PC Gear Lab

7 Reasons When to Upgrade Motherboard

There are quite several things you can do to increase the performance of your computer. Modern desktops are very modular meaning that you can easily change one component and the device won’t be negatively affected as long as they’re compatible.

For this reason, many users will find that buying a device and constantly upgrading it to keep it at peak performance is a great idea, especially when you don’t need to change the whole system at once.

While motherboards are rarely changed. There comes a time when upgrading the crucial component becomes a necessity. Here we will talk about when to upgrade motherboard specifically.

Again, upgrading motherboards is not seen as common as some of the easy upgrades you can do to a computer like storage upgrade or a memory upgrade.

Here are some circumstances when upgrading the motherboard is necessary.

Also Read: What is motherboard form factor?

When to Upgrade Motherboard

The following are seven reasons when upgrading motherboard becomes important.

1. When You Need Newer Faster RAM

DIMM Slot 2
DIMM Slot house the RAM. Upgrading RAM is an important reason for MOBO upgrade.

As mentioned, you can easily change the amount of memory in your device. This is through swapping a low memory module for a larger memory capacity module.

The problem with this is that you will always be required to replace the old module with a new one of the same type. So, if the older one was a DDR3 RAM then the newer one will always need to be a DDR3 module as well.

You won’t be able to swap in say a DDR4 stick as an upgrade as the two aren’t compatible. In this case, you will need to get a motherboard that supports DDR4 memory.

This becomes an issue when you have very old system that support much older RAM modules like DDR2. Not only are DDR2 scarce, their scarcity also makes them more expensive.

Additionally, some motherboards have few RAM slots and depending on your usage, you may need more RAM than the slots can carry.

As you can’t add more RAM slots, you will also need to buy a new motherboard with the extra slots.

This becomes when you decide to work or game on a professional level. For example, video editors require a whole lot of RAM. This is when a motherboard upgrade would make sense.

Also Read: Motherboard vs Circuit Board

2. When You Need Additional Storage

Some users run applications where they are required to have multiple mass storage devices like Hard disks and SSDs.

Chances are that your motherboard will have slots for extra storage. However, in cases where users need to have several mass storage devices connected to the same motherboard internally, a problem arises. Without the extra slots, the only option on the table is to get a new motherboard that has the extra slots.

Storage units are generally connected via SATA or M.2 slots. M.2 slots are used for SSDs and they can only be expanded via PCIe expansion slots.

If your motherboard also has very limited PCIe slots, then installing more SSD becomes an issue.

A normal home user would not find much use for a huge amount of storage, however, for multimedia user, professionals who run RAID storage setup would need a lot of storage connectivity slots.

Also Read: Best Motherboards with Bluetooth

3. To Upgrade Your Processor or When Sockets Don’t Match

CPU socket and processor
CPU placed on top of a CPU socket on a motherboard.

A lot of the time, the processor and the motherboard are a two-piece combo. What this means is that while you can easily swap out different RAM modules provided that they are the same type, a CPU requires a very specific socket on the board.

You may find that you need a certain superior version processor but its pin placement doesn’t match the kind of socket on your motherboard.

As a result, you will need to upgrade your motherboard to one that can support the processor you want.

Also Read: Motherboard vs CPU

4. When You Need More Ports and Slots

People’s needs change and whatever you had intended to do with your computer before you purchased it may evolve.

When you find that to work on your computer you need more slots and peripheral expandability than your current motherboard has, you may need to upgrade the board.

A good example of such a case is where you need a PCIe slot for extra graphics cards but the ones you have are already occupied by components like network card, sound card etc that you don’t want to remove.

A new motherboard that’s compatible with the needed components, as well as the ones you have, can come in handy thus necessitating the need for an upgrade.

5. Newer PCIe Version

PCIe slots come in x16, x 8 and x4 bandwidth sizes and in different version. The latest version in v4.

Another very important consideration is the PCIe protocol VERSION the motherboard operates at. PCIe v1 is slower than PCIe v2. Likewise. PCIe v2 is slower than PCIe v3.

The latest generation of motherboards offer PCIe v4. Newer PCIe version offer faster transfer speeds and in return much better performance.

In time, components operating on older PCIe version may even go obsolete.

6. When You Need a New PC

Over time, you may find yourself upgrading to newer components like processors and memory while still maintaining the same board.

If this goes on long enough, you may start to notice performance drops and other issues. However, you realize that most of the components you have are pretty new and cannot be the cause of the problems.

With new components on an old board, you create performance bottlenecks that can render the entire system sluggish at the very least.

So, when the board is too old and has served its purpose well, you may need to upgrade it for a new one that’s compatible with the components you have.

Additionally, the board may still work just fine, but has grown obsolete and no longer functions with newer components like graphics cards.

In this case, to get to use the new components, an upgrade will be necessary.

Also Read: What is a motherboard?

7. When the Board is Damaged

This is the worst-case scenario and also the most obvious that warrants a new board. When the board has received irreparable damage, it is necessary to replace it.

At this juncture, you may also need to consider making an upgrade instead of going for one at the same level as the previous motherboard as it can give you newer features, expandability, and performance.

Problems with Upgrading the Motherboard

You may have compelling reasons to upgrade your motherboard and have even identified the board you want.

There’s just a slight problem. With the new motherboard, especially when upgrading to a different form factor or generation, you may find that some of your older modules are no longer compatible with the new board. This can be the case with your processor and RAM especially.

A motherboard upgrade may require you to consider changing other parts of the system including the case and the power supply if they are incompatible.

Conclusion

Upgrading your computer’s motherboard should be an exciting thing to do. Apart from the fact that you’re possibly getting a performance boost, you will also get to use newer components that go hand in hand with the new board.

Here we talked specifically about when to upgrade motherboard and there are plenty of reasons when doing so becomes important.

With an upgrade, you can get more ports and slots for your peripherals. You also get to keep some of the older components you had as long as they can be integrated into the new board without compatibility issues.

Nevertheless, upgrading your motherboard should be accompanied with a valid reason and an open mind as you may need to spend money on other new components.

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