Make your own free website on

Replacing a Motherboard

by Stephanie Mortimer

insides.jpg (24025 bytes) int01.jpg (39408 bytes)
Before:386DX40 After:K6-2350mhz

This is not intended as a tutorial, but rather as a review of a project that I did  in my Computer Upgrade and Repair Class.

It shows how I replaced a 386 with an S15905 Trinity 100 AT Motherboard  and an AMD K6-2 350mhz processor.

I'm hoping that by sharing what I've learned it will encourage other beginners to do their own motherboard replacements.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.


Before You Begin:

Reasons to
Replace a Motherboard

Reasons Not to Replace a Motherboard

Other Considerations

29 Easy Steps

Step 1: Make Back Ups and Print Out Information
Step 2: Buy the New Motherboard
Step 3: Read the Manual!
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 4: Get Ready
Step 5:
Turn off the PC and Remove the Case.
Step 6: Record the Physical Configuration: Jumper and switch settings, cable orientation and placement, etc.
Step 7: Clean inside the case with compressed air. Don't blow on it.
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 8: Unplug the peripherals, including the power cable.
Step 9:
Remove the Cards
Step 10: Unplug the Wires to the Motherboard.
Step 11:
Remove the Cables
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 12: Remove Anything Else That is In the Way
Step 13: Removing the Old Motherboard:
Step 14: Remove the Memory Chips and CPU
Step 15: Unpack the New Motherboard
Step 16
: Configure the Jumpers and Switches.
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 17: Install the New Memory.
Step 18: Install the CPU
Step 19
: Install the New Motherboard
Step 20: Replace the Wires.
Step 21: Replace the Cables
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 22: Put the Bus Expansion Cards (Cards)Back Into Slots:
Step 23: Attach Internal Cables and Wires  to the Cards.
Step 24: Plug in Keyboard. Connect the Mouse.
Step 25:
Connect External Cables.
Step 26: Plug in the PC
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 27: Install Any Necessary Software.
Step 28: It Works! Congratulations!
Step 29
: Replace Cover.


Links:WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)

Reasons to Replace a Motherboard
  • You've upgraded everything else.
  • You want to upgrade the processor (CPU) or add more slots for cards or memory,
  • You may want to learn more about your computer,
  • You just want to be able to say "I replaced a motherboard."
  • You've got enough lrp-logo-2.gif (4250 bytes)spare parts to put together a Linux router box.

Why You Might Not Want to Replace a Motherboard
  • You may find it cheaper to buy a whole new system.                                
  • You're afraid you might break something.                                          
  • You don't have the time or patience.        
  • You don't have anyone to help you except tech support.
    WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Other Considerations When Choosing a New Motherboard
  • Form factor: Most motherboards today will fit into either a Baby AT or an ATX case. You need to know which is which.
  • Compatibility: You need to be sure that it will work with most of the components you already have (Note that you will probably want to replace your CPU and add memory).
  • Reliability: The web is full of reviews of motherboards. Do a little research.
  • Documentation: Does the motherboard come with a user's manual with adequate documentation? This is important!
  • Where will you buy it? I recommend a local merchant that you have done business with before. Be sure to find out what his replacement policies are, and how many days you have to return something if it is defective.WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 1:


Make backups and print out information:
  • Back up your hard drive. Even if you aren't planning on replacing your hard drive, there is a small possibility that you might accidentally lose data or damage the drive.. Besides, you should have a backup anyway.
  • Print out your CMOS information. In an AT-type system, this stores your system configuration information. If you have an older  system, you may need to print out your BIOS hard disk settings as well
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 2:

Buy the New Motherboard: Be sure to keep all receipts and manuals, and request any additional documentation that may be available. (Don't buy it in the first place without adequate instructions.)

newmb.jpg (25977 bytes)

New Motherboard

Step 3: Read the Manual! WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 4:
  • Get Ready - A minimal toolkit should include flat blade and Phillips screwdrivers, tweezers, and a parts grabber (hemostats). I would add a pair of needlenose pliers, a flashlight, a chip extractor, and an ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection kit.
  • Set up an open space with flat, clean surfaces. Try to exclude pets and children.
  • If you working over a shag carpet, you might want to cover it, because one of Murphy's Laws says that small parts like to hide in shag carpeting.
  • Trays to hold small parts can be useful. We used compartmented plastic dinner trays and film canisters.

