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Old 03-16-2007, 07:54 PM   #1
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Default Basic Compatibility Checklist for System Builders

This is a very basic compatibility list for different components, to be used on your pc build. I have created this while trying to develop my first build. It can serve as a basic compatibility checklist when you buy components. I know that for most of you that have been on the board for a while this looks really basic but if your new to computers, not all of this stuff comes first nature. Feel free to comment about it. It quite possible I have missed something here, feel free to reply with info.

Must Match Motherboard (Socket {pin count}, front side bus, Processor Brand)

Must Match Case Size (ATX, Micro ATX, etc)

! Warning ! Just because a board says it supports your processor family does not mean it supports the whole family. One example is a Motherboard that has a 800mhz Front Side Bus, however the only processor that supports 800mhz in the Core 2 Duo family is the lowest model. Therefore, it only supports one processor in the family, not the remaining four or so models.

Must Match Motherboard Size (ATX, Micro ATX, etc)

Must Match Motherboard Supported Speed and Type

(Note: check motherboard specs for exact info as some motherboards have restrictions with memory timings and the configuration of memory that can be used. For instance DDR2 memory may need to be used in 2 or 4 configurations)

Disc Drive(s):
Must be available device connector (IDE) on Motherboard : Case needs available drive bay (CD/DVD drives use 5.25 bays)

Note: If you need more than one disc drive you need an extra connector to go to that drive. Some IDE cables support two devices per ribbon. Make sure you have enough connectors on the motherboard and ribbons.

Hard Drive(s):
Must be available device connector (SATA/ IDE) on Motherboard : Case needs available drive bay (3.5 bay).

Note: If you need more than one hard drive you need an extra connector to go to that drive. Some IDE cables support two devices per ribbon. SATA can only support one device per cable, meaning for each drive you 1 SATA connector on the motherboard.

VGA (Graphics Card):
Motherboard must have matching slot (PCI-Express (x1, x16) , PCI, or AGP) : Does the card have a connector that matches your monitor connection type? (DVI or VGA, adapters are available) Does graphics card support your monitors native resolution? (especially important on LCD, where non-native resolution can affect quality of images)

Note: Your motherboard needs to have the option to disable integrated graphics to use a VGA card (check motherboard specs). Make sure you PCI card

PSU (Power Supply Unit)
PSU Must Match Case Size (ATX, Micro ATX): Connectors must match hardware needs: Must have enough wattage to run hardware

Note: You should know the connectors you will need now and in the future and buy a PSU that has those connections (example, does it match with the motherboard connector?) : PSU needs to match the power needs of your PC (make sure has enough power on the 12v rail), check your video card specs recommendation (if buying one) and use a updated PSU calculator, that are on the web.

Here's one calculator that supposed to be pretty decent: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp
Note that as time goes on people lapse on updating these calculators, so make sure it has the the hardware you will run and make sure you have enough power on the 12v rail, especially if your installing a graphics card.

Mouse, Keyboard:
Must have correct port for mouse/keyboard (USB, PS/2 connector(s))

Device connection type of monitor must match port of motherboard or graphics card, if installed. (VGA or DVI)

Note: If your using two monitors you need two connectors and both to match. (adapters are available to change VGA to DVI)

Motherboard or Soundcard (if installed) must have correct audio ports : Does your soundcard or motherboard support the speakers if they are 5.1 or 7.1 speakers.

Gaming Controller:
Correct port available in pc (USB)

TV Tuner:
Motherboard must have matching slot (PCI-Express or PCI) : Connection ports meet needs? (can it hook up to what your connecting it to)

Case Fan(s): (if needed)
Extra Fan connector available on motherboard? Pin count on fan connector, match the pin count with the connector on motherboard. Fan correct size for case?

Note: There are three and four pin connectors used, some fans come with an adapter to meet both needs. You can buy an adapter if you need one

CPU Cooling Fan and Heatsink
Heatsink must match processor and fan must match heatsink

Note: CPU’s generally come with a heatsink and fan, this only applies if you need to upgrade it or for some reason one is not supplied.

Sound Card:
Card match interface slot on motherboard (PCI, PCI Express) : Extra interface slot available on Motherboard? : Your motherboard needs to have the option to disable integrated sound to use a sound card (check motherboard specs)

Floppy Drive:
Floppy drive connector on motherboard? : Case needs bay for floppy drive (3.5 bay)

Must connect to provided pc inputs (Firewire {IEEE 1394}, USB) : OS System Support?

1. It not enough that the Motherboard/Hardware has the correct port but it needs to have enough of the correct ports to meet your needs. How many USB ports do you need? How many PCI or PCI Express slots do you need?
2. PCI and PCI-Express are two different slots and not interchangeable. Take note of the PCI-Express slot details, referring to the PCI-Express x1, x4, x16. A x1 card will work in a x4 slot, but a x16 card will not work in a x4 slot. What that means is a lower card (for instance x1) will work in a higher slot (x4) but a x4 card will not work in a lower x1 slot.
3. I always like to check reviews (check out new egg) of products to see if there are any issues with compatibility with certain products, it can be quite helpful.

Hope this was helpful, Mike

Article Written in March 2007

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Old 03-16-2007, 08:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Basic Compatibility Checklist for System Builders

I would also add that if you want to be sure that your memory will work with your motherboard, check the QVL, but by no means does that list exclude all other brands, my memory works fine with my motherboard, even though it isn't on the QVL...
MY INTARDNET BEAST ■ Antec 300 ■ Q6600 B3, 2.8GHz @ 1.325v ■ MSI X48C Platinum ■ Kingwin XT-1264 ■ Visiontek HD 4870 512MB ■ 4x1GB Transcend aXeRam DDR3-1800 @ 1400MHz ■ WD Raptor (160GB) ■ Western Digital (250GB) ■ Samsung (640GB) ■ Seagate (500GB) ■ WD Caviar Green (1TB) ■ OCZ ProXStream 1kw ■ Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum ■ JVC HA RX900 ■

ME ■ I am bald and my head is lumpy...fear me ■
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