Help with motherboard, CPU and RAM compatibility

By HalcyonAether
Mar 25, 2008
  1. Hey everyone,

    I'm relatively new to building computers, and it seems that I've run into confusion as to how compatibility between the CPU, motherboard, and RAM work.

    So for example, would everything here, at the specified clock speeds (and etc.) function properly together?

    XFX MG-630i-7109 LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 7100 / nForce 630i HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 Allendale 2.4GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

    Crucial Ballistix 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Desktop Memory - Retail

    So would all of you say those are all compatible together? For future reference, is there an easy way of telling by looking at the specs?

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. Sorry about not being able to post links. (still new here.)
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Everything is compatible in the sense that it should work when you assemble it, however, the MG-630i-7109 supports a maximum of DDR2 800MHz RAM and the E4600 supports a maximum stock FSB of 800MHz so there isn't really any reason to buy RAM rated for 1066MHz. It will work, but only because the RAM will be underclocked to 800MHz.

    Generally, everything is fairly easy to compare overall because there are strict form factor and interface standards. The untrained eye can pretty much pick components and have a successful build, but it doesn't mean they've built the best PC possible for the price. For instance, your situation would of resulted in a successful build (likely, I can't comment on components you haven't listed), however, you probably would of wasted a couple of bucks on RAM rated for speeds you can't even take advantage of with that motherboard/CPU.

    What is your budget and the rest of your system's hardware specifications? What are you looking to get out of this build/upgrade?

    If I'm starting from the top I'll get a rough idea as to what I want for a motherboard/chipset and then I work from there. The motherboard and chipset you choose basically dictates the rest of the build; You will have to buy a CPU/RAM/VPU that is compatible with the board's interfaces and bus speeds. Optical and storage drives are to be purchased around the available onboard host adapters, unless you want to buy an expansion card with additional host adapters. Assuming you want to take advantage of the drives maximum transfer speeds, that needs to be supported by the motherboard/chipset (though, ATA/SATA speeds are backward compatible). The PSU's form factor will be directly influenced by the motherboard's form factor and it's rated output indirectly influenced by the motherboard through the components that the motherboard directly dictates :). The case obviously has to support the motherboard's form factor and it has to have sufficient space and heat dissipation to house the rest of the system.

    If you aren't starting from scratch, you'll obviously have to upgrade within the capabilities of the rest of your PC. Figure out what kind of an upgrade you need or want and take things from there. If your PC is pretty old (4-5 years) it's probably a good idea to do an entire cost benefit analysis and decide whether it's actually worth upgrading over just buying an entirely new PC.
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