Do's and Don'ts:

  • An ESD (electrostatic discharge protection) kit with a wrist strap and antistatic mat is a good investment. Sometimes chip merchants will give you one free if you buy extra memory.
  • If you can't afford that, please repeat after me "Always ground yourself before touching anything in the interior of the computer."
  • I've read that if you are sure you won't accidentally turn it on, the power cord is a good ground.
  • I've also read cautions not to place parts on aluminum foil or other conductive surfaces (a metal table, for example) because placing lithium or ni-cad batteries on them might cause the batteries to short out and explode.
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 5: Turn off the PC and Remove the Case: All the screws on the outside of the case are not there to hold the cover on. The screws that hold on the cover are usually towards the outside edges of the case. Put the screws you take out in a safe place. It is a good idea to put each type of screw or fastener in a different location, and you may want to count them

Removing the case->

opencase.jpg (29400 bytes)
Step 6: Record the Physical Configuration: Jumper and switch settings, cable orientation and placement, etc.Look inside the case and see where everything is and what it is attached to. Some things will probably be in different locations on your new motherboard, but it doesn't hurt to know which things attach where. You can mark cables and cords with small pieces of masking tape if you want to. WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 7: Clean inside the case with compressed air. Don't blow on it. Use a commercial product. Although there is a small chance that an electrostatic charge could build up near the nozzle of a compressed air cannister, there is more danger of damage caused by the moisture in your breath. WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 8: Unplug the peripherals, including the power cable. Remember: Don't touch anything inside the computer unless you are wearing a grounding strap or have touched the bare metal of the case first to release electrostatic charges. Electrostatic discharge is deadly! WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 9: Remove the Cards:   Remember where they were connected. Unscrew the card and slide it out of the case gently .Remember to handle them by their metal brackets and by their edges as much as possible, and be careful not to bend them. (Bending cards or motherboards can cause microscopic cracks in connections that will cause intermittent problems later on.) Count and keep track of screws. (A loose screw inside the case can damage everything). Lay the cards on an anti-static mat. WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 10: Unplug the Wires to the Motherboard. Make a list of what you unplug and make sure you know where it was. Masking tape can be used to mark wires and cables.

The wires to the motherboard being unplugged-->

oldmotherboard.jpg (40492 bytes)
Step 11: Remove the Cables


Removing the cables-->

cables.jpg (31986 bytes)
Step 12: Remove Anything Else That is In the Way: In this case I had to remove the hard drive so that I could move things around inside the case.  You might also have to remove the power supply, floppy drives, CD-ROMs, or move ports.

Removing the hard drive-->

rhd.jpg (21533 bytes)
Step 13: Removing the Old Motherboard: Locate and remove motherboard retaining screws, saving them & any plastic washers. Here is where you use the needlenose pliers, to pinch the tops of the nylon standoffs so you can slide them out. (If you have extra standoffs, or are planning to replace the old motherboard in a new case, you can leave them in.)

Slide the motherboard to disengage the standoffs from their mounting slots. (This is a tricky part) Lift the motherboard up and out of the case and place it on a static-free surface, such as an antistatic mat. (If things don't go right, you may need it again.)

WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 14: Remove the Memory Chips and CPU. You may be able to re-use or re-sell them, so remove them gently and place them in a safe container. Again, if you are planning on replacing all the memory and the CPU, you might want to leave the old CPU and memory with the old motherboard


Removing the memory chips and CPU-->

oldmbout.jpg (34250 bytes)
Step 15: Unpack the New Motherboard:- You should have already done this, but double-check to make sure that you have everything that should be included (mainboard, cables, manual, driver CD, etc....)

Make sure you are properly grounded before touching it.- Try very hard not to bend it. Handle it on the edges. Do not touch the bottom.Inspect it visually for obvious damage, and set it on a flat antistatic surface

Note:  Some people wait until the new motherboard is inside the case before doing anything. Our reason for doing it this way was   so that we could see what we were doing, and have room to work.. The order of work was chosen so that we worked on the least expensive and/or more durable things first.

newmb.jpg (25977 bytes)

The New Motherboard

Step 16: Configure the Jumpers and Switches. Jumpers are used to set CPU bus speeds, CPU clockmultipliers, and CPU Core Voltage Settings, CPU type, SIMM Voltage Settings, DIMM clock speed, PowerSupply Type, Split Voltage Settings, and other things.If you are lucky, your motherboard settings will already be set to what you need. Some motherboards are advertised as “Jumperless” but they may still have a few jumpers. jumper01.jpg (31517 bytes)

Jumpers - Enlarged

Step 17: Install the New Memory.See instructions that came with the board for proper configurations. DIMMS or SIMMS will either slide in or clip into the sockets. You usually start with the lowest numbered slots or banks first.


Putting in the new memory-->

setnewmb.jpg (33559 bytes)
Step 18: Step 18: Install the CPU.


