How to Check Motherboard Compatibility with Graphics Card?

how to check motherboard compatibility with a graphic card

Hopefully, in this GPU shortage dystopia, you have found a graphics card at its original MSRP.

If so, then hooray for you!

But now you may be wondering whether your new graphics card will work with your current motherboard setup or not? Or maybe how to check motherboard compatibility with graphic card whatsoever? Unfortunately, the answer to both of these questions is not as simple as you expect it to be. There is no such label that says, this particular graphics card will only work with this motherboard or its specific components. Graphics card compatibility with the motherboard depends on several factors, but if you want to learn about them, you will have to bear some patience and follow my lead.

The simple answer to your burdening question on how to check motherboard compatibility with a graphic card will be to check whether your motherboard has a PCI express slot on it or not. Many PC cases have expansion slots on their motherboard but what you’re actually looking for is an x16 PCIe 4.0. It’s where you can actually fit in your latest GPU.

We all want to upgrade our PC with the latest GPU now, don’t we?

By the way, if you’re planning to build an advanced gaming PC for yourself, then here’s an article that can help you learn how to add an external GPU to your computer.

Moving ahead, let’s learn what other factors influence a GPUs compatibility with the motherboard. So without further ado, let’s read on

Motherboard and Case Compatibility 

Motherboard and Case Compatibility 

At the end of the day, whichever compatible motherboard you buy, you need to make sure that graphics card must fit into the case. A tower pc case can be a very important component to your build, often one that is overlooked in terms of compatibility.

When choosing a GPU, there are three factors you need to look out for:

 

  1. Case and Motherboard size

ATX sized motherboards are the largest, therefore require an ATX compatible case. ITX motherboards are the smallest and can fit with either ATX or ITX PC tower cases.

Recommended ATX tower case is the Thermaltake V250 and the ITX tower case is Thermaltake Core V1. If you have a compatible case you should stick with it.

 

  1. Ventilation

Ventilation Around PC

This is a very important factor, one that many people overlook and place as their lowest priority. All pc components including graphic cards and motherboards need airflow to cool them down.

If a case does not have enough room for proper airflow, by extension  proper cooling.  In such a situation your compatible graphics card will thermal throttle. This means the device will effectively reduce its speed to cool itself down. Resulting in poor performance.

 

  1. Power Supply

Gaming Power Supply

Just like cases and motherboards, power supplies have sizes too. They are also labeled as ATX or ITX, depending on their size. For your system to run without overloading its power supply with today’s graphics cards, you need a power supply anywhere between 850W-1000W, preferably buy a platinum graded one with a warranty.

The advantage of buying a great power supply is that it can last through several upgrade cycles. Some manufacturers even give a 10-year warranty on their power supplies. If you try to skimp out on one, well the results could be incendiary, literally. Poorly made power supplies can easily cause fires.

Recommended power supplies are Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 and for slimmer cases the Silverstone ST-1000 PTS

Just remember there is no rule of thumb for motherboards and graphics card compatibility. You have to look at what is available in the market and what completes your requirements. Remember several community forums have all the additional information you need. Happy hunting!

To create a proper understanding, let us run through some examples of Graphics cards, from high end to low end. This will teach you the necessary knowledge required to check the compatibility of any graphics card with the relevant motherboard.

Read the following sections closely, it will enable you to determine the compatibility of any Graphics Card to any Motherboard, just by looking at its specifications.

Power Supply Estimates for GPUs

Below is the table representing the power supply requirements for various GPUs.

GPU PEG ConnectorsMinimum PSURecommended PSUExample Graphics Cards
Dual 8-pin PEGDual 8-pin PEG750W or largerRTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080 Super
8-pin plus 6-pin PEG500W650WRTX 2070 Super, RTX 2070, RX 5700 XT, RX 5700
Single 8-pin PEG450W550WTX 2060 Super, RTX 2060, RX 5600 XT, RX 5500 XT, GTX 1660 Super
Dual 6-pin PEG450W550WDeprecated - GTX 980 and GTX 970
Single 6-pin PEG350W400WGTX 1660, GTX 1650 Super, GTX 1650
None150W250W

GTX 1050

graphics card compatibility with Motherboard

1.   AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming Graphics Card with 16GB GDDR6 Memory

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming Graphics Card

Taking a look at the specifications tells us all we need to fulfill to run AMD’s top-tier graphics card.

