How To Test a Motherboard?

If your motherboard is showing malfunction, it is tough to determine which component is causing a problem as there are too many interconnected parts in a motherboard. And it’s not easy to open up your computer and check all these parts one by one. So, the best way is to do testing of the gaming motherboard before you buy it or replace any component on it. This will help you determine if the board is defective or not.

A defective motherboard often shows blue screens, beeps, and freezing. Other common symptoms are overheating of components, random reboots, and system crashes. One of the best ways to test your motherboard is using a diagnostic kit that includes all the required testing devices. But if you don’t have one, then there are various other ways to do the motherboard testing.

Tools you need to test a motherboard

These are the tools you need to keep when testing a motherboard.

  1. A screwdriver and a power switch jumper
  2. Power supply unit (PSU)
  3. Thermal paste
  4. Multimeter
  5. CMOS battery

Testing a motherboard

You should first do a POST (Power-On-Self-Test) to make sure that you have received or bought a working motherboard. There are chances that you may receive a DOA (Dead On Arrival) board, so make sure to check it first.

  1. Place the motherboard on a non-conductive surface like plastic
  2. Now connect the CPU with thermal paste on it
  3. Also, connect the CPU cooler
  4. Install a RAM
  5. Now install the GPU (Graphics Card)
  6. Connect all the cables like the power button, USB, etc.
  7. Now turn on your PC and see if everything is working fine. If you hear a beep sound, your motherboard is working just fine.
  8. To power up the motherboard in a naked condition, you need to use a power switch jumper. This is to short the 2 power switch pins (PS_ON and GROUND) together so that the motherboard can be powered on.
  9. You can also run some CPU and GPU intensive programs to check if they are working properly or not.

Now you can see whether your motherboard is okay or has a malfunction. If you face a bug or any issue, follow the simple steps to diagnose the malfunction.

Testing a motherboard to point out the failure

Testing a motherboard is a hectic job. There are hundreds of small holes, connections, components, and slots on the motherboard. A slight mistake can damage the whole board and components attached to it. Hence, one must be very careful while testing a motherboard.

There are various ways of testing a motherboard. The most common method is by using a multimeter. A multimeter is an electronic device that can measure voltage, resistance, and current. However, we will first go with a Power-On-Self-Test.

  1. The first step is to check the motherboard with Power-On-Self-Test. This test is so simple and infects you every time you restart your PC. If this test is not working, then you need to follow the next step.
  2. You need to check whether your motherboard is shorting with the PC case and if all the screws are tight. It is recommended to hold the motherboard from both sides and not use any cloth or tissue paper to hold it.
  3. The next step is to attach a fan to your computer’s CPU. The fan blows air onto the processor preventing it from overheating and keeping your system cool. Thus, when you switch on the machine, you need to see that fan is rotating properly and all the cables are connected.
  4. After this, you will have to check your USB ports. They give you a faster data transfer rate and allow plugging in of external devices like microphones, Printers, keyboards, etc., with your computer. However, one must be sure whether all the ports are working or not.
  5. The next step is to connect your Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse to the motherboard. If these devices are not working, then it is a clear indication that something is wrong with the motherboard.
  6. One can also test the memory slots by connecting RAM with them. The RAM helps in storing data temporarily and enhances your computer’s speed. So if you can boot up your system, then it means that the RAM and memory slots are working properly.
  7. Finally, if everything is tested and connected with all the components with the motherboard, one must go for the Multimeter test. This tool helps in checking the speed, voltage, and resistance of different pins on the motherboard.

Testing a motherboard with a multimeter

If you still do not succeed in finding the root cause, you may have to check the motherboard with a multimeter. The testing process is not complicated, but it requires some knowledge and skills.

Check the AC voltages

A very common issue in a motherboard is a short circuit that you need to check. The possible cause for this issue is an electrical surge which may have caused the AC voltages to be higher than they should be. The motherboard will show signs of this problem when you check the DC voltages, which is why it is essential to check the AC voltages first.

  1. Turn off the PC and let everything be cool and neutral
  2. Now set the setting from (0.1) or 200 (OHMS) resistance
  3. Bring the 0.01 voltage tester to the point you want to check.
  4. Hold the test leads in your hands and connect them at a very low resistance point; this will protect both the points from being burned when they are connected. Now touch one lead with one hand while you touch the other end of the multimeter with your other hand. You should see the voltage displayed on the screen of your multimeter.
  5. If you see that the voltages are lower than what they should be, then there is an issue with the power supply or another electrical component. If this is the case, you need to replace that part to fix the problem.
  6. This process can help you figure out if a short circuit is the cause of your motherboard issues. If you see that there are other problems, you will need to check the individual components on the motherboard to identify where exactly the problem lies. You should always ensure that you have all of the necessary tools and skills before attempting this process yourself, as it can be hazardous if done incorrectly.

Check the DC voltages

Now you need to check the DC voltages. However, this method is entirely different from AC testing.

  1. Connect 24-pin ATX cable in motherboard and PSU in a wall outlet
  2. Slide the dial to 20V DC
  3. Now touch the black lead with one hand while you touch the other end of the multimeter with your other hand. You should see the voltage displayed on the screen of your multimeter.
  4. The important thing is that all voltages must be within +/-5% of their nominal values, or you have an issue. If any of the voltages are out of this range, it indicates that your PSU is not providing stable power, and you should check if all connections are tight and also try to clean the PSU from the inside.

How to test a motherboard without a CPU?

You can test the motherboard without a CPU as well. All you need is a power supply and a monitor.
First, plug the power supply into an outlet to ensure that it works properly.

Next, attach the monitor cable to your motherboard and switch on the power supply. If all is working correctly, you should see a message on the screen indicating that no CPU has been detected.
If you don’t see any message, or if you see an error message, then there is a problem with your motherboard.

Verdict

Overall, testing your motherboard is essential in ensuring that you get the most out of your computer. Several tests can be performed on your motherboard to test for issues and determine whether or not it is functioning properly. So this is the guide on how to test a motherboard.

If you want to get more details about this topic, you can refer to an online guide or consult with an expert for additional tips and advice.
Whether you are troubleshooting a faulty motherboard or simply trying to ensure that your computer is running at its best, you should check the motherboard to see any problems.

There are a number of different tests that you can perform on the motherboard to help identify issues, such as checking the DC voltages and testing for short circuits. Another critical test is checking the AC voltages, which involves several simple steps that you can follow to determine if your motherboard is functioning correctly.

Umair Sajjad
Umair Sajjad is an Electrical Engineer. He is also a passionate gamer. He loves to write about tech and gaming. He has graduated from Superior University with Electrical Engineering Degree. He is writing about tech since 2015.