This is the empty socket for the CPU. You can see the ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) lever on the top-->

- Do not touch the CPU pins with your fingers.- Do not force the CPU into the socket.This Socket has a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) arm. Most CPUs are designed so that there is only one right way to place them. (Note: remember that we are installing an AMD K6-2 CPU on a Socket 7 board. A hershey-bar pentium on a Socket 1 board will look quite different.)

socketv1.jpg (40862 bytes)
Two views of the CPU:chiphi.jpg (18828 bytes)chiplo.jpg (10026 bytes) WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Install the HeatSink and Fan.Install the cooling device (heat sink and/or fan)- This is a CPU-Cool Z1 Socket 7 Processor Cooler, and we used thermal transfer grease to fill the gaps between the heat sink and the processor to give maximum heat transfer.  fan1a.jpg (15049 bytes)

Heatsink & Fan

Plug in cooling fan power connector into motherboard or power connector from power supply.

CPU installed-->

afths.jpg (56058 bytes)
Step 19: Install the New Motherboard- Put nylon standoffs in motherboard holes that align to slots on case.-Use at least one metal standoff where a motherboard hole aligns with a threaded hole in the case.
- (Different motherboards have different patterns of holes, and different cases have different arrangements of threaded holes and slots, but there is usually one metal standoff to serve as a ground)- Set the board inside the case so that the standoffs are engaged. Holes should be aligned.- Push the standoffs up from the bottom. You may need pliers to pinch the tops together.- Make sure that the metal fastening screw does not short any of the traces on the motherboard. Do not overtighten. Note: If there is a hole in the motherboard where you'd like to support the motherboard with a standoff, but there isn't a corresponding hole or slot on the case, you can insert a nylon standoff with the button that engages the slot cut off.
standof1.jpg (29872 bytes)


Step 20:

Step 20: Replace the Wires.- Plug in the power connection from power supply to motherboard.- Make sure the black wires of the AT style are in the center of the two connectors.The ATX should have a one-piece connection.

Replacing the Wires-->

nmbincase.jpg (41405 bytes)
Step 21: Replace the Cables- Remember red usually indicates Pin 1- The order to plug in cables is   usually:– Hard drive(s),  Floppy drive(s), then  Com and printer port cables.

Replacing the Cables-->

int04.jpg (36853 bytes)
Step 22:

Put the Bus Expansion Cards (Cards)Back Into Slots:- Never force them, try not to bend them. Make sure you have the right kind of slot for the card (ISA, PCI, etc..). You may want to rearrange them to allow better air circulation or prevent interference to soundcards. Don't forget to screw them in.

This is a PCI SVGA Video Card-->

nakedmb.jpg (30164 bytes)
Step 23: Attach internal cables and wires to the cards.


Step 24: Plug in Keyboard. Connect the Mouse. WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 25: Connect External Cables.
(Don't put the cover back on yet!).
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 26: Plug in the PC If it doesn't work:– Make sure all cards and memory are in firmly
– Check CMOS
– Make sure cards are compatible
– Investigate software incompatibility
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 27: Install Any Necessary Software. WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 28: It Works! Congratulations!screen01.jpg (19451 bytes) WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Step 29: Replace Cover. WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)

- All photos & technical assistance by Harry R. Meyer

Reference material from:

Upgrading and Repairing PC's, Eighth Edition, by Scott Mueller
Upgrading and Fixing PC's for Dummies, by Andy Rathbone

WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)

Build your own PCWB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
A Guide to PC Motherboards
Tyan's Home Page
Anand's MotherboardReviews
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Next PC Network - Build Your Own Computer
The Upgrade Center
Brad's Web Page
WB01530_.gif (347 bytes)
Depository Index
Motherboard Home World


bevelmac.gif (2896 bytes)Disclaimer: I'm a Macintosh fan. Why am I playing with PCs? One reason is that PCs are the dominant machine, for the present, and I want to know about them. Another reason is that there are few Mac classes available.
As far as computer repair and upgrade goes, although I've used different Macs for nearly five years, I haven't had many reasons to learn about repair.  My last Mac only had a 100mg hard drive, and crashed when it was full, but a friend was able to help me boot it back to life, and after I lightened its load it didn't crash again. I've never had to replace a defective part. I've just kept one Mac for several years and then passed it on when I could afford a newer one, rather than upgrading bit by bit like some PC users seem to do with their machines. I believe both of my old Macs are still in use -- one as a game machine, and the other as a child's computer.
I have heard that in general Mac users tend to keep their computers longer before getting a new one. Part of the reason may be that Mac hardware is better integrated. Once you've got one you shouldn't have to upgrade it right away.
Also, Macs aren't very modular. While some of the PC's in our house have been frankensteined out of surplus parts (Igor's monitor came out of a dumpster), it isn't that easy to find Mac components in the trash, and if you could find them, they probably wouldn't fit.
So -- PC or Mac? Try both, and make up your own mind. Either one will run Linux.
These pages, by the way, were made using both Zaphod (my Mac) and Igor (my PC) with different versions of Front Page.(I do not recommend Front Page.)  I have another web site made entirely on my Mac using shareware and do-it-yourself HTML. You probably couldn't tell the difference unless you look at the source code.
Want to see something beautiful? Check out the new G4's and iBooks!!