What a handy invention PCPartPicker is. A fairly complex yet easy to use tool for PC enthusiasts which helps you more easily check compatibility between your parts and view other people’s completed systems among other things. But just how reliable is PCPartPicker and how accurate are its compatibility checks?
Can you, and should you, rely solely on PCPartPicker to automatically and instantly check compatibility between all of your parts? Does it account for every possible compatibility issue out there? What about space and size restrictions, such as parts getting in the way of other parts in your rig? What about RAM compatibility and the QVL?
These types of questions are quite common if you’ve only just stumbled upon PCPartPicker (or even if you’ve been using it for a while). It’s a handy tool that allows you to enter the parts you’re thinking of buying for a new custom PC build, and have it automatically check whether they’re all compatible with one another. But you may wonder how an automatic tool like this can possibly check for compatibility between every single possible type of hardware configuration out there. Is it too good to be true?
If you’re the perfectionist type who cares about all the little technical details (many PC builders are, and sometimes you indeed have to be), and/or if you just want to be extra safe when planning your build using their tool (especially if it’s a more complex build), let’s break down all of the above questions and more. Consider this an unofficial FAQ to PCPartPicker from a fan, with the most common questions answered all in the one place (instead of randomly scattered around the web).
This is my collection of findings based on both my own experience using the tool, and the collective experiences of many other builders, however don’t take this analysis/critique of the limitations of the PCPartPicker compatibility tool the wrong way. We’re in no way, shape or form trying to nitpick them or downplay the substantial value they’ve brought to PC builders over the years, and we’re simply objectively pointing out things that are good to know as a beginner when using the tool, including any nuances and potential compatibility issues to be aware of so that you can better understand what it does and doesn’t do for you.
How Reliable is the PCPartPicker Compatibility Checker?
In a nutshell, PCPartPicker is indeed reliable and accurate the majority of the time for most hardware configurations. They’ve done a great job and it’s the best hardware compatibility checker out there.
But is it pure perfection that checks for every single possible compatibility issue out there? I think you already know the answer, but let’s be real here: few things on this Earth come close to perfection besides heaven-sent history-making hits like HL1, GE007, OOT and MGS1.
As accurate as PCPartPicker typically is, if you want to be 100% sure you completely avoid any potential compatibility issues whatsoever when planning your custom PC, it’s probably best that you double check things yourself and not blindly rely on any one single source no matter whether that’s PCPartPicker, our own custom gaming builds, some random dude’s build on Reddit, and so on.
As a beginner, if you don’t know how to check for compatibility yourself, you should take the time to learn and understand the basics so that you’re never at the mercy of any tool, and to be a more informed builder to avoid problems now and with all your future upgrades.
For all the builds we carefully plan and publish here at BGC, we like using PCPartPicker from time to time, but we also always do our own compatibility checks just to be sure because you just never know. Plus, the truth is there are indeed some things the PCPartPicker compatibility checker cannot possibly account for (at least not for now), so it might not just be a good idea to do your own checks but a necessity to avoid all potential issues.
Let’s look at the compatibility checks that the PCPartPicker tool might miss, and what to do about it. Not everyone will need to worry about these potential problems, especially if your build is simple, but for some builds these issues may be important.