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Motherboard components and their functions: How to Troubleshoot for Motherboard Failures:

Motherboard is the heart of a
computer system. It is called motherboard because all features and peripherals
plug to operate the whole system are into it. Components contained by
motherboard are here below:

  • Back Panel
    Connectors & Ports:

    Connectors and ports for
    connecting the computer to external devices such as display ports, audio ports,
    USB ports, Ethernet ports etc.

  • PCI (Peripheral
    Component Interconnect) Slots:
    Slot for older expansion cards such as sound cards, network cards, connector
    cards.

    • a. PCI Express x1 Slots:Slot for modern
      expansion cards such as sound cards, network cards (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth
      etc.), and connector cards (USB) etc.
b. PCI Express x16 Slot: Slot for discrete graphic cards and high
bandwidth devices
  • North
    Bridge:
    It also known as Memory
    Controller Hub (MCH) .One of the most important component of a motherboard. Northbridge allows the CPU to
    communicate with the RAM and graphics card. It is responsible for
    co-coordinating the data flow amongst the memory, video card and the processor.
  •  South bridge:Also known as the
    Input/output Controller Hub (ICH). It is responsible for coordinating
    the data flow between the processor and peripherals such as sound cards and
    network cards.
  • CPU Socket:CPU insert here. The
    processor socket is the central piece of a motherboard, usually being located
    near the center of the motherboard.
  • ATX 12V
    Power Connector: (processor power supply connector)
    Connects to the 4 pin power cable of a power
    supply unit which supplies power to the CPU.
  • ATX Power
    Connector: ( Motherboard power supply connector)
    Connects to the 24-pin ATX
    power cable of a power supply unit which supplies power to the motherboard.
  • Front Panel
    USB 2.0/3.0 Connector:
    Connects to USB 2.0/3.0 ports
    at the front or top of the computer case.
  • Front Panel
    Connectors:
    Connects to the power switch,
    reset switch, power LED, hard drive LED and front audio ports of a computer
    case.
  • IDE and SATA ports:a. IDE = Integrated Device Electronics
    b. SATA = Serial ATA
    IDE and SATA ports are used to
    provide connectivity for the storage devices and optical devices. IDE was replaced by the smaller and
    much faster SATA interface.
  • CMOS Battery ( Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) :It supplies power to
    store BIOS settings and keep the real time clock running. The CMOS battery found on most
    motherboards is the lithium coin cell.
  • RAM/Memory Slots:RAM insert here. The memory
    slots are used to house the computer’s memory modules.
How to Troubleshoot  Motherboard Failures:
A computer
motherboard is one of the hardest pieces of hardware to troubleshoot.
Failure symptoms:
·        
Every power on but you can’t see a
live screen.
·        
Computer turns on for just a few
seconds then turns off.
·        
Some peripherals work, others
don’t. 
·        
System shut off randomly.
Motherboard
failures can be divided into three types:

  • Power failure.
  • Bus failure.
  • Component failure.
Due to the
complexity in the structure and components in computer motherboards, the
failure rate is relatively high. Repair the failure using the following steps.
  • Steps 1:Check that there
    is no sign of physical damage:
    Determine
    whether the motherboard seems burned, blown, foam board, has a broken
    connector, exploded capacitors or dirty fans and chips, etc.
  • Steps 2:Check that BIOS
    battery provides sufficient voltage.
  • Steps 3:Clean out the
    dust using a soft brush:
    The failure may
    have been caused by dust. To keep the motherboard running effectively for
    years, just make sure that the computer is clear of dust.
  • Steps 4:Using a multimeter,
    measure the motherboard supply voltages. If there is an abnormal voltage, check
    the power supply.
  • Steps 5:Check the all chip
    clock, input and output signals. Until the faulty component will be traced.
  • Steps 6:Remove and replace the
    failed component(s) with the same type, then boot to test operation.
  • Steps 7:Use the tangent line
    by line method to find short circuit and trace the circuit board to determine
    the failure source.
  • Steps 8:If the above steps
    fail to fix the problem, find a motherboard with the same characteristics and
    replace it completely.
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