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

    • 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
    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
    Connects to the power switch,
    reset switch, power LED, hard drive LED and front audio ports of a computer
  • 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
System shut off randomly.
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:
    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.


Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at media24xnew@gmail.com


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