Computer problems. We’ve all been there. Some more than others, and my brother seems to get the short end of that stick. A few weeks back, he stated he was having issues with the video not displaying on the monitor. Of course right at the end of classes, which is always helpful. At any rate, I helped as much as I could with over the phone testing, but it was so intermittent. It might work for a few hours and then not again for a day or two. I decided once he got home, since I had the tools, I’d opt for a motherboard replacement; one that I had laying around, to see if we could further troubleshoot the issue.

Preparation

Before you can remove a motherboard, it is important that you obtain a manual for the motherboard you are putting into the existing case. The reasoning behind this is you don’t want to get to a point where you now have to resort to finding the information on the board after you have everything apart. The front panel connectors are sometimes different depending on the case, especially if there are front USB and/or audio connections. If you have some canned air this is the time to use that, as you can keep the new board clean when you put it into the dirty case.

Also, it is good to verify that the new case has an appropriate PSU. If you don’t have the right power connectors, you could run into trouble as well. You should be looking for the board’s power connectors, more specifically the 20/24 pin power connector. The new motherboards are using the 24 pin, while most older PSU’s use a 20 pin connector. Some boards can run on the 20 pin, but some cannot. It is something to read up on if you have differing power connectors.

Please also obtain a static strap while doing work on your PC. It only takes a bit more time to deal with, but it’s for the PC’s safety and your stress level!

Removing The Motherboard

This is the fun part in my eyes. I’ve taken a photo of the motherboard I removed with some arrows pointing to important portions of the board on removal. The board I’m showing is an mATX board. This designates that it uses the ATX mounting holes, but the board itself is physically smaller. The orange arrows designate the screws that you will need to remove on the mATX motherboard I’m dealing with, which is made by MSI.

Motherboard connector locations

The green arrows designate connectors that you will need to verify exist on the new board you are putting in, and where they will need to be connected. There are no specific rules on where manufacturers need to place connectors, so the cables may not reach any longer on the new board.

Power Up

This is the crucial part. This is where you find out if all your work comes to fruition. After all of the connector labeling and the picture taking, pressing the power button is what makes or breaks you. If you put a motherboard in with a processor already attached, as I did in my example, you won’t need to re-seat the processor. You do need to make sure the RAM has been re-seated and is secure in the slot. Verify the power switch on the PSU is now in the on position, and press the power button on the front of the case. If you don’t get anything, verify the front panel connectors are correctly configured.

Once you get video, and can get to the BIOS, the rest is gravy. Its all software, and setting up your PC again. We’ll leave that for another time! I hope this helped you get over some fears of opening your case and getting your hands dirty. More experience is the best teacher.

In the end, the issue with this board you can probably see in the image I’ve provided already, but in case you haven’t seen it, the image is below.

Motherboard burnt

As far as I can tell, it’s a component having to deal with the USB controller. It got a little toasty it seems, and was causing some intermittent issues. A new board will get it solved. Now to re-install the OS!

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.