  1. 330W:

The current generation Graphics cards to be compatible with your motherboard require several high-quality Voltage Regulator Modules(VRM). This will ensure that your motherboard can supply the required power reliably. The more your motherboard has the wider range of CPU and graphic cards it is compatible with.

 

  1. Triple Slot:

This is the thickness of the card. Triple slots mean it will take up 3 of your PCI-e slots. Therefore it is recommended to use an ATX motherboard. You can very well use an ITX motherboard, but then you might not have enough room for components such as extra storage or other add-in cards.

 

  1. PCI-e 4.0

pci e 4.0

This is the data bus specification. The majority of the modern Motherboards are compatible with PCI-e gen 4.0 specifications. You can run your graphics card on an older PCI-e 3.0 motherboard, but that would just create a data bottleneck.

Think of it as buying a Ferrari and then adding bicycle wheels to it. It will still run but you are not getting the maximum out of it.

 

  1. Smart Access Memory

This is a process that allows the CPU to access all the VRAM in your Graphics cards. Resulting in a performance boost, although not a necessity for compatibility, using an AMD CPU with an AMD graphics card opens this feature up. Therefore, make sure your motherboard has an AM4 socket in it.

 

  1. Power Supply:

Ensure that it is at least 750W Gold rated. These graphics cards tend to have instances where they might consume upwards of 500W, this only lasts a few milliseconds, but your power supply must be able to manage it comfortably. Do not buy a cheap 1000W bronze-rated Power Supply. You WILL kill your Graphics card or motherboard.

A motherboard that meets all these specifications is the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E. Keep in mind this is an ATX motherboard so you need to buy an ATX compatible case.

2. EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Graphics Card

EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Graphics Card

  1. Dual Slot

Since these are smaller cards, you can wiggle your way around with an ITX motherboard, since these are cheaper. All the while maintaining great features. This means you can fit the entire system comfortably within an ITX case.

 

  1. PCI-e 3.0

What PCIe Slots My Motherboards Have

If you just happened to buy a motherboard with PCI-e 4, then do not worry PCI-e 3.0 is a backward-compatible standard. This means you can easily slot in your 2080 ti into it while you wait for the insane GPU market to calm down.

 

ASUS Prime B550-PLUS  will meet all your needs. Furthermore, it has PCI-e gen 4.0, so when you upgrade you will not have to worry about bottlenecks or any other incompatibility issues. This is an ATX motherboard, necessitating the need for an ATX compatible case.

3. ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card

GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 Gaming Graphics Card

  1. 120W

Since this is a Graphics card from two generations ago, compatibility with all modern motherboards will not be an issue. Its 120W power limit means you can comfortably run your system with a 450W power supply.

  1. Single Slot

Single Slots

Due to the low power consumption, the coolers on these cards are not very beefy. This means the majority of the GTX 1660 only take up one PCI-e 3×16 slot, leaving you plenty of room to work with. ITX motherboards and cases can handle even two of these cards running together(if supported).

Since this card can also run comfortably in a PCI-e gen 3×16 slot, you can get by with something as simple as MSI Arsenal Gaming AMD B450 tomahawk  II. This motherboard will be compatible with graphics cards of the 16-series generation and older.


What we learned

  1. Modern day Graphics Cards prefer to run in motherboards that have PCI-e 4.0, you can run a brand new card with a previous generation motherboard, at the cost of performance
  2. If you are Making a PC for the first time, then it is recommended you get the largest size Motherboard (ATX) and its associated compatible case. This ensures you will have plenty of room to situate your Graphics card in the PCI-e 16x slot.
  3. Larger motherboards mean larger cases, which means you can have more fans in your system, allowing you to keep the temperatures of the graphics card to a minimum.
  4. Buy a good PowerSupply, preferably one that is gold-rated or higher. Modern-day Graphics card and CPU combos can easily overwhelm 500W power supplies, invest in at least a 750watt one or greater, it will last you for more than a few cycles of upgrades.

 

Just remember there is no rule of thumb for motherboards and graphics card compatibility. You have to look at what is available in the market and what completes your requirements. Remember several community forums have all the additional information you need. Happy hunting!

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