Motherboard: When and why to upgrade it

If you're not sure when to deal with your motherboard, here are six reasons why upgrading it is essential.

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If you have started and you see delays on your computer, maybe it's time for an upgrade. Apart from your hard drives, ram etc you may be wondering if you should touch your motherboard.

The motherboard is an essential part of your system, but it is not always easy to know when it's time to upgrade.

See: How long do the components of a computer last?

If you want to achieve such a radical change then you will find that replacing it is probably an expensive purchase, but it can also bring you benefits in terms of speed, hardware support and better graphics support.

We will explain some of the reasons why you should upgrade your motherboard and some thoughts that you should keep in mind when doing so.

1. Faster CPU

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One of the main reasons to upgrade your motherboard is a new, faster CPU. If your CPU is rather new, the performance gains from upgrading to a newer one will probably be minimal.

However, if you have a processor that is three years old or older, you will notice a huge difference in a newer processor. For example, the leap from an older Intel 3rd generation CPU to an extremely fast and modern 12th generation CPU will be particularly noticeable.

But to upgrade your CPU, you also need to upgrade your motherboard. CPUs from different generations use different slots and may require a different chipset from your existing motherboard.

Upgrading your motherboard for better gaming is also a good idea. At least, with the problems the global hardware market continues to face these days, buying a better motherboard and installing a faster CPU is probably cheaper than getting a graphics card. However, in more normal times and when the market evens out again, buying a new GPU is often the easiest way to make a game perform better.

2. Faster RAM

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Upgrading to a newer RAM class requires a motherboard to support these new RAM drives. If you are currently using DDR3, for example, you can not jump to DDR4 or later DDR5 without first changing the motherboard and CPU.

When a new RAM is released, it's the perfect opportunity to consider whether or not you need to upgrade your motherboard. However, the difference between RAM generations varies. Upgrading from DDR3 RAM to DDR5 RAM will be a major boost but you will need a new motherboard to support the latest generation of RAM, as the DDR5 RAM configuration differs from previous generations (like any new RAM iteration) .

Simply put, if you buy a DDR5 RAM drive and try to mount it on your old motherboard, it just won't fit.

3. Better graphics card

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All of the above reasons are good, but in our opinion, this is the biggest reason to upgrade your motherboard.

If you are a gamer or video game developer, a new combination of CPU / motherboard and a higher performance GPU