Is It Worth Replacing A Motherboard | The Truth


A motherboard is the most vital part of your computer. The motherboard dictates what type of components are installable. It is not recommended to replace your motherboard due to you are building a completely new computer. Replacing a motherboard is not worth the effort or the additional costs to replace other components. There are many components like RAM, CPU, and a new computer case that will need to be purchased to support a new motherboard. All the computer components add to the replacement cost making it cost prohibited. To buy a new computer is the best option.

Motherboard Replacement
Options Pros Cons
New replacement upgrade Big gains in speed Most expensive
Exact new replacement Less expensive than a new replacement No gain in speed
Exact used replacement Least expensive No gain in speed

Is it worth replacing a motherboard

New motherboard replacement upgrade


The best option is usually not to replace your motherboard but there are exceptions to the rule and I’ll address those later in this article. But for now, in most situations the rule is true. Motherboards are expensive and it leads to many other computer components needing replacement due to compatibility issues. For example, if you purchase a new EVGA SR-3 motherboard the price is around $1,500.00 and requires an Intel XEON CPU. So now you will need to purchase a new CPU in addition to the cost of the new motherboard.

Motherboard Replacement Options
Model Description Price
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme One of the best motherboards in the market, and you won’t be having any problem with this motherboard as far as performance is concerned. The downside is the cost. It might be more than anyone would want to pay. $743
MSI MEG Z490 Godlike A great alternative to the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME motherboard and comes with plenty of power but comes at a hefty price. $709
Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce On the motherboard, there are a total of eight 4-pin fan headers and eight temperature sensors. The setup allows eight hybrid fan connectors, resulting in a maximum of 16 fan headers. $800
ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme It's is one of the most impressive motherboards of all time. The motherboard is capable of overclocking the processors to the limit, featuring the latest 10th generation Intel HEDT processors. $650
EVGA X299 Dark It broke 12 world records, need I say more! $360
ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula It's a motherboard that provides the best experience in terms of overclocking and high-end features. I like the optional liquid cooling for VRM. $585
ASRock X570 Taichi It's a high-end X570-based motherboard that provides high performance while keeping costs in check. $224
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme A motherboard with great looks, features and performance. $1210
ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha It's one of a kind motherboard and priced as such, being much higher in price than most. $830
MSI Creator TRX40 Similar to the ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha motherboard and is based on the TRX40 chipset. $390
*Prices subject to change and are current as of this posting


Or you could go with a more affordable EVGA Z490 for $499.00 which takes a Core i5/i7/i9 CPU. Which still requires a new CPU unless you have one just laying around you could use. And finally to mention a budge option, an EVGA X299 Micro ATX motherboard which takes Intel Socket 2066 CPUs. Socket 2066 CPUs range in price from $1,000 to about $350.00 a the time of this writing. The Kaby Lake-X Quad Cores are in the $350.00 price range. And in my opinion, have an excellent price to performance value. I have not even talked about the price of RAM or other options yet and you can see the cost escalating. With the budget option, I am at a cost of about $500.00 and we still need RAM, possibly a new power supply, maybe even a new case, operating system, and other components. So in this situation, it’s not worth it. You would be better off to build or buy a new computer.

So far we have discussed new motherboard replacements. It’s really like an upgrade. You are going to keep some parts that will work and replace all others that will not work with the new motherboard. But there is another situation where you purchase an exact motherboard replacement for what you have.

An exact replacement new motherboard


Here is one exception to the rule mentioned above. Replace your motherboard with an exact replacement. The replacement would simply swap out the motherboard. By the way, I am not talking about a used motherboard replacement. That is an entirely different conversation. The plan is to reuse RAM, CPU and other components. This option is cost-effective because a bunch of new computer parts are not needed. A new replacement is a great option if, and this is a big if, you can find a motherboard.

Many manufactures stop making motherboards for certain computer models after so many years. After so many years they start to focus on new ones. And this stands to reason because there is just not that big of a demand for old motherboards as compared to the demand for new computers. So why spend a bunch of money and time manufacturing old outdated motherboards, right? In this situation, if you can find your exact replacement motherboard then by all means replace it. But time is working against you. The older the computer the harder it is going to be to find a replacement motherboard. But if you can, you are going to save a bunch of money.

Used exact motherboard replacement


Now this leads us into another option that was mentioned above briefly. What about replacing your motherboard with a used motherboard. Sometimes you might be able to find one used. This is a good option since you are only out the money you spent on the used motherboard if it does not work. In this case you are not looking to upgrade any parts so it’s cost effective. The plan is to use what you have. This extends the life of your computer by a few years. The biggest unknown here is the condition of the used motherboard. If you can get one from a reputable source at a very low cost then this is a viable option.

