Your computer’s motherboard or mainboard is a critical component and is commonly referred as the heart of a computer. It is the place where the different parts of a computer are connected, i.e., all the components of a computer are plugged into the motherboard. So, if your motherboard has a problem, it’s a bigger issue than just replacing one part. And also, protecting the motherboard from damage is predominant to protecting every other component.
Motherboards can get damaged for many reasons, although there are a few common culprits. The most common causes of motherboard failure are discussed below. Avoid these common mistakes that damage your motherboard.
1. Heating Issues
As with most computer components, the most common culprit when a motherboard fails is heat. All computer components are particularly sensitive to heat, and the inside of a computer can become quite hot as they generate a lot of heat themselves. Over time, this wears out the motherboard and can lead to its failure.
The computer components need to stay cool to run properly. That is why heat dissipation is very important to computers, whether it’s in the form of fans or heat sinks.
Laptop motherboards are more exposed to damage than desktop motherboards, as they are more likely to be exposed to heat due to the small case. If your laptop is running hot regularly, you need to clean its ventilation outlets.
2. Short Circuits
Motherboards are filled with capacitors and soldered connections that route power and data from one part of the board to another. So, it can’t come into contact with any other metallic components or the ill fitted components. In short, if the motherboard ends up getting into contact with an unintended object, it can cause a short circuit.
This problem is more prevalent in desktop computers, but also (yet rarely) occurs in laptops.
Examine how your motherboard is installed. Check that you used the stands that keep the motherboard above the case, and ensure that any unsupported portions of the motherboard haven’t bent towards the case’s interior. Also, check that all internal wires are properly shielded with a rubber or plastic exterior.
Loose CPU coolers often cause irreparable damage to motherboards. So, check for loose cables, a common PC maintenance mistake.
3. Electrical Spikes and Power Surges
An electrical spike or surge is a short-lived burst of energy in an electric circuit. This can be the result of power hungry appliances (like air conditioners or refrigerators), problems with wiring or problems with your locality’s power grid, and even weather conditions like lightning. This Sudden change of voltage can cause damage to the delicate circuits in your motherboard.
Connecting your computer to a power outlet that has frequent fluctuations in electrical output may also cause damage to your motherboard. Though at times immediate damage may not be visible, it may harm the motherboard over time. To protect your motherboard from electrical spikes, use a high-quality surge protector that can neutralize the effects.
Most power supply units and motherboards can adjust their voltages to adapt to small power surges. But if it’s a big one, it can damage your motherboard and all the components connected to it. So, to overcome the problems, it is better to buy a surge protector for your computer. But, be careful while buying, because some surges are powerful enough to overpower the surge protector and destroy the motherboard.
The motherboard is where your computer’s power supply unit (PSU) is connected. Hence, it is important to buy the right PSU for your needs. If your computer components need more power than the PSU can provide, it will cause the components or the motherboard to fail.
4. Electrical Damage
This commonly occurs during computer maintenance such as the installation of new peripheral devices. During maintenance, if the technician has static electricity built up on his or her hands, it can discharge into the motherboard, leading to a failure.
5. Improperly installed components
Components can cause a motherboard to malfunction if they’re not properly installed. In some cases, your computer may not even turn on.
Improper seating of the video card and RAM are the most likely sources of your problems because issues in those areas are easy to overlook. Make sure that they are properly seated. Also, check for the processor, although, improperly installing a processor is very rare.
Signs of a Failing Motherboard:
A damaged motherboard isn’t as simple to diagnose as other parts of a computer because all the components of a computer are plugged into the motherboard. For this reason, any part of the computer failing can be a sign of a motherboard failure.
However, there are some more specific indications of the motherboard failure, like – the system randomly powering down, your computer has a hardware error, like not booting up, etc.
Preventing Motherboard Failure:
While a motherboard may fail anyway, simply due to age or unforeseen circumstances, by taking a few simple steps, it is less likely that your motherboard does not fail.
- Ensure the computer is in a stable location where it will not be knocked over and will not be likely to have liquid spilled on it.
- Keeping the motherboard clean and free of dust can also help.
- Ensuring to use a quality surge protector to prevent the motherboard from being destroyed by power surges.