CPU and Motherboard Replaced

On September 14th 2012, our Club’s computer failed to boot. It had worked OK earlier in the morning, but on re-booting, the problem appeared. [ We wanted to boot from a Recovery CD — yes, yes, very ironic. ]

The sequence was: 1) Press power on 2) Power light comes on 3) Black screen with no BIOS output and no single beep to indicate successful boot 4) Power down by itself and then repeat steps 2 to 4 endlessly.

We thought that it could be a BIOS problem, so we tried resetting it to the Factory Defaults (by taking the battery out for ten seconds). No joy there.

At lunchtime, we took the PC tower to a nearby computer store in York Street. They thought that it was either the motherboard or the CPU. The power supply seemed perfectly OK.

At the end of the afternoon SIG, three of us went to another computer store in the Capitol Centre to get both a new Intel i7 CPU and a new motherboard.

We bought the same brand motherboard (Gigabyte) to avoid any driver problems when booting from our existing hard drives.

Here are some stills taken from a video showing the replacing of the motherboard during another SIG meeting. The video was taken using the webcam connected to the President’s laptop. He selected these clear and focused stills from an hour or so of videos. Many thanks, Roger.

Checking the webcam

First, we checked the webcam connected to the laptop.

New Motherboard

The new motherboard. Note the two blue PCI Express slots. We could connect FOUR screens if we wanted to.

Old motherboard

The old motherboard – still inside the case, showing the 6GB of memory.

Checking the manual on memory placement

Checking the manual for advice on using 6GB (three cards) in a 4-slot array.

Old memory into new motherboard

The old DDR3 memory fits nicely into the new motherboard.

New motherboard is much smaller

Showing how much smaller the new motherboard is, compared to the old. Probably about 3 cm shorter.

Plastic push-up pillars

Showing the clever plastic push-up pillars to hold the motherboard above the steel casing. The other pillars are threaded brass.

Connecting audio cable

Now connecting the audio cable.

COM, LPT and TPM (Trusted Platform Module)

This shows COM and LPT port headers and the new TPM connector (Trusted Platform Module):

See: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/pc-components/3356901/motherboard-port-guide-solving-your-connector-mystery/

TPM connector: Some off-the-shelf PCs and laptops use the Trusted Platform Module connector to link to a cryptographic processor module for storing encryption keys and handling dedicated encryption chores such as hard-drive encryption and certain types of digital rights management (DRM) decryption.

New motherboard slimmer too

Securing the new motherboard. Note how slim the new board is in width as well. Several of the brass pillars were then moved under the new board.

Power connections

Connecting the power lead onto the motherboard. Note the four blue SATA connectors in the centre of the shot. Two others are concealed in the white housing to the right (rather tricky to get to, since they connect horizontally).

USB 3.0 and HDMI / DVI connections

Showing the new USB 3.0 and HDMI / DVI connectors. Note the large fan in the right of this shot. It’s for the power supply. Previously, they had only small fans on the exterior of the case. No doubt the new design shifts more heat.

Removing case fan to install new motherboard

Temporarily removing the case fan to make room to lift out the old motherboard and put in the new one.

Snapping off faceplate for access to PCI slot

Wiggling and breaking off the metal faceplate to allow access to the card slots. We had only one PCI card to transfer which was the WiFi card.

Securing HUGE PCI Express card

Securing the huge video card into a PCI Express slot.

About to connect power

About to connect power…

The BIOS is ALIVE

The BIOS is ALIVE.

The GIGABYTE Dual UEFI BIOS Logo

Showing the GIGABYTE Dual UEFI BIOS logo.

Reboot and select proper Boot device

The message was to “Reboot and Select proper Boot device or insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key” – no surprise there as there were no boot devices yet connected.

Everyone relaxes a little

Everyone then relaxes a little.


That was the end of Phase I – just getting to boot up to the BIOS with no hard drives or DVDs connected. The next phase, connecting these devices, was done at another SIG meeting.

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