIe slot is possible.
The problem is the wastage of the remaining lanes of the slot. It is best if the graphics card is bought, keeping in mind the PCIe pins on the motherboard.
2- Length And Height Of The GPU
One more thing that needs to be kept in mind is the size of the GPU. It is recommended to buy a GPU that can fit in your case or the other way around.
Get to know about the dimensions of your PC case. You can find the information on the manufacturer’s website.
If the information is not present on the manufacturer’s website, then size it out with a scale. This is a last-second strategy, but the latter is recommended. A good GPU that doesn’t fit in your PC case will only be a waste of money.
After fitting the GPU in the case with the motherboard, you should have enough space for other components to fit. The GPU and other components should not be cramped in the case. Else, this would cause ventilation issues.
The reason is that if the devices are cramped, then the heat one device produces affects the other one too. This raises the temperature of your whole PC.
3- Power Requirements: Is The PSU Enough?
The next step is to check the graphics card compatibility with the PSU. The power supply unit is the main power device in a PC. This device powers the whole circuitry of your computer.
Every component of the computer takes a fixed amount of power. This power is supplied by the PSU. A GPU must not take more than 40% of the PSUs’ power.
A PSU should always be bought at the end of building the PC. So that you can sum the number of voltages that your build might require.
A wrong power supply that is not able to run all the components at full speed might cost you a lot later on. Other than that, An old PSU might not even have the required power supply connectors.
These connectors are important if you want to connect the GPU to the power supply. If you are using a high-end GPU, then a high-end PSU would be the best option.
4- Motherboard Specification & Compatibility
Knowing about the specifications of your motherboard is of prime importance. Information about your processor slot in the motherboard and all the PCI and PCI Express ports help out a lot.
The information about the motherboard helps you a lot. Like if you have a PCIe x16 port on your motherboard, then you can buy top-of-the-line graphic cards like RTX 3080.
Else you will have to go with some low-end GPU. This information helps while buying GPU and other USB cards which require PCI x1 slots.
If you are building a gaming PC, then a motherboard with PCIe 16x slots 4.0 or 3.0 is recommended. The reason is that a top-tier GPU contains at least 4th Gen PCIe 16x slots. Let those games run at max performance and enjoy!
5- Compatibility With RAM & CPU
The next point is GPU compatibility with the RAM and CPU. These are the two main components placed on the motherboard. The more RAM, the more you will be able to run demanding applications.
So, a motherboard with more RAM slots is better. High-end games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Control require higher RAM.
Not only does the RAM size matter, but the RAM type matters too. A DDR4 RAM cannot fit in a DDR3 slot. Hence, knowing the port type helps you buy the perfect RAM sticks.
The CPU or the Processor also matters a lot. The better the processor, the better the PC.
If you are going with good processors like the AMD Ryzen series. Then you might need an AMD crossfire motherboard because the processor would fit perfectly in it.
It might fit in other boards, but it could cause problems in most boards. Most motherboards are created on default methods where the processor is made for Intel processors, which causes sizing problems.
6- Don’t Create Bottlenecks
Moving on now we have a very important factor to discuss and that is the PC Bottleneck issue, read further!
Bottlenecks are created when a PC is built without any info on the components. It is just like if you throw every vegetable in a pot and cook it, the result won’t be good. Bottlenecks occur when one or more components in the PC are not able to support each other.
Let us take an example. If I build a PC with a GPU like RTX 3080 and a power supply of 300W. The result will be that my PC will bottleneck and crash at different points. The reason is that the GPU and the game or application will require power.
But my PSU won’t be able to keep up with the load of the game or the application I am running, and it will crash. In short, bottlenecks are the result of bad PC builds.
7- Display Ports / Connectors
Monitors having high-resolution settings require high Graphics cards. A 4K resolution monitor won’t accept any GPU less than RTX 3080 or RX 6900 XT.
Monitors contain ports at their back like HDMI, DisplayPort, or DVI, these ports help us connect our PC to the monitor, Most monitors have 2-3 ports nowadays. The old monitors contained more than 3 ports in some cases.
High-end GPUs contain a lot of connector pins and ports. The pins are used for the connection between the Power Supply, and the ports like HDMI are used for the connection with the monitor.
These provide the monitors with the capability to set the resolution of the screen according to your GPU performance. A rule of thumb is: More the Refresh rate is, the better and smoother the display is.
8- Adequate Clearance Space In Your Case
One of the most important points that every user needs to keep in mind while buying a case. If you are not a professional PC builder, then I would recommend the following.
First, buy the components of the PC and then the case. A small and cramped case without any place for cooling fans will cause hardware problems later.
When you have all the components, then you can estimate the size of the case by checking the size of all the components.
While buying a case, keep in mind that it has space for all the ports and cooling fans. If the build is for a gaming PC, then 2 or more fan slot cases are what I would recommend.
If not, then one fan slot case is also enough. Some cases also come with fans provided. They can also be opted for if you don’t know much about cooling fans or systems.
My Final Conclusion:
The one thing that I would highly recommend is that before building a PC, if you don’t have a lot of information about its components, then spend some time and get to know them, else you’ll run into compatibility problems.
Having the information about all the components used will help you build an ideal PC that runs flawlessly.
If you have some components but you don’t know about them, then there are some graphics card compatibility checker apps. They even talk about what things you might need to change to improve performance.
An old PC built correctly is much better than a PC built without knowledge. The reason is that at least it will work. A good company like Kingston’s RAM and processor from AMD Ryzen or Intel Core i5 or above will build a perfect PC for you.
Also, buy your monitors keeping in mind the resolution your graphics card can handle. Else you might face stuttering, which ruins the experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – How do I know which graphics card is compatible?
To find if the graphics card is compatible with your computer, you need to check the PCIe port of your motherboard.
If the PCIe port’s slots are equal to the pins of the graphics card, then it is compatible. Else you might need to find a GPU with the same number of pins as the slots.
#2 – Are all graphics cards compatible with motherboards?
Not all graphics cards are compatible. Like you cannot fit a 16 pin graphics card in a PCI express 4 slot motherboard.
The card won’t fit in the motherboard. But if the motherboard contains more slots than the GPU pins, then GPU might fit. But it is a waste of space.
#3 – Can you put a PCIe 3.0 card in a 4.0 slot?
Yes, it is possible to put a PCIe 3.0 card in a 4.0 slot. The only issue is that the card will run on 3.0 settings.
Hence you won’t be able to get the max performance of the GPU. It is recommended to get the same card as the slot generation.
#4 – Can you use any GPU with any CPU?
Yes, any GPU can be used with any CPU because the working of the GPU is irrespective of the processor.
As long you have a PSU with enough power to run the GPU and the processor, the configuration won’t matter much. Also, check the PCIe slots too.
#5 – What size graphics card do I need?
It is recommended to get a graphics card with 8 GB or more if you are willing to game at 1080p. Around 6GB is also good.
You could also buy a GPU with 4K resolution support and play games at ultra performance.