A Motherboard Upgrade HOWTO

Tips and directions for replacing your computer's motherboard--from deciding whether it's worth the hassle to tweaking the BIOS.


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Great little guide

ronaldprettyman.com's picture

Recompiling my kernel and this made for a great read, (i never considered putting the pets away during a build, its amazing that i've only managed to fry a 486cpu in 15 years of careless building).
The info on the compaq screw driver was a good item to know too, I've always just busted out the niddle noose pliers, but the other thing on compaq is their ability to place thin strips of metal in just the right spot so you slice your hand up trying to take out the mother board.
Does the old mobo in the picture have a p2 chip on it?
Its also to read about a build that doesn't involve taking out a second mortgage to pay for the parts.
Hey if your still using this build, you can pick up an AMD Anthon 3200 for around $30 oem on ebay, its a pretty decent upgrade for $30 bucks.

Do you need to install the linux OS? Again?

Anonymous's picture

I understood that you already had the Linux OS installed on the computer. At the end of the article you nevertheless instruct to run the installation disk after the upgrade. Is it a mistake or does is have to be re-installed? Can't linux boot directly with the new mobo?

Yesterday I would have

Kent Asplund's picture

Yesterday I would have answered that you do not have to reinstall. I have swapped 7 motherboards and continued using the same installation every time. Any windows installation on these machines have, at best, become very unstable or totally unusable. But yesterday I swapped motherboards between the server and desktop-machine to get SATA on the server, everything worked as expected except the built in network card (via rhine II) that stopped working on both(!) computers.

I have now spent 10 hours trying to find the reason and my only success is that it is now working with a 2.4 kernel without SATA


Mace Moneta's picture

I'm surprised there was no discussion of using ECC memory and Chipkill. With modern machines having 1GB+ of RAM, ECC becomes a must (if the machine will be used 24x7x365). Chipkill (available on many ASUS motherboards) goes further by allowing the machine to survive a complete component failure (common in a hard fail case). You can read more about the reliability impacts here (PDF file):


ECC/Chipkill add little to the cost of a machine, but can significantly improve long term reliability.

I tend to install the cpu and

Anonymous's picture

I tend to install the cpu and fan, memory, and push in the IDE cables, before installing the motherboard into the case. These components can need quite a bit of force to install. If you do it with the motherboard resting on the foam mat that comes with the packaging, it is better supported and less likely to be damaged by flexing.

Stand off posts

phil_trick's picture

Bear in mind that the mounting holes might be in different places on the two motherboards, so you might end up with a stand off post grounding part of the motherboard that carries a voltage.

If that happens, the best case is that the computer won't power up, and the worst (and alot more likely) case is that you will blow the motherboard.

Happened to me once!


Which is why you should alway

Anonymous's picture

Which is why you should always check that the posts line up with the designated motherboard mounting holes. Each motherboard and case may be different.

A7V8X sound

Robert's picture

The A7V8X sound codec IS supported under kernel 2.4 - although it took me an absolute age to sort it.

Anti-static Bags

Anonymous's picture

Just an add-on to the part about anit-static bags. Most people don't know this, but ONLY THE INSIDE of the bag is anti-static. If you want to use the bag - cut it open and use the inside of it to lay parts on.

Or just get the foam

Anonymous's picture

Big sheets of anti-static foam (that black stuff that chips sometimes come stuck in) are cheap. Try Fry's. You can keep a good-sized piece around to lay out parts and protect them and your desk.

Anti-static Bags

Anonymous's picture

Just an add-on to the part about anit-static bags. Most people don't know this, but ONLY THE INSIDE of the bag is anti-static. If you want to use the bag - cut it open and use the inside of it to lay parta on.

AMD cpus are a good choice

AMDover Intel's picture

They provide a far better bang for the buck than Intel. Another reason to choose AMD over Intel is because AMD is providing valuable info to Free BIOS hackers, info that Intel is refusing to provide. One of the most important struggles that is coming upon the Free Software community now is whether we will be able to get a working Free BIOS or not. Whether the entertainment cartel will succeed in locking up our computers and turning them into entertainment devices instead, via Digital Restrictions Management with the help of Intel, IBM and Microsoft through the "trusted computing".

AMD has decided to help Free Software hackers and the Free BIOS effort. Intel has decided against the Free Software community. Please decide carefully which company to support with your money, whether cpus, network cards, or other hardware Intel or other anti-Free BIOS companies manufacture or distribute. There are alternatives by supportive companies in most every piece of hardware. Unless/until Intel decides to support Free BIOS efforts, avoid buying Intel under any circumstance.

Unless Intel changes their position on Free BIOS, any money spent on Intel hardware is money spent against the Free Software community.


shawn's picture

ha. i have like 5 of those cases at work. great little boxes. :)

Where do I put extra wires in the motherboard?

Anonymous's picture

My case came with extra bells and whistles, which means extra wires.

They are black-greed-white-red and have ends that say

Where do I plug into the motherboard the ends of these wires?

Sandy in FL