The motherboard is practically the life of your PC.
It is the hub that holds all connections together, hence the name. It is arguably the quintessential component of the CPU.
The motherboard receives all input from the user and delegates various tasks to different parts of the machine.
However, there may be times when your motherboard is malfunctioning.
You will see the symptoms of this problem very clearly – booting issues, sudden reboots, continuous crashes, and tons of error messages. If you have experienced any of the above scenarios, the epicenter might be your motherboard.
Even PC nerds and experts are afraid to tap into motherboard problems and look to replace the gadget itself.
However, we are here to discuss some fixable issues that might arise in your motherboard. We will also tell you when you should replace the board and get a brand new one. Let’s dive in.
Motherboard woes, problems, and troubleshooting
The most common reason your motherboard might malfunction is that it is not receiving enough power to function.
Like any other device or gadget, the motherboard also needs adequate power to operate.
Since the board handles everything, including booting the PC, your machine might refuse to start up if the motherboard isn’t getting enough power to work.
Every motherboard has two power points or connections – a primary 20-24 pin connection and a subordinate 4-8 pin one.
The processor socket hides away the subordinate power connection.
Users who are facing motherboard issues should start by checking if both power connections are plugged in correctly. If you are unsure about their fitting, you can always unplug and plug them in again.
That is the fundamental “turn it off and reboot it” method in action for the motherboard. It would be best to match both power plugs with the proper power cables, or your PC will continue having problems.
If you install a new motherboard and face the issues mentioned earlier, replugging the power connections will solve most of your problems. A safe bet when your PC shows motherboard issues is to run a quick diagnostics check.
Most hardware companies allow users to run a troubleshooting check with ease.
You can also run through your utilities. For example, Intel will allow you to do a processor check using its diagnostic tools, so you can run that program to get apparent oversight.
Components installed wrongly
Every computer runs a POST testing mechanism when it boots.
However, if certain specific components of your CPU have not been installed correctly, the PC cannot run fundamental processes, including the POST mechanism. That is a crucial issue in the motherboard.
Since multiple gadgets are nestled close to the motherboard, you must fit them correctly in place.
The slightest of missteps would render your motherboard unable to function.
Therefore, hardware components like the RAM, video card, or even the processor need to be placed, installed, and connected correctly to get maximum use out of your PC.
The video or graphics card, often touted as the GPU, is a vital facet of the BIOS (Basic Input Output System).
Therefore, it would be best for you to ensure that the card has taken its place firmly in the PCI-Express slot. You might want to give it a firm downward push to be sure.
In addition to the GPU, you need to ensure that the RAM is seated in its place.
The RAM has two plastic wings in its hardware structure. If either of these wings is askew, your motherboard will start showing symptoms of malfunction.
As for installing processors correctly, you need to make sure that they are sitting flat on the proper socket, line up with pins and slots on the motherboard. Moreover, since processors heat up fast, their heatsink must also be appropriately attached.
Short circuits are a common occurrence in anything electronic.
The biggest of capacitors and the smallest of transistors are prone to short circuits. Therefore, following Murphy’s Law diligently, anything that has circuitry has the potential to be diagnosed with a short circuit.
Motherboards are no exception. They have multiple capacitors and soldered connections that move data and power from one end of the board to another.
As a result, if the motherboard makes contact with any other metallic object, it is bound to a short circuit.
Shorting in the motherboard will cause its capacitors to break, bulge, or even leak inside the CPU.
You will need a professional soldering job to mend them after a short circuit.
If you have an intuition that your capacitors have shorted, the only solution is to check the CPU for signs of damage physically.
Only in a thorough inspection will you find the correct diagnosis.
For example, if the contact between the motherboard and other components is not prolonged, your PC might boot normally but will function erratically later.
Faulty power button connection
If you have booting problems with your machine, this is an easy-to-miss cause.
The power button on your computer is connected to the motherboard by a two-point wire. If that connection has been damaged in any way, your PC will not start.
A faulty power button connection is a straightforward issue to understand.
The button sends a signal to the motherboard, asking it to start the PC. However, since the link is faulty, the motherboard never receives the signal, and your machine never starts up.
The most common cause of connection malfunction, in this case, is bent or broken pins.
The two-point wire that connects the motherboard to the power button has two pins. The slightest of bends in these pins can prevent your PC from booting.
Can a motherboard be repaired? How?
As we listed above, motherboards may face significant issues that could be damaging to your PC. However, most of these problems are fixable.
It is possible to repair the board manually and get it working.
The tricky part of fixing a motherboard is that you need to take apart your PC bit by bit and build it again once you’re done repairing it.
A professional or a highly knowledgeable computer nerd is your best bet if the motherboard loses its functions.
While it isn’t impossible for any layperson to nurse it back to health, one wrong step can enable the problem to trickle down to various other components of the PC.
Thus, precise isolation of the situation by a carefully done elimination process is the only way forward if your motherboard starts huffing and puffing.
Additionally, motherboards are fragile. A whiff of air is enough to render the device useless.
Also, electricity fluctuations, dirt, dust, hair, etc., are all the motherboard’s nemesis. Therefore, delicate objects like motherboards need to be handled with utmost care.
Replacing a motherboard
We pray that you never have to replace your motherboard because it is a daunting task. It is unequivocally a transplant for your computer.
Since the rules of a medical transplant are applicable here, you cannot fit any random store-bought motherboard into your computer.
It is crucial to check if the new board is compatible with your system.
We suggest that you consult an expert regarding changing your motherboard.
Thankfully, not all motherboard malfunctions result in replacing the board.
The most common issues with motherboards are that of foreign particles. Accumulation of dust or dirt may cause the board to lose function.
Also, loose or faulty connections on the motherboard are another common evil.
You can resolve both these issues without changing the motherboard. Only in severe cases where the board has been physically damaged will you have to get it replaced.
If, in certain situations, you find that your motherboard has gone beyond repair, you have the option of replacing it or buying a new PC entirely.
In such cases, you can compare the financial costs of each maneuver and decide accordingly. If you’re comfortable with the machine you already own and can afford a new motherboard (they’re a tad bit expensive, mind you), get it, partner.
However, if you want to move to a new machine, that is also a commonly used solution.
Your motherboard runs the PC. It is the literal brain of your computer, taking in commands and making sure that the finished product is offered to the user correctly. However, it is a very delicate object carefully embedded in the CPU.
Therefore, it is also prone to a lot of problems.
Sadly, problems with your motherboard can transform your PC into junk.
The machine would not boot because the motherboard would not work. Faulty circuitry or wiring, short circuits, misplaced components, etc., can reduce motherboard functionality.
You don’t have to change the motherboard any time there is a significant issue.
You can start by running a diagnostics check and begin isolating the problem. Most motherboard issues are easily fixable. Carefully cleaning your CPU would solve some motherboard issues.
However, if you notice some serious problems, it is best to consult experts.
They can guide you about replacing or repairing your motherboard. They can also tell you whether you need to buy a new PC or not. Till then, make sure you keep the motherboard clean and its components in the right place.
Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built GadgetGangster.com as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of GadgetGangster.com master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.