Laptop motherboard replacement


So far I have been assuming the motherboard being replaced is on a desktop computer. But if you are wanting to replace a laptop motherboard then the answer is a flat-out no. To replace a motherboard in a desktop the average person can do it in about 2 to 4 hours. Take that with a grain of salt some folks are experts and can easily do it 30 minutes. A laptop is very different. The disassembly is much harder and parts are fitted together in very tight spaces and in some situations special tools are needed beyond just a simple screwdriver to take apart the laptop.

Now there is always an exception, right? And the exception here is if you have several laptops in which are the same you could swap the motherboard from one to another. I feel however this would be a rare situation. Most folks are not going to have several laptops laying around.

And finally there is the situation where you find a used laptop motherboard that fits you laptop. You can take the laptop to a computer repair shop and let them make the swap. Again, I feel this is a really rare situation in which I am sure you will agree. The bottom line is you are taking a big chance that the used motherboard is good. You are spending money on the used board and then spending more money on some making the swap. There is a lot of risk to consider with going this route.

Motherboard replacement conclusion


The bottom line is don’t do it. In most cases it simply is not worth it. It is cost prohibited. However if you happen to have an exact replacement laying around or found a really good used one then by all means make the swap. I hope this article helps you in your decision. I tried to come up with all the different situations. I am sure I missed some. Please comment below I would love to hear your situation and what you ended up doing. Did you find it was worth replacing your motherboard?

Additional information on motherboards


Motherboard diagram

Many folks will ask the question what is exactly a motherboard A motherboard is s printed circuit board that is use in computers that holds and allows communication (data to flow) between all of the electronic components. Some of the components are CPU (Central Processing Unit), memory or RAM and other peripherals. It also contains systems like input and output controllers and interfaces. It’s basically the main circuit board that holds all of the different components together thus making a computer. It’s the “mother” of all components. So all peripherals like interface cards, graphic cards, sound cards, network cards, hard drives, USB slots, etc. connect to the motherboard. A motherboard provides the electrical connections in which all other components of the computer system communicate. So in a typical computer system, like a desktop computer, the CPU or processor and main memory and other essential parts are all linked together via the motherboard. It’s typical that other devices are attached to the motherboard to perform some special function.

Motherboard features


A type modern motherboard contains sockets. The socket allows one microprocessor to be installed. This feature removes the need to directly solder the microprocessor to the motherboard. So for example an EVGA motherboard X299 Micro ATX motherboard takes Intel Socket 2066. Socket 2066 allows for several CPUs to be used in this motherboard. The CPUs are Intel Core i5, i7 and i9.

Motherboards also contain slots for memory or RAM. Memory chips can then be installed without the need to solder to the motherboard. Memory can easily be swapped out. So for example, DRAM chips can be D3 or D4. Motherboards also have firmware or what a lot of folks call BIOS (Basic Input Output System). This is non-volatile memory containing the system’s firmware. To synchronize all the various components a motherboard has a clock generator that produces a clock signal. Motherboards also contain slots for expansion cards in which can interface into the system. In addition, special connectors for hard drives like M.2 or SATA are also on the motherboard. And finally the motherboard need power so there are power connectors to receive electrical power for the CPU, RAM and expansion slots.

Motherboard form factors


Common motherboard form factors


Another very important thing to note about motherboards is that they come in a variety of different sizes. This is called form factors. Many form factors are specific to individual manufacturers. For example HP may use a form factor specifically for their desktops and Dell may use another slightly different size for their desktops. What is does is make it all most impossible to take one motherboard and put it into another manufactures desktop. However as of 2005 desktop computers standardized on what is called an ATX standard form factor for motherboards. ATX stands for Advanced Technology extended and was developed by Intel back in 1995. This was critical in improving standardization and interchangeability of computer parts. So as of today ATX is the most common standard for personal computers. Some of the common standard sizes are Standard-ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ATX, Nano-ATX and Pico-ITX. The size of a standard ATX board is 12 inches by 9.6 inches or 305mm x 244mm.

If you liked this article, then you should read my other article on this site called “Is a 7 year old computer worth fixing?” You might be surprised at the answer to the question.

References

By Gary Houston - Own work, CC0
By VIA Gallery from Hsintien, Taiwan - VIA Mini-ITX Form Factor Comparison uploaded by Kozuch, CC BY 2.0
By Original: Gribeco at French WikipediaDerivative work: Moxfyre at English Wikipedia - This file was derived from:  Diagramme carte mère.png, CC BY-SA 3.0

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