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How to Check Motherboard

Motherboard problems are caused due to faults in the power supply, or an installed peripheral or card. Learn about checking the motherboard and how to test it.
Suketu Mehta
The motherboard is, arguably, the most important device in your computer. All the crucial components of your system like the hard drive, memory, external cards, and power supply are controlled by it.
It will also determine what processor you can use, what external cards you can add to enhance your system, and also the peripheral devices you can attach. It is therefore evident that any problem in the motherboard will result in your computer malfunctioning.

Testing Your Motherboard

There will be certain diagnostic tools you will come across on your manufacturer's website. Download these tools and follow directions mentioned there.
Restart your computer and enter the Setup or BIOS configuration settings. Take a note of the current settings and reset your BIOS configuration to default settings.
If you have attached any peripheral devices like printers or USB drives, remove them. Also take out any video, sound, or graphic card, which you might have attached to your motherboard.
Unplug the hard drive, memory, and processor from their respective slots. Gently fix them back at their positions after wiping them with a dry cloth. See that there are no loose connections and all wires are properly connected. Now, when you start your computer again, it should start without any errors. In case it does, the problem is something else.
Exchange parts like power supply, video card or graphic card, from your computer with a working computer, and check them one by one until you find the troublesome one. Replace it, restart your computer, and re-configure BIOS settings to what they were before you set them back to default.

Finding Model number in XP

The best way to find out the model is to have a look at it yourself, by opening up the CPU case. You will notice numerous white colored slots, one besides the other. Besides these slots, you come across a distinct slot of a different color and shape.
In case the slot is colored and of medium length, your model is AGP, and if the slot is colored and long in length, your model is PCI-Ex16/2.0. If these slots are missing, you will find a number written on the motherboard, in extremely small fonts. This number is your model number.
Another way to determine your motherboard's model number is to download and run certain applications on Windows XP, specifically designed for this purpose, which can easily be found on the internet. You can also check the manufacturer's website if you know your model number.

Checking Compatibility

In case you are using an Intel motherboard, then it should have either Socket 775 or Socket 478. The former has pins directly attached on the motherboard itself, while the latter has holes wherein you insert pins. This solves the issue of the type of socket present.
You will now need to determine the chip-set present and also the type of chips it will support. Check your specifications from the website to figure this out.
More complicated than Intel motherboards, are the ones used for AMD processors. They have a massive variety of chip-sets and sockets each. In case you are using one, there is no option but to refer to the manufacturer's website or to consult an authorized company personnel, in order to check it's compatibility.
In case you are not comfortable in doing the checking or testing yourself, you can always get it done from a computer engineer.