Anyone with a basic understanding of how they work should be able to diagnose and repair basic motherboard-related faults on a PC. By Bryan Betts. Identify the types of motherboards. – Explain chipset varieties. – Upgrade and install motherboards. – Troubleshoot motherboard problems. How Motherboards . Interactive flowchart for troubleshooting motherboard, memory and CPU related problems.
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Troubleshooting a motherboard works hand in hand with troubleshooting the A motherboard is the most complicated component in a computer. When you put. Also, technical guide is suggested for troubleshooting of VRM circuit faults and its remedies. KEY WORDS: Computer, Motherboard, CPU, VRM Circuit, SMPS. Mar 10, Motherboard Troubleshooting. Common symptoms of motherboard issues are similar to CPU problems: The system does not display anything;.
The storage is your RAM and your hard drive s — where you put your information. So where does the motherboard fit into this system? The memory is generally placed directly on the motherboard; the hard drive is probably in its own area, but it connects to a hard drive controller which is located, you guessed it, on the motherboard. The keyboard and the USB slots are wired right into the motherboard. The video card plugs into the motherboard, usually with its own bus.
Make sure that the processor surface is clean before you install the CPU cooler, use the right amount of a good thermal compound, and make sure that the heatsink is clamped tightly against the processor. Install supplemental case fans. In particular, if you've upgraded the processor or installed a high-performance video adapter, it's possible that you've added more heat load than the case was designed to handle.
Adding a supplemental fan, or replacing an existing fan with one that provides higher air flow, can reduce interior case temperatures dramatically, which in turn reduces processor temperature. Measure the ambient room temperature first. Then put the thermometer close to the outputs of the power supply fan and the supplemental case fan s. If the temperature difference is 5 C 9 F or less, adding or upgrading fans probably won't help.
Upgrade the case. In most systems, the processor is the major heat source. A TAC Thermally Advantaged Chassis case provides a duct and sometimes a dedicated fan to route waste CPU heat directly to the outside of the case, rather than exhausting it inside the case.
To do so, simply use a 2' to 3' hole saw to cut a hole in the case side panel directly over the CPU.
Make a duct of the appropriate length using cardboard or plastic tubing, and secure the duct to the case with screws or adhesive. If you want to be fancy, you can install a standard case fan between the interior panel wall and the duct.
Position the system properly. As amazing as it sounds, changing the position of the case by only a few inches, and in some pretty non-obvious ways, can make a major difference in system and processor temperature. For example, Robert's main office system sits on the floor next to his desk, directly in front of a heating vent.
During the summer, when the air conditioning is running, that processor routinely operates 5 C cooler than during the winter months, when Robert closes the vent to prevent hot air from blowing on the system. That might seem reasonable, until you realize that the cool air from the vent is blowing on the back of the system, which has only exhaust fans. The ambient room temperature is actually lower during winter months and the ambient air is what's being drawn into the system so we'd have expected the system temperature also to be lower in winter.
That's easy to say, but it ignores the fact that accepting default settings for obscure options can result in a PC that performs significantly below its potential. PC and motherboard manufacturers differ in how "aggressive" they are in choosing default settings, particularly those for such things as memory timing. Those that tend toward slower, more conservative default settings say, with some justification, that they cannot predict what components particularly what speed and quality of memory a user will install.
Choosing conservative settings allows them to be sure that the motherboard will at least work, if not optimally. Those who are more aggressive often PC makers who control the specific memory and other components that are installed and who assume that users want the highest possible performance level and use components that support those aggressive settings.
The first place to look for detailed CMOS Setup instructions is in the manual that came with the computer or motherboard, or on the web page that supports that product. Some system features e. Applying the wrong BIOS update may make the motherboard unusable, short of returning it to the factory for repair.
The exact method required to update the BIOS varies by motherboard manufacturer and model. Although updating the BIOS is a pretty intimidating operation the first time you try it or the tenth time, for that matter BIOS updates usually complete successfully if you do everything by the numbers. But if you accidentally apply the wrong patch or if the update process fails through no error of your own, the PC can end up nonbootable. If this happens, there may not be an easy way to recover.
Intel motherboards have a jumper that configures the motherboard for one of three modes of operation: Normal, BIOS Update, and Recovery. To update the BIOS, you must set that jumper to update mode. If the update fails for any reason, you can reset the jumper to the Recovery position, which gives the motherboard just enough smarts to access the floppy drive at boot time and attempt to load a BIOS update from the floppy drive.
The one time we violated that rule, sure enough, the lights flickered about five seconds after we started the update. Hoping against hope that the PC hadn't crashed this update was one where the screen stays blank until the update is complete , we sat staring at the blank screen for another half hour before we admitted to ourselves that we'd probably just killed the motherboard. It is therefore a must that you use a good power supply. There are also software utilities provided by motherboard manufacturers that can do the job.
As the heart of any computer system, a processor failure often results to an unstable system or total failure. Installing an out of spec RAM can cause instability problems, which can sometimes be misinterpreted as a motherboard issue as well.
Unreliable RAM can lead to a lot of problems such as infrequent crashes, corrupted data, freezing issues, etc. If the problem occurred after you added a RAM chip, try to remove it from the system and reboot it. Check the Graphics processing unit GPU.
All motherboards have built-in video capability but they are often not enough to play graphics intensive tasks.
Gamers usually add more powerful GPU to their computer to circumvent this limitation. Consider removing it from the motherboard to see how the system works without it. Check if BIOS firmware is updated. Sometimes, updating the current BIOS version can fix motherboard ills. Consider checking your motherboard documentation to see how to update the BIOS. Do a visual hardware check.
If you run a more sophisticated rig that has lots of extra hardware peripherals on it, make sure that you check all the connections. Sometimes, reseating the connections can do wonders so simply go through each connected peripheral before attempting another reboot. What to do if POST is NOT successful and computer does not boot at all This second category assumes that nothing happens at all when you press the power button on.
In most cases, the cause is more likely hardware in nature so there are important things that you must do to check.
Check the motherboard physically. As mentioned above, you want to ensure that everything is connected properly and that there are no leaking capacitors. If you have another known working PSU, try using it in your system to see if the current PSU is simply dead, or malfunctioning. Sometimes, having too many installed peripherals can overload the system so try disconnecting non-essential components like the optical drive or the video card to see if the computer will work normally.
CMOS is powered by a battery that can run out of juice after some time. If this battery dies, your BIOS settings will revert back to their defaults once the computer restarts.
Consult a professional.
You may be able to identify a leaking capacitor but you will have to have a certain level of expertise and knowledge as well as the right set of tools to fix or replace it.