How Do I Know If A CPU Is Compatible With My Motherboard?

by Sachin

Whether you plan on upgrading your current system or plan on creating a new custom PC, the careful integration of your CPU and motherboard matters a lot. Critical elements such as clock speed & core count have the capability to bring in major differences. Proper compatibility of CPU & motherboard ensures that your system caters top-notch performance, snappier system, faster completion of tasks, and smoother gameplay.

So, if you have plans to sync in the best gaming motherboard for i7 8700k, you need to keep in mind critical aspects to ensure smooth gameplay and top-notch functionality. But, before we do so, let us first understand what these two parts are in any computer system.

What is a motherboard?

In essence, a motherboard can be described as the PCB or Printed Circuit Board which works as the backbone that allows multiple components in the computer to communicate with one another. It connects parts such as GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), CPU (Central Processing Unit), storage, and memory.

What is the CPU?

Generally referred to as the brain of your entire computer system, the CPU or Central Processing Unit handles all the instructions coming in from the software or hardware running in the computer and decode them accordingly. The prime function of the CPU is to acquire input from peripheral or computer programs while interpreting its exact needs.

Factors that determine proper sync of Motherboard with CPU

1-Processor Support:

A motherboard houses sockets inside it for placement of the processor. The type of socket present in your motherboard will determine if it can pack-in the Intel Processor or AMD Processor. Apart from this, the chipset in the motherboard will help determine specific models for the processor. In order to get the right motherboard, you need to determine the usability of your system and hence decide the processor to be used with the same.

2-Motherboard Form Factor or Size:

If you are in need of a computer system that puts together ample performance and features, you have to look into the size of the motherboard. Typically, any motherboard comes in three different size variants which include micro-ATX (mATX), ATX, as well as mini-ITX.

Each one is defined by its specific dimensions on the circuit board. The actual size of the motherboard will decide the total number of slots and onboard ports that can be integrated into the system. For example, the ATX board can feature a total of 5 PCI-Express or the PCI slots. On the other hand, mATX board can house a total of 3 slots. However, the mini-ITX board can only house one slot.


As explained above, a chipset tends to play a direct role when it comes to selecting the right processor to be used in sync with the motherboard. This particular chipset also suggests the speed and type of memory to be installed. The size of the motherboard and memory slots in the same will help determine total memory count that can easily be installed. So, consider this factor to ensure that you have maximum memory availability and more scope to add in later as well.

4-Expansion Connectors and Slots:

The type and number of connectors and expansion slots are critical when it comes to proper sync between the motherboard and the CPU. If you are in need of peripherals that require specific slot type or connectors like eSATA, USB 3.0, HDMI, Thunderbolt, or the PCI-Express, you have to make sure that the motherboard you get, supports these connection variants. You can always get the expansion card, but things tend to perform better with motherboard chipset integration.


Features are something that works as extra add-ons to your motherboard. They aren’t exclusively required for your operation, but it is useful to have them integrated into your system. These can include things like audio controller, onboard wireless controller, or the RAID controller. If your motherboard houses feature that isn’t required, you can always turn them off when not in need. This can save you a lot of money when you do not have to use the add-on expansion cards.


If you have plans to overclock your processor, the first thing you need to do is assure that it is supported by your motherboard. For example, the chipset needs to support the adjustment for voltages and CPU multipliers which isn’t allowed in some chipsets. Apart from that, the motherboard that provides improved solid capacities and power management can render better stability. Lastly, the concept of overclocking can lead to stress in the components. This means any add-on element for heat dissipation can be particularly beneficial for smooth functioning of the CPU and Motherboard.


Apart from these crucial elements, the manufacturer or maker of your motherboard and its components can also play a deciding role in how smooth the system owned by you functions as a whole. While some companies are aimed at gaming tech, others are aimed at graphics and other functionalities. So make sure you keep in mind all these factors and plan your motherboard accordingly.

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