What is the function of a Motherboard?
So, you’re slowly making your way into the world of machines and computing and you keep hearing the word “motherboard”. Just like our mothers play a critical role in our growth and development as humans, the motherboard is the spine of your computer.
However, the question that comes to mind is what does a motherboard do? Can you replace it yourself?
Today, we are going to try and treat all the curiosity that lies in your mind regarding motherboards.
How does a Motherboard Function?
The dictionary defines the motherboard as a piece of hardware which is the primary source of circuitry that all of the other pieces plug into to create a cohesive unit.
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It is the spine that connects the computer’s components at one spot and allows them to communicate with each other. Making use of a motherboard helps to make use of all basic computer components such as the CPU, GPU, or hard drive in an organized and convenient way. Total motherboard functionality is obligatory for a computer to run.
Common Parts of the Motherboard:
While you don’t need to take a sneak peek inside your rig to understand all the basic parts of a motherboard, familiarizing yourself with the basics never hurts. At first glance, it will seem like a piece of flat cardboard or plastic with lots of metal lines, wire slots, and circuits on it.
Among the main parts of the motherboard, you will notice power and data connectors, capacitors, heat sinks, and fans. You may also notice that the board is properly attached to the computer case with screws or anchors. Look for expansion slots that may be present for adding on other components later as well.
The pieces that plug into it, either with wires or directly, are often called motherboard components. These include the likes of optical storage drives, such as DVD and CD-ROM, Video Cards and GPUs, Sound cards, Hard drives (SSD or HDD), Processors (CPU), Memory Cards (RAM).
How To Tell If Your Motherboard is Dead?
As is the case with most tech, motherboards can at some stage become defunct or unusable. There are many symptoms of a failing motherboard and the most common ones include:
- Peripherals that fail or take a long time to start up
- Computer powering off unexpectedly
- The computer not turning on at all
- Burning or chemical smell coming from your computer
Experts recommend troubleshooting each solution one after the other before concluding as to what is wrong with your motherboard. Sometimes, none of these symptoms would show and your board would still not be functioning. In such cases, there could be other common issues such as a bug in the BIOS. Flashing the BIOS could solve the problem and save you the expensive replacement ahead.
A loose connection or failing power supply is more common than a failing motherboard. Sometimes, this issue leads to people wrongly assuming that there’s a fault with their entire motherboard while just replacing the PSU would work.
How to replace a motherboard?
If you have made up your mind about getting a new motherboard, the question that comes to mind is how do you replace the current one?
You need to know the board’s make and model, alongside compatible replacement models before you go about the replacement process. Motherboards can be extremely tough to replace in the case of laptops because they are not as easy to open as Desktop systems.
That being said, replacing the motherboard isn’t always just about replacing the board itself? Confused? Well, in easy words, some processors and graphics cards are compatible only with certain boards. Hence, you need to do your research on what and what not does your new board run.
This replacement is generally easier to do on desktop computers, but anyone uncertain about the exact replacement instructions for their particular model may be better served to leave the job to a professional.
In any case, knowing how to find motherboard model information can be helpful for you and your computer pro. You can get this information by checking your computer’s documentation, or if you can log onto your PC, run a command prompt to find it.
To do this, carry out the process explained below:
- Load up the command prompt in Windows by pressing the Windows+R keys or search for “cmd” in the search box and open it up.
- When the command prompt box opens, type in the following: “wmic baseboard get a product, Manufacturer, version, serial number”
- Write down the information or take a screenshot, which should include the serial number as one of the last bits of info on the new line that comes up
You now have the correct information for making purchase decisions for any component that needs to be compatible with your motherboard, as well as replacing your motherboard itself with the same model.
In terms of longevity, most motherboards are the toughest parts of a computer system. While there’s isn’t any definite way to actively care for your motherboard, opening up your rig every once in a while and soft-cleaning it with a cloth never hurts.
Be mindful of the things mentioned below as they could prematurely damage your motherboard and reduce its life-span.
- High heat, usually due to inadequate cooling systems and fans
- Damage from impact, such as dropping your laptop
- Electrical damage, from spills or using incorrect power accessories
- Faulty connections or connector types
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