How to Check for Compatible CPUs

by Alan Bradford

When building or upgrading your computer, the CPU you choose is arguably one of the most important decisions in determining the speed and power of your computer. The CPU and motherboard go hand-in-hand and must be compatible with each other. There are a variety of websites and tools available to help you determine what CPUs are compatible with the motherboard your computer uses. If you are building your own computer, you can select a compatible motherboard and CPU together at the same time.

Determine the manufacturer and model of your motherboard. You can check the support website of your computer manufacturer to see if they list the hardware component information. You can open your computer and read the label on the motherboard for model information. You can also download and install a system profile utility, such as Belarc Advisor, to determine the make and model.

Look up the model information on the motherboard manufacturer website. For example, if your computer uses an Asus P6X58D-E ATX motherboard, go to the Asus website and search for the model information in the product or support section.

Determine the socket information and maximum front side bus information for your motherboard. In this example, the Asus P6X58D-E ATX uses the socket 1366 standard and has a maximum FSB of 6400 MT/s. Other examples of socket types include 1156 or AM2.

Check the website to see if they show compatibility information with your motherboard. Many manufacturer websites provide a list of compatible CPUs for each motherboard they offer.

Search for CPUs with the same socket type as your motherboard. In this example, the Core i7 920, 930, 940, 950 and others are compatible with this motherboard.

Contact the manufacturer support staff if you are still uncertain of the compatibility of the CPU with your motherboard.

Tip

  • check FSB is sometimes indicated as QPI.

About the Author

Alan Bradford began his career as a technical writer and editor in 2000. He has worked in a variety of fields, including medical devices, military applications and PC/console game development. Bradford specializes in such topics as computers, PC gaming and family and spiritual life. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.

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  • photo_camera cpu 1 image by Robert Molnar from Fotolia.com