QuestionPosted on {{'2017-05-18T19:23:55-07:00' | moment:'fromNow'}}

How do I know if parts are compatible?

Hello all. I am trying to build my own computer for the first time. I was wondering if I could get some help with knowing which parts to use. I have an i5 processor and a 960 video card but as far as anything else I have no clue what I need. Can you please help me? 

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Written on {{'2017-06-14T08:53:07-07:00' | moment:'fromNow'}}
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You're going to have to be more specific about parts you have before anyone can offer any compatibility advice. What model Intel Core i5? And I'm not familiar with any current video card with a model # of "960".
Written on {{'2017-05-19T02:08:32-07:00' | moment:'fromNow'}}
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You will need a chassis, mainboard, power cords, CPU, RAM, video card, monitor, keyboard, mouse, an Operating System, and a storage device.  These should be all the basic components you will need for a computer.  You will probably also want a sound card and network card if they are not included with the mainboard, but most mainboards should include these two items nowadays.
Written on {{'2017-05-19T08:40:46-07:00' | moment:'fromNow'}}
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  • Your case and motherboard need to be compatible form factors (e.g. ATX, Mini-ATX, etc)
  • Your CPU and your Motherboard need to be compatible CPU Socket Types (e.g. LGA1151 or AM4+)
  • Your RAM and your Motherboard need to be compatible types, typically DDR4 or DDR3 


Outside of that, most thins are pretty uniform today.  Almost all video cards are PCI Express 16.0x3 and virtually everyboard, especially if you're building new, will have a PCI Express 16.0.x3 slot.


From experience, I would forgo the sound card (though I'm not an audiophile) - I've purchased them in the past but I have found I couldn't tell the difference (and this was on a higher end hobbyiest model, not the type they use in recording studios).  And if you're wired, your motherboard should have a LAN slot already.  If you're going wireless, well... the only good wireless experience I've had so far is to buy a repeating router and then plug directly into that.  It's more expensive than a card, but the performance and relability is so much better.


As fro saying something like i5... it's pretty much meaningless for compatibility.  And i5 is akin to a medium level card for that release (i3 would be entry, i7 would be workhorse, and i5 is great for almost everyone).  But it doesn't tell you what socket type it fits.  And thus, doesn't tell you anything about the compatibility because you don't know the 'shape' of it.


pcpartpicker.com is okay for a very basic compatability check.  Some of the weirder stuff (like an older motherboard needing a BIOS update before a newer CPU can be put in) may or may not be caught be them.  But it should provide a decent baseline to start.

Written on {{'2017-05-19T10:20:44-07:00' | moment:'fromNow'}}
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Thank you both so much. 
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