How to Test Motherboard without CPU? – 7 Steps

You might know that motherboard is considered as the central nervous system of the computer while the CPU acts as its brain. You can check your new or existing motherboard to make sure it’s working. Thus, a common question comes into mind: how to test motherboard without CPU?

The steps for testing a new motherboard include that you place it on a cardboard, install the heat sink and fan, plug in the power connectors and install the RAM before powering it on. Similarly, you can test your current motherboard in the casing after removing the CPU and turning on the power. In both cases, you will see the LEDs illuminating or fans spinning which means the motherboard is running without CPU.

It’s the motherboard that’s responsible to relay information between the internal components of the computer. For this reason, it’s essential to have a stably performing unit to make a working PC.

Below we talk in detail about steps that you can follow to test your motherboard with a CPU.

How to Test Motherboard without CPU?

how to test motherboard without cpu
Testing your motherboard without CPU could be part of your larger process of diagnosing issues  in your PC.

When building a PC or checking the existing desktop computer for problems, many users like to find whether the motherboard is good or bad in the absence of CPU.

Here’s how you can determine the above fact for both new and currently existing motherboards.

Also Read:

Checking Your New Motherboard

If you purchased a new box-packed motherboard, here’s is the procedure to check it without the CPU:

  1. First, unbox your motherboard. Next, remove it and set it on the anti-static foam in the packaging or a large piece of cardboard. This is because static electricity from your hands or body could damage the motherboard.

For this purpose, you use can use an anti-static wrist strap or touch the metal portion of the casing when handling the motherboard.

  1. Without installing the processor, install the heatsink and fan. For best practices, it’s best to use the cooler that came with your processor.
  2. Next, you can plug in the 8-pin and 24-pin power connectors, making sure it’s connected to the power supply unit. You can also refer to the motherboard’s manual in this regard.
  3. You can then install a memory stick in the 1st channel memory slot.
  4. Then turn the motherboard on from the power button situated on it.
  5. You will see the fans spinning and the LEDs on the motherboard illuminating and flashing. In some cases, you might also hear a specific number of beeps. This will give you an indication that the new motherboard is powering on and not DOA.
  6. You can power off and then go-ahead to build your computer. Make sure you take care of static electricity before handling the motherboard and other components.

Checking Your Existing Motherboard

You can also check and test your existing motherboard if you suspect that it’s not working properly.

  1. Make sure you properly follow the steps to remove the processor from the motherboard. As the processor and its socket are fragile parts, so handle them with care.
  2. Let the casing of your computer to remain open after you have removed the processor.
  3. Plug the computer into the power outlet and then turn on the power supply unit switch on the back of your case (in case your computer has one).
  4. After checking for the power supply, turn on the computer.
  5. If your motherboard is working, you will see that the motherboard lights up and the fans spinning. Note that some motherboards models will illuminate with LEDs of specific colors such as red that will indicate that the processor is missing.
  6. You might also hear some beeps if your motherboard has a speaker or if it’s attached to an external speaker. However, the screen will remain completely blank and the system will not be able to make it past the POST test and boot eventually.
  7. You can turn off the computer and reinstall the processor after you have done the checking procedure.

Review the Outcomes of Testing Your Motherboard in the Absence of CPU

motherboard lights
Motherboards have several lights indicating its health. If they don’t turn on, then something is wrong.

The above methods make sure that the motherboard will at least power on when you build your PC. However, they do not in any way cause damage to your motherboard in the absence of CPU if you perform the steps correctly. There’s also no proof or evidence in this regard.

If your motherboard fails to power up and doesn’t show signs such as illuminating LEDs and beeps, then it means that it’s bad from the start. Then you should ask for a replacement from the seller or manufacturer. In such a situation, you should not disclose that you attempted to check the motherboard without CPU.

If there are other problems with the motherboard and even it powers on, you may have to plug in the CPU to better diagnose the problem. This will also give you a clear picture of its efficiency in performance and connectivity.

Keep in mind that the above procedures work for desktop computers that you are building. For laptops, it’s not in any way possible to test the motherboard without CPU.

Why Test Your Motherboard without CPU?

Imagine you are building your computer and you just purchased a new motherboard. If there’s a fault in it and it’s DOA (dead on arrival), it may become more problematic to identify the root cause after you are done building your computer.

Keeping in mind this reason, many desktop PC builders and gamers prefer to test their new motherboards without even installing the respective CPUs.

This is because as motherboards are sensitive components of the computer, they are prone to damage especially due to mishandling from shipping. There also can be a factory error to provide a non-functional motherboard.

So, testing this essential component without installing other components like the CPU ensures that it is powering on and working.

In case you have an existing motherboard that you want to check, you can remove the processor and then power on your computer. This will give you an indication that your motherboard is at least working.

Also Read: Best Micro ATX Motherboards for Ryzen

Is Your PC Not Booting?


In this article, we looked at the procedures that are the answer to the query many have in their minds: how to test motherboard without CPU.

While we reiterate that the procedures are fairly safe, we advise that you exercise caution especially if you are a PC builder or seeking to be one. This is because any mishandling or error on your side can also damage the motherboard.

So, perform the steps carefully to test the motherboard. Otherwise, you can always consult a certified computer technician to check the motherboard if your computer is experiencing problems.

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We are team of two engineers with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware. is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.