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Mother Of All Upgrades

Some motherboards cannot be installed in some compact desktop computers because many compact PCs use motherboards specially designed to save space. Always tell the vendor supplying your new system board about the make and model of your PC before you buy to avoid this problem.

What Do I Gain?

Here are a few reasons to upgrade your PC’s motherboard.

   You want a faster 486- or Pentium-class processor.

   You want more memory capacity than your current system board provides.

   You want to take advantage of faster bus technologies such as VESA or PCI.

   You want the advanced features and performance of the latest motherboards.

   You want to be able to use more, or different, types of expansion boards.

    That aging Model T of a PC may become a real race car with a new motherboard/ processor upgrade.

The list goes on and on. Your reasons for performing a motherboard upgrade may be uniquely your own, but when you actually perform the upgrade, you’re not alone.

Upgrading your PC’s motherboard can be fun, but not carefree. This type of upgrade is not a task for a beginner. We cannot emphasize enough the difficulty of a motherboard upgrade. (If the idea of removing your computer’s cover makes you squeamish, you should not consider doing this upgrade.) Even if you are confident, bring a lot of patience to the task. To do it without creating errors requires a lot of documentation and careful thought.

New motherboards feature Socket 7, Socket 370, or Slot 1 designs. The Socket 7 and 370 design is based on a small white square perforated with holes designed to accept the pin connectors in the bottom of a conventional Pentium-class or certain Intel Celeron microprocessors. The newer Slot 1 design is a long narrow socket that rises from the motherboard and accepts Intel’s Pentium II, Pentium III, and certain Celeron microprocessors. You won’t find different slots on the same motherboard.

Ironically, your motherboard choices are limited only by the computer’s lowest technology component: the case itself. Both the AT motherboard and the baby AT motherboard (which simply is a more compact version of the original AT) can fit in one type of case. The newer ATX motherboard, however, requires an entirely different case design. You’ll also have to make certain the case has enough openings in the back for all of the slots in your new motherboard’s expansion bus.

(NOTE: If your new motherboard has a mouse socket built into it, make sure your old case has a hole for the mouse socket. If not, you’ll need to drill a hole or cut one with a hacksaw before installing the new motherboard.)

Fortunately, AT, baby AT, and ATX motherboards are built to an industry “standard” that defines the exact location of expansion slots, keyboard sockets, etc. That means most computer cases have holes in the right places for sockets, stand-off posts, bolts, and so on.

Unfortunately, a handful of computer manufacturers deviate from these standards. Instead of building the expansion slots directly onto the motherboard, for example, they use a second “daughterboard” (sometimes called a “riser”) to hold the expansion slots. Before you attempt to replace your motherboard, make sure your present computer doesn’t use one of these nonstandard designs. (Your best bet: Tell the Our sales rep the manufacturer and model of the PC you’re upgrading.)

Determine whether you need a new motherboard using our Chart (click here).