There's nothing worse than buying a new part, gleefully unboxing it and immediately discovering that it's not compatible with your system. It's a frustrating problem, but it can be hard to avoid if you're shopping online because there's no way to physically handle the product before ordering it. Amazon is reportedly testing a new "Part Finder" tool on some product pages to help its shoppers avoid these mistakes.
Tom's Hardware sister site PC Gamer first spotted the new Part Finder tool on the Amazon page for the Samsung 860 EVO SSD. It appears to do exactly what you'd expect--check the compatibility of a certain part with the rest of a system--but the utility is clearly in its early stages. Amazon hasn't made it available for every product, it only works with pre-built systems, and it doesn't quite nail its compatibility checks.
Those restrictions make sense for Amazon. This way the company only has to teach Part Finder about pre-built systems, which have clearly defined specs, instead of managing the chaos of custom builds. It's also reasonable to assume that most people who have built their own systems are also familiar with compatibility tools like PC Part Picker, or would know where to look to determine a part's compatibility with their system all on their own. Someone looking to upgrade a pre-built system, however, might appreciate a little extra help right from Amazon's storefront.
Some of the tool's blunders--such as its claim that an EVGA motherboard couldn't support a standard DDR4 memory kit--are harder to explain (it can). Maybe that only happened because Part Finder is new, but remember that this is a company trying to sell its facial recognition technology to law enforcement. A very different problem, sure, but it's harder to trust Amazon's tools when they get basic stuff like this wrong. Hopefully Amazon continues to work on Part Finder so it can truly make it easier for people to find the products they need. In the meantime, though, it's just okay.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.