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Upgrading and Replacing Motherboards

When upgrading a motherboard or processor, several issues must be taken into account. The following list guides a technician through making the decision (or helping a customer make the decision) of whether to upgrade a motherboard


● Why is the computer being upgraded? For example, does the computer need more memory?
Are more expansion slots needed? Does the computer need a bigger/faster CPU to run certain operating systems or applications? Sometimes upgrading the motherboard does not help unless the other computer components are upgraded. The most expensive and fastest motherboard will not run applications well unless it has the proper amount of memory. Hard drives are another issue. If software access is slow, the solution might not be a new
motherboard, but a faster and larger hard drive, more cache memory, or more RAM.

● Which type (ISA, PCI, AGP, or PCIe) and how many adapters are needed from the old motherboard? Does the new motherboard have the required expansion slots?
● Could any devices, such as the hard drive or CD or DVD drive that currently require an adapter, plug directly into the upgraded motherboard? If so, it would free up expansion slots as well as speed up the devices.
● What type of chipsets does the new motherboard support? What features, if any, would this bring to the new motherboard?
● Will the new motherboard fit in the current computer case or is a new one required?
● If upgrading the CPU, will the motherboard support the new type of CPU?
● Does the motherboard allow for future CPU upgrades?
● How much memory (RAM) does the motherboard allow? What memory chips are required on the new motherboard? Will the old memory chips work in the new motherboard or with the new CPU?


Before replacing a motherboard, keep the following list in mind:

● Remove adapters from expansion slots
● Remove memory chips from expansion slots
● Disconnect power connectors
● Disconnect ribbon cables
● Disconnect external devices such as mouse, keyboard,and monitor


Replacement motherboards do not normally come with RAM, so the old ones are removed from the bad motherboard. The motherboard may or may not come with a CPU. Make note of the CPU orientation before
removing it from the motherboard. When installing the CPU into the replacement motherboard, refer to these
notes. Some retailers sell kits that include the computer case, power supply, motherboard, and CPU so that the components match, function together correctly, and are physically compatible

When upgrading any component or the entire computer, remember that the older part can be donated to a charity or educational institution. Something that is considered outdated by one person may be considered an upgrade to someone less fortunate. Educational institutions are always seeking components to use in the classroom

Motherboards contain most of the circuitry for a microcomputer and are very important to its operation. Technicians must keep current with the options, features, microprocessors, and chipsets. Most technicians subscribe to computer magazines to help them fulfill this responsibility.


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