The good news is that the vast majority of modern GPUs are compatible with almost every motherboard of the past decade, but as they say, prevention is always better than cure. Let’s leave the obvious aside: you just need to check if the graphics card is compatible if you intend to buy one. Dedicated GPU. If you’re planning on playing with the processor iGPU (which is possible, but not highly recommended), that means it’s obviously supported.
Is your new graphics card compatible with the motherboard PCIe sockets?
This brilliant technology is the reason why most modern graphics cards are compatible with most modern motherboards. The zócalos PCIe x16 They come with different numbered suffixes, and you probably already know what the difference is, although in terms of compatibility there really isn’t much.
For example, a PCIe 3.0 socket supports PCIe 1.0 graphics cards and vice versa, although you should know that if for example you are using a graphics card that uses PCIe 4.0 on a motherboard that has PCIe 3.0, you can you end up with bandwidth limitations. The general practice has been that each new version of this interface doubles the performance of the previous version, so that if PCIe 2.0 has 4 GT / s of bandwidth, PCIe 3.0 has 8 GT / s, and so on.
In 2021, PCIe 3.0 is the most used interface even if version 4.0 is already available and is gaining in power. What is certain is that the latest generation graphics already use a PCIe 4.0 interface, but despite this the performance differences are marginal. In other words, for example an RTX 3080 which is PCIe 4.0 has the same performance on a card with this interface as it does with a PCIe 3.0, so right now it’s not something you should be overly worried about, especially when the version PCIe 5.0 is already in production and PCIe 6.0 in the test phase. In general, it’s best to have a motherboard with a PCIe socket that matches the generation of the graphics card, but that’s really not a problem either.
Another key aspect is that you make sure that, indeed, your motherboard has free sockets, especially if you plan to configure multiple GPUs through SLI O NVLink by NVIDIA o Crossfire from AMD. You won’t be able to do this if your motherboard has only one PCIe x16 socket available, although there are “workarounds” for those who are inclined to do engineering.
In this regard, keep in mind that if you intend to have a gaming PC currently, it is no longer advisable to have multiple graphics cards: controller and gaming support for this technology dies slowly and performance gains are minimal.
Make sure you have enough physical space in the box
This is a feature that is sometimes easily forgotten but which also really affects the compatibility or not of a graphics card with your PC. Make sure you know the specifications of your PC case and the dimensions of the graphics card you plan to purchase (this information is usually easy to access on the manufacturer’s website) to avoid unpleasant surprises, like the buying a new graphic that does not physically fit into the PC case.
If the going gets tough and you forget what type of case you have or can’t identify it (a common thing if your PC is OEM and not assembled by parts), you can always manually measure the interior space with a tape. to measure. Make sure the PC is completely turned off before “reaching” inside to measure … even so, this is not the most recommended method but serves its purpose as a last resort.
Most of the time you will need to focus on the length of the graphics card, as this is usually the main issue; However, it is also good to know the width and especially if you have a thin box like the one we illustrate in the image above, where obviously a full size graphics card is not suitable and you should go for a low profile card. Another aspect to consider is the slots on the back, as they can give the wrong impression as they are often wider than the GPU.
While the graphics card is compatible with your PC, it is also important to make sure that all of the power cables your new GPU needs are available, as well as that there are no components near the socket that prevent its installation. . Measuring the space inside the PC is also important to determine if the PC will have enough space to “breathe” i.e. the GPU will have a good ventilation.
Will your diet be sufficient?
Finally, another important aspect that you need to take into account when determining whether the graphics you are planning to purchase are compatible with your PC is the power supply. Depending on the GPU you’re going to buy, you’ll need one or more 6-pin or 8-pin PCIe slots, and the manufacturer will also recommend some minimum power at the source. For example, a graphics like the RTX 3080 will sometimes require up to three 8-pin connectors, while a lower budget option like a GTX 1050 Ti requires none.
This means that if you are looking for a modern GPU, you must also have a modern source, as most of the older ones (before 2015) will not even have 8 pin connectors. Adapters can solve this problem, but they don’t have a very good reliability to tell the truth.
When it comes to wattage, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the GPU’s TDP in watts should be at most half of the source’s maximum wattage, ideally 40%. For example, if the GPU you intend to buy has 250W of TDP, you will need a source of at least 500 watts of power.