A motherboard acts the same way in a computer as a chassis acts inside an automobile; it is a platform to connect other components. Most of the PC’s components, such as graphics card, processor, storage devices, RAM, etc., connect to it to perform their respective tasks.
So, when upgrading the system’s components, many tech enthusiasts ask themselves, should they upgrade their motherboard? Well, the answer to this question varies from user to user. Generally, motherboards are made to last for a long time in any type of specifications.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can keep using a motherboard for your whole life, after all, it is an electronic component that will eventually need to be replaced. But when that moment comes? What are situations when a motherboard should be replaced? Read on to learn this!
Should I Upgrade My Motherboard?
Whether it is the time to upgrade your motherboard depends on your circumstances and exact situation. Answer the following question so we can better tell you about your query!
- Are you experiencing slow, laggy, or unstable computer performance, and you’re sure it is not because of RAM, CPU, GPU, and other PC components?
- Is your motherboard malfunctioning within your computer? And you are getting errors like Blue Screen of Death, Random Shutdowns, Hardware Not Recognized, etc.?
- Do you plan to upgrade other components, such as CPU, RAM, etc., and your older mobo isn’t compatible with the one you wanted it to pair with?
- Does your current motherboard lack the features you need? More USB ports, faster storage options, Wi-Fi 6/6E, better overclocking capabilities, or Thunderbolt ports are some examples.
- Is your motherboard more than 6-8 years old, and it is no longer as up-to-date as it was when you purchased it?
If your answer is “YES” to any of these questions, you might need to consider upgrading your motherboard. However, read the entire following guide to be sure of your decision.
When To Upgrade Motherboard? — Top 8 Reasons
While you’re already capable of deciding whether you need to upgrade your motherboard or not, this section tells you more about the topic in fine detail. See the following reasons when you can upgrade your older motherboard with a better one.
New CPU Compatibility
If upgrading to a new and more powerful CPU, ensure that your current motherboard’s socket and chipset support it.
NOTE: Some motherboards can become compatible through BIOS updates; check the manufacturer’s support page before opting for an entirely new board.
Better RAM Support
If you need to switch to a different DDR generation for optimal performance or require more RAM slots for a specific configuration, upgrading the motherboard becomes necessary.
If you have a motherboard launched before 2014, we are sure that there is going to be a DDR3 RAM kit on it. And if you want to go for a better DDR4 RAM kit, you’ll need a new, robust board. NOTE: Get a mobo that supports 4 DDR4 dual-/quad-channel memory kits.
Improved Storage And PCIe Support
If your current motherboard lacks M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs or PCIe slots for additional graphics cards, upgrading may be needed for better storage and graphics support.
NOTE: If you want a new motherboard solely due to the lack of an M.2 slot, consider using a PCIe to M.2 expansion card. It may work! But you may need to adopt particular BIOS settings, such as PCIe bifurcation, to make this work. Try this before buying a mobo.
If your system faces performance bottlenecks due to incompatible components (CPU, GPU, RAM, or storage), upgrading the motherboard may be necessary to support faster components.
But remember, the motherboard can’t be directly blamed for bottlenecking since it does nothing in processing. It is rather a platform for the other components to perform. Bottleneck happens when the connected components, such as CPU, GPU and RAM, lags.
These components can lag either because they are low tier or not getting enough voltage/power from the mobo’s VRM module. Only upgrading the motherboard is the second reason.
Need For New Features And Future-Proofing
If you require new features such as Thunderbolt ports, USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or plan to future-proof your system with the latest technologies like PCIe Gen5 lanes, DDR5 RAM, and more M.2 slots, upgrading the motherboard is a sensible choice.
Gamers and content creators know the importance of overclocking. These tech enthusiasts need motherboards with suitable chipsets (e.g., B or X series for AMD, Z series for Intel) and high-quality VRM (Voltage Regulatory Module) for stability.
So, If you’re one of these enthusiasts or general users who want a rugged system but your motherboard lacks overclocking features, upgrade it. Ensure your new motherboard has at least 12+1 power phases design or, even better, necessary for overclocking.
Damaged Or Bricked Motherboard
If your motherboard is damaged, experiencing frequent issues like BSOD, POST errors, or performance degradation, or if it gets bricked due to a failed BIOS update, you may need to upgrade to a new motherboard.
Typical Advantages Of Upgrading A Motherboard
On upgrading the motherboard, a tech enthusiast can unlock many advantages. Although it depends on your setup and specifications, these are the typical pros.
Newer processors support the latest processor generations, faster RAM speeds, and storage options with faster storage interfaces like PCIe NVMe and SATA III. All these features let you better overclock and perform your system.
Upgraded motherboards typically offer a wider range of ports, including USB 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 4, and Wi-Fi 6/6E for faster data transfer and seamless wireless connectivity.
Better Design And Reduced Power Consumption.
Newer motherboards have the latest design and excellent build quality. They are also designed with improved power efficiency technologies, leading to lower energy bills and a more environmentally friendly PC.
What To Consider When Replacing A Motherboard?
So, finally, you have decided to replace the motherboard on your computer. If so, it is time to go through a few factors you should consider when getting a new motherboard.
Choose Appropriate Memory Type And Capacity
When getting a new motherboard, ensure it has 4 RAM slots, not 2, with DDR4 RAM kit compatibility. Go for one with dual-channel memory architecture or choose a quad-channel one with enough budget.
Next, go through CPU compatibility. Ensure the new motherboard has the right CPU socket. If possible (and your CPU isn’t that old), get a motherboard with the same socket as your processor is compatible with to save money.
Look For PCIe 4.0 Support
Ensure the mobo supports PCIe 4.0, not PCIe 3.0, to get adequate bandwidths and speeds, especially with SSDs and graphics cards. Moreover, ensure enough PCIe slots and M.2 slots for the connectivity. We suggest having a mobo with a dual M.2 NVMe slot.
Consider The Other Aspects As Well.
Don’t forget the other nice-to-have such as Gbe 2.5, Thunderbolt 3/4, onboard Wi-Fi, USB-C 10G, etc. Once you have gone through all these aspects, in the end, grab the motherboard that comes with a good warranty of at least 2 years.
Simply put, the decision to upgrade your motherboard depends on several factors. To get an answer in Yes or No, you must consider the motherboard’s current performance, compatibility with existing components, need for new technologies and features, and your budget.
If your motherboard meets your performance/overclocking needs, supports the components you want, and aligns with future plans, upgrading may not be necessary. However, if you think something is missing in your system, and it will come by upgrading the mobo, go for it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Is The Lifespan Of A Motherboard?
Generally, a well-maintained motherboard can last 10 to 15 years without encountering significant issues. However, the hardware components fitted on it become outdated over time. So, you may need to upgrade it every 6 to 8 years even if it functions fine.
Can I Upgrade My Motherboard Without Changing Other PC Components?
Yes, you can upgrade your motherboard without altering the rest of your PC components. However, ensure that all the components, such as CPU, graphics card, RAM, storage devices, etc., are compatible with it to prevent bottlenecks.
Can I Replace A Motherboard With One From A Different Brand?
Yes, users can replace a motherboard with a unit from a different brand. All you need to do is to ensure compatibility during the replacement or upgrade process. The new motherboard must have suitable slots, sockets, and interface support.
What Is The Price Range For Motherboards?
The price of motherboards varies based on their segment. While budget-oriented motherboards cost $60 to $150, midrange units come with a $150 to $150 price tag. However, high-end premium versions may cost around $250 to a whopping $1000.