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When would you need to replace a motherboard? There are a few situations when doing so makes sense; for example, when the board fails while under warranty, or the user wants to upgrade a good quality computer but the motherboard won't support a faster processor or more memory.
Unless the new motherboard is identical to the old one, most or all drivers will be different. For this reason, you'll want to back up data on the hard drive containing Windows, if necessary, and format (erase) the hard drive before going any further. When you have installed a new board, be prepared to install Windows and all programs from scratch and to restore data from the backup. Although it is possible to replace the motherboard without following this procedure, you can expect the computer to run poorly if you do.
When replacing a motherboard, there are some general precautions to take and procedures to follow.
On the CD This is a fairly simple matter. First, with the power off, disconnect every cable from the outside of the computer. After opening the case (see Chapter 4 and the accompanying CD-ROM for more information on opening cases), make sure to use a grounding strap and perhaps other anti-static devices as described in Chapter 1, "Overview." Then, disconnect all cables you can access from inside the computer, including the disk drive cables and small audio cables. You will most probably have to remove the drive cage (see Chapters 4 and 6). Remove any remaining cables and all cards in expansion (PCI, ISA, AGP, etc.) slots and place them on an anti-static surface. It is probably best to leave the processor and memory in their places for now. Now, remove the screws holding the motherboard to the case, and carefully remove the board. If it is still usable and/or the CPU and memory is still in place, place it on the anti-static surface.
On the CD See the "Motherboard_Installation" video on the accompanying CD-ROM for an example of installing a motherboard.
First, make sure that the new motherboard is the same form factor as the case. Then, make absolutely certain that the power supply is set for the correct voltage to avoid zapping the new board. Look at the back of the case for a small switch that says 115V and 230V, or something similar, as shown in Figure 3.12. This should be set to the voltage available in the country in which it is used; in North America, this voltage is 115.
Figure 3.12: Power supply voltage switch.
Next, make sure that no conductive surface comes in contact with any metal parts of the case. While some cases have elevated mounting holes that hold the board away from the case wall (see Figure 3.13), other cases call for standoffs. Standoffs are small spacers that go between the board's and the case's mounting holes (see Figure 3.14).
Figure 3.13: Elevated mounting holes.
Figure 3.14: Standoff assortment.
After screwing in the screws, you need to install the power connectors and then follow the manufacturer's instructions for setup, which we discuss next. After you've done this, reinstall all of the compatible peripheral devices (if any) that were connected to the old motherboard. For more information on installing peripherals, see the rest of this chapter, Chapter 2, and the chapter appropriate for the type of device in question.
There are certain things you must do to the motherboard to get everything working together. Some boards have stickers indicating the proper positions of DIP switches and jumpers, but in most cases, the documentation (manual) is essential. If you don't have the manual, you can usually find information on the manufacturer's Web site.
In some cases, the board was manufactured by one company but sold by another under a different trade name. In this case, you might be able to find the actual brand and model number by peeling off a brand/model-number sticker on the board to reveal the actual manufacturer's sticker. Make sure the board is not under warranty when you do this; peeling off the sticker might void an active warranty.
On the CD See the Industry Contacts document on the accompanying CD-ROM for manufacturer contact information.
All boards have DIP switches and/or jumpers (see Chapter 2 for general information on these). Depending on the board, these are used to select such settings as the speed and family of the processor, and there might also jumpers to reset the CMOS, redirect the sound from the rear to front connectors, select the type of memory to install, and others.
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