The motherboard is considered as the heart of a computer system. It is also the most important component of a computer. Almost all other components in the system are connected with each other through the motherboard. There a are many reasons behind upgrading a motherboard. But upgrading a motherboard is not a quite easy task as upgrading other components of a computer. This article is the answer to that question.
What is a Motherboard?
A motherboard is also known as the mainboard, system board or baseboard which is found in computers and other digital systems. It is sometimes called the mother of a system. In your computer, all other components like Ram, processor, Hard Drive, power supply etcetera are connected to the motherboard. Through this component, all other components of a computer communicate with each other as they are connected to the motherboard.
The power supply of a computer is connected to the motherboard. The motherboard gives necessary power to other components. That means the motherboard acts as a heart like a heart in a living body. So, upgrading a motherboard is quite complex compared to other components.
Why Would You Upgrade a Motherboard
There are many reasons behind upgrading or replacing a motherboard. Sometimes, motherboard fails like other components of a computer. Bad BIOS flashes and bad power supplies, overheating, short circuits can damage the motherboard. If that happens, you have to upgrade or replace your motherboard. Or sometimes, you may buy a new powerful CPU, RAM or graphics card for purposes like gaming, graphics design etcetera which may not be compatible with your motherboard. Then you must upgrade to a more powerful and compatible motherboard.
Things to Remember Before Upgrading Your Motherboard
- Replacing a motherboard is a time-consuming process compared to replacing other components of a computer.
- You cannot just buy a motherboard and replace it. It has to be compatible with other components.
- The power supply needs to be powerful enough to supply the necessary
- You may need to change the case of your computer because of size issue of a motherboard.
- Though a regular motherboard doesn’t cost enough, a powerful motherboard can cost much compared to other components.
Keep these in mind. If you don’t find any problem with these issues, then you don’t need to be worried. Just go through the next sections.
Choose the Right Motherboard for Your Computer
To choose the right motherboard for you, you have to follow the next section.
Check Compatibility with the Old Components
CPU Compatibility: Many manufacturers manufacture motherboard. But, there are only two CPU vendors. You cannot upgrade to any motherboard because the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the motherboard need to be compatible with each other. Check your CPU. Most probably, it would be from either Intel or AMD.
Now, you have to choose a motherboard that is compatible with your CPU. Both companies manufacture different processor sockets for their chips. Just do some google search for your CPU’s socket type and then, choose a compatible motherboard.
- Power Supply Compatibility: Older motherboards generally require a 20-Pin main power cable from the power But, recent motherboards generally require a 24-Pin main power cable from the power supply. Check your power supply. If you have an older power supply, then you need to upgrade to a new one.
- Optical and Hard Drive compatibility: Your optical and hard drive may be connected via IDE (generally ribbon cable) or thinner SATA (newer connector). Older motherboards used to have two IDE ports where many newer motherboards have only one IDE port. So, if you have two or more than two IDE drives, then you have to buy a compatible motherboard for that.
- Computer Case compatibility: Now, you have a list of motherboards that are compatible with your other PC components. Now, you have to think about the board size. Most of the PC cases are designed for ATX form factor motherboards. But some cases can fit smaller mATX motherboards and some can fit smallest ITX motherboards. You have to limit your searches to only motherboards that are compatible with your computer’s case. Or you can replace your computer case with a suitable one.
- Choose the right brand: It’s time for choosing the right brand for your motherboard. You will not find many differences in performance, power consumptions etcetera between same priced motherboards from different vendors.
They generally differ in colors, input/output capabilities and expansion slot layouts.
Picking the right color for your motherboard is fully your choice. But make sure that your motherboard has enough number of USB, Ethernet and other ports that you expect. You should choose a motherboard with an expansion slot layout to install any graphics card or other cards.
- Price: Price of the motherboard vary from performances like other components. You can buy a motherboard by costing just $70-$80. But you cannot expect a better performance from that. If you want a meaningfully better performance, you have to cost at least $200-$250. To get the best performance, you may cost up to thousand dollars. So, you see, it depends on your budget and expectation.
How to Replace the Old Motherboard with a New One
After choosing the motherboard, it’s now time to replace the older motherboard with the new one. Follow this section if you don’t have enough technical knowledge of computer hardware installation.
Remove other components and cable from the old motherboard: You can do this in two ways: 1. You can keep your existing operating system or 2. You can wipe your boot drive and start from the scratch. If you want to do the second thing, keep your operating system in hand so that, you don’t have to wait for the OS (operating system) after installing the new motherboard.
After opening the case, you will find a lot of cables inside your PC. Take photos of the rear panel and interior so that, you can reconnect all the cables without any tension. Now, start removing cards like RAM, CPU, GPU etcetera from the motherboard without any hesitation. Remove the screws by which the motherboard is connected to the case. Keep them in a secured place. Detach all the cables and wires which are connecting the motherboard to the power supply, case’s front panel, hard drives, fans etcetera.
Replace The Old Motherboard With The New
After removing all the screws, you can easily lift out your motherboard. Keep your old motherboard in the bag of the new one. Now, pop out the input/output panel that is attached to the case. Your new motherboard has its own i/o panel. Now, insert the new i/o panel. It’s time to install the new motherboard. It’s efficient to install the processor (it’s cooling fan too), and the RAM before installing the motherboard.
RAM is easier than the processor to install. There are more than one slots for RAM in a motherboard. Install your RAM to one of the slots. Install your processor to the new motherboard as it was installed on the old motherboard. Don’t orient the processor incorrectly. Now, attach the processor cooling fan to the board. Plug in the fan’s power cable to the board.
Attach Components to the New Motherboard
It’s time to reconnect all the components that were disconnected in step 2. Put all the expansion cards into their appropriate slots. Connect all the cables following the photos you took. If you face any problem in reconnecting them, watch the manual and the diagram. You should take extra care of the USB and FireWire cables because there is a chance of mixing these up.
Front panel connectors are too complex. You should be very sincere about this. To get the power/reset switches and activity lights to work, the connectors have to be matched up with proper pins. You will find the proper layout in the motherboard manual.
After doing all the things, it’s time to close the case. Now, re-attach the rear-panel cables and turn on the computer. It should boot if all the procedures were correct. You will see your new motherboard’s flash screen. Now, enter the BIOS and check the drive and RAM configuration to know that everything is recognized. Now, set the boot-device priority, and enable USB or PCI Express support (if your board requires).
Assume that you aren’t re-installing Windows. Boot for the first time. Windows will require drivers for the motherboard. Most of the things will do automatically. There is a CD that came with your motherboard. You might need it. If you want to re-install the Windows, follow the instruction that you used to follow.
Note: Never force anything. Because forcing any electronic component may damage the component. Keep it in mind if you don’t want to damage any component.
1. Is installing a new Windows required if I install a new motherboard?
Ans: No. But you should install the updated Windows.
2. If I install a new motherboard, will all of my files be deleted?
Ans: No. If you install a new motherboard, no harm will be done to your files. But if you re-install Windows, you must do a backup of your files.
3. Does the new motherboard need to be compatible with other components of your PC?
Ans: Yes. Your new motherboard needs to be compatible with your CPU. See the section named “Check compatibility with the old components” to get your answer.
The motherboard is the main board of your PC by which all other components of your PC are connected to each other and perform as a computer. Sometimes, your motherboard may fail to perform or you may want to upgrade a PC component which is not compatible with your motherboard. Then you need to upgrade to a new motherboard. But how to upgrade motherboard? After reading the whole article, now you know how to upgrade the motherboard.