The motherboard in desktop computers is a very important component that needs to be monitored once in a while and maintained for best computing results. It houses the heart of the whole computer system, i.e., the microprocessor and the indispensable components that keep the computer's temperature cool like fans, resistors that regulate the flow of electricity, the video card, the sound card, among others. For optimal results, here are top 5 important motherboard maintenance tips to keep your desktop computer in top shape. Read on...
The motherboard of desktop computers is one of the neglected parts when doing computer maintenance. In fact, most of the maintenance tips suggested for desktop computers is focused on software. But the different parts inside must be inspected and the temperature of the computer must be monitored to avoid disastrous events like frying of the critical components.
A computer's hardware such as the motherboard is a very important area to look into when doing maintenance works. The motherboard houses the vital electronic circuits that keep the desktop computer working. It has several fans to keep the temperature cool because a cool environment is correlated to the computer's efficiency. It is also here where the computer's microprocessor, the random access memory (RAM), the video card, the sound card, the LAN card, among other removable parts are housed.
So what are some important maintenance tips for better motherboard performance thus overall computer efficiency? Here are top 5 motherboard maintenance tips to maintain and extend the life of your motherboard:
1. Sweep off dust that builds on the motherboard.
Dust build up inside the computer's casing despite it's covering because the power fan or other accessory fans sucks in dirt from outside together with the air used to cool off the insides of the casing. When dust picks up moisture, the sensitive parts may short-circuit and get damaged in the process. The fan can get clogged with dirt and cause friction at the sides of the housing. If left unattended, the fan will eventually stop and your computer will heat up then suddenly crash when a very high temperature is reached.
Use only a soft paintbrush to clean the motherboard taking care not to brush too hard on small parts. Do this in a well-ventilated area where you can easily dispose of the dust.
2. Look for swellling, busted or leaking capacitors.
When you notice that some of the capacitors (also known as condensers) appear to be expanded or swelling, this is a cause for alarm. It is a sign of impending failure of the motherboard. It is important that these parts are in top shape as capacitors store electrical energy for use upon demand.
Defective, busted or leaking capacitors (Fig. 1) will lead to an increase the temperature and ultimately stop your desktop computer from working. This should be replaced with capacitors of the same ratings as soon as possible. Or it may be time for you to buy a new motherboard if the one you are using is an old one. Old one means about two to three years.
Fig. 1. Busted and leaking capacitors.
If you are not able to open your computer for some reason, it is a must that you have a software to monitor the temperature of your computer. You may want to try Real Temp reviewed in TechPowerUp.
3. Detach the removable cards (sound card, video card, LAN card, etc.) and clean off the copper connectors with an eraser.
Just make sure you have discharge static electricity from your body before doing so. You can do this by placing your hands on a grounded metallic object. Replace the removable parts carefully, avoiding the use of unnecessary force. You should hear these parts click in place.
4. Check if your CMOS battery is still working.
When the stored electrical energy of the CMOS battery (that detachable coin-looking silver thing in the motherboard) is already used up, the date displayed in your desktop computer will be wrong. A failed battery will also prevent your computer from executing some commands which need correct date input such as when logging in to an internet site.
5. Check if the fans, especially the fan of your video card, is still working to prevent heat from building up.
Test the fan by carefully flicking on it for smooth operation. If the fans are not working as they should, you can hear a whirring sound. If any of the fans is not working, remove and change it. There are separate fans that you can buy from a computer hardware store. Just note down the specifications or bring the defective fan to the computer shop.
A non-working video card fan will damage the video card. Ventilation prevents heat build-up in your desktop computer as well the detachable parts. A cool temperature will keep your motherboard and its parts working in top condition.
If the fan is still working, you can clean this up by carefully wiping off the dirt from the fans with moistened tissue (don't use any solvent, just plain water) being careful in doing so to avoid mechanical damage.
Regular monthly maintenance of your desktop computer following these 5 motherboard maintenance tips will prevent costly repairs or upgrades.
©19 February 2011 Patrick A. Regoniel | Top 5 Motherboard Maintenance Tips