Is it worth changing the motherboard

How to replace the motherboard

Friedrich Stiemer

Replacing the motherboard is quite complex and time-consuming - especially if you've never done it yourself before. In this tip we explain the hurdles you have to overcome when removing and installing the mainboard in an existing system.

EnlargeHow to replace the motherboard

Before starting the change, you should be sure that replacing the mainboard on your computer is really worthwhile. An exchange is inevitable when the board has given up its ghost. The reasons for a total failure are different: For example, a faulty BIOS update or a cheap power supply that is too weak can cause the circuit board to overheat and cannot be saved. Be sure to check other components such as memory and CPU. In the event that these work properly and only the mainboard should actually strike, there is no avoiding the change. When choosing the new motherboard, there are a few things to consider. In our example we limit ourselves to the mere replacement and not to the upgrade. The new model must have the same chipset and CPU socket as the old model. When it comes to the form factor, i.e. the length and width of the new board, it is best to stick to the old format. Exception: You know the maximum size of mainboard your case can accommodate. Details can be found in the manual or on the product page on the Internet. Typical formats here are ATX and Micro-ATX. The best thing to do is to research the name of the old motherboard to be sure what size it was.

EnlargeIf a mainboard change is due, this can take some time. This is not rocket science, but there are a few points to consider.

Which new mainboard model you then choose depends on a number of factors: In addition to the color of the model, the boards differ in terms of the connections and the design of the slots for expansion cards. If you haven't missed any connections on your old mainboard, choose an equivalent model. Conversely, if you have long thought that the old board offered too few interfaces or that certain ports were missing completely, you should opt for a suitably equipped mainboard with a greater variety of connections.

EnlargeYour PC case specifies the mainboard form factor. You are on the safe side if you stick to the format of the old board.

Once you have answered these questions, you can start removing the old board: In the first step, completely disconnect the PC from the mains and unplug all cables that are connected to the PC. Now unscrew the case wall so that you can access the inner workings of the computer.
Tip: Snap one or more photos before you start removing. This will make it easier for you to connect later. First, start by removing the large components such as the graphics card and other expansion cards. Now disconnect the data lines (SATA) that connect your hard drives, SSDs and any optical drives to the system. Then unplug all power connections that come directly from the power supply unit. This usually includes a 24-pin ATX connector as well as a 6- or 8-pin CPU connector. When unplugging, please remember to press the clamp on the side and only then pull it. Finally, it is the turn of the thin connections and cables that come directly from the housing - for example the cable that is connected to the power button or the USB and audio connections on the front.

EnlargeAfter inserting the new board, screw it in first. To do this, take either the screws from the case manufacturer or the motherboard manufacturer.

In the next step, take a Phillips screwdriver and loosen the screws that connect the mainboard to the case. Take out the motherboard. Next, dismantle the CPU cooler, the RAM and the processor. Also remove the old thermal paste from the bottom of the cooler as well as from the processor itself. And don't forget: The connection panel cover in the back of the housing must also give way. There is now space for the installation of the new mainboard. This is installed in reverse order. Don't forget to add new thermal paste for the CPU! Now carefully check that all cables and connections are correctly and firmly seated, and then replace the housing wall. If you are unsure, refer to the motherboard manual. Then reconnect all external cables to the computer. When the PC is back on the power grid, the moment of truth has come. To do this, press the power button. When the computer starts up, you may have to switch to the BIOS first. If you want to continue the boot process without making any changes, simply exit the BIOS again. In some cases it can also happen that the PC starts from the wrong hard disk if you have installed several. To fix the problem, change the boot order in the BIOS by putting the system partition first.

Tip: Do you want to replace parts of your computer or upgrade your PC? With our tips you can avoid serious mistakes and the damage they cause to your PC.