There are times when we’re building a PC from scratch or upgrading an old one, but we’re not sure whether the RAM we’ve bought is compatible with our motherboard or not? If our RAM is not compatible with the motherboard and we try still try to push it into our motherboard, then it may cause some serious damage to our overall PC build, or it might crash the system.
Therefore, before installing any component on your computer build, it’s really important to do your own research and make sure everything is compatible. There are many websites through which you can check the compatibility; some of these can include PC Builder and Build My PC. Once you know if you’ve compatible parts, you can easily avoid any potential issues down the road.
And in this post, we’ll be discussing RAM compatibility and how you can check whether or not your RAM is compatible with your motherboard. We will also cover some tips on how to avoid any issues in the future.
So, let’s get started…
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How to Check RAM Compatibility with Motherboard
When we’re building our PC, we can’t just go out and buy any random RAM stick off the shelf and expect it to work with our motherboard. Just like any other component in a computer, every RAM has a different set of specifications, and it needs to be compatible with the motherboard in order for it to work properly.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of motherboard you do have. To do this, you can either look at the manual that came with your motherboard, open your computer case, and check for the model number, or you can look up the model number using different methods we shared here. Once you know what kind of motherboard you have, you can start looking for compatible RAM.
And if you’re looking for compatible RAM, it’s important to pay attention to the following specs:
- Form Factor: Every motherboard has a specific form factor, and you need a RAM that matches the form factor of your motherboard. The most common form factors are DIMM and SO-DIMM. Mostly, SO-DIMM memory is used in laptops, and if we compare it with DIMM memory, they do have smaller sizes and take less space than DIMMs.
- Memory Type: It plays really important role in checking the compatibility of the RAM with the motherboard. And there are different types of memory available, such as DDR3, DDR4, etc. Make sure you’re buying the right type of memory for your motherboard.
- Memory Speed: Although memory speed is backward compatible, it’s still worth considering when purchasing new RAM for your PC build. We measure the speed of RAM in MHz, and even if you’re using RAM with a speed of 2933MHz on a motherboard that supports a maximum speed of 2666MHz, it’ll work. However, the speed of the RAM will be reduced to 2666MHz.
- Capacity: The RAM capacity is another thing you need to take into consideration. Higher RAM capacity will help you with multitasking and doing intensive work – but some motherboards limit the maximum capacity they support. This is mostly 32GB, but some high-end motherboards can support up to 64GB or more.
- Latency: The latency is the time delay between the time when the RAM receives a command and the time it takes to execute that command. Lower latency is always better.
These are some of the most important factors you need to consider when finding compatible RAM for your system. Once you’ve found a compatible RAM, you can then purchase it and install it in your system.
Now that we know the basics, let’s get started and share some ways through which you can easily find a compatible RAM for your motherboard.
Use PC Builder to Check RAM & Motherboard Compatibility
PC Builder is one of the most popular websites which is used by professionals for checking the compatibility of the PC parts, including CPU, RAM, and Motherboard. Using PC Builder is also very simple; you just need to head over to their website and click on the “System Builder” page.
Once you’re on their system builder page, you need to click on the “Motherboard” option from the list and then select the motherboard model you’ve.
After selecting the motherboard, you’ll see different components which are compatible with the motherboard you selected. Simply click on the “RAM” option from the list shown there, and you’ll be able to see all the RAMs that are compatible with the motherboard you selected.
Not just limited to the RAMs- but PC Builder also helps in checking the compatibility of different parts altogether. For example, you can check the compatibility of your overall PC build or specific parts (wherever you want).
Use Crucial’s System Scanner for Checking Compatibility
Crucial is one of the most popular and trusted memory manufacturers. They’ve built a very useful and handy software called ‘System Scanner’ which is designed to scan your system and find compatible upgrades for your parts, including RAM.
This software is really easy to use. Simply download and install it from the Crucial website. Once it’s installed, scan your system to find compatible upgrades.
After the scan is complete, you’ll be taken to the Crucial website, where they’ll show you the compatible RAM upgrades. But that’s not all, their software will also show how much RAM your system can support and what type of memory slots are available on your motherboard.
This is a handy tool for checking compatible upgrades – but the only downside of using this software is that you need to have a PC built first. You also can’t really depend on this software if you’re building a new PC from scratch. It also shows the compatibility of SSDs and HDDs with your system. So if you’re planning to upgrade your storage drives, you can use this tool to find compatible drives for your system.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Still have questions in your mind regarding RAM and Motherboard compatibility? Below, we’ve compiled a list of some frequently asked questions that might help you.
Q: What happens if I use incompatible RAM with my motherboard?
If you use an incompatible RAM with your motherboard, it might not work or might work at a slower speed than its rated speed. This totally depends on the motherboard and its compatibility with the RAM.
To prevent any issues like this, it’s always recommended that you check the compatibility of your RAM with the motherboard before making your purchase.
Q: How do I know which RAM is compatible with my motherboard?
Finding a compatible RAM for your motherboard is not that hard; you can use any of the methods we shared above to get yourself the best RAM. But we do highly recommend that you use websites like PC Builder or Crucial’s System Scanner software to find a compatible RAM for your motherboard.
And if you’re manually checking the compatibility, make sure to check the motherboard’s QVL (Quaified Vendor List) to see which RAMs are compatible with your motherboard.
Q: Which RAM do I need? DIMM or SO-DIMM?
DIMM 9Dual In-line Memory Module) RAMs are mainly used in desktop computers, while SO-DIMMs (Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module) is used in laptops and other small form-factor devices.
Therefore, if you’re thinking of upgrading your laptop’s RAM, make sure you get SO-DIMM RAM. And if you’re thinking of upgrading your desktop PC, then it’s DIMM RAM.
Q: Can I Install DDR3 RAM on a DDR4 Motherboard?
No, you can’t install DDR3 RAM on a motherboard having a DDR4 form factor, as these two aren’t compatible with each other.
It’s because DDR3 is an older generation memory while DDR4 is the latest one. So, make sure you get DDR4 RAM if you have got a motherboard with a DDR4 slot.
I know the process of finding compatible RAM for your motherboard might seem like a lot of work, and it can be hard to digest. But it’ll be a breeze once you get the hang of it. You just need to check your motherboard’s QVL or use any of the tools I mentioned above before purchasing RAM for your PC. They’ll help you make the most compatible decision.
And if you’ve still got questions regarding RAM and motherboard compatibility, feel free to ask them in the comments section below. We’ll be more than happy to help you out.
Happy PC Building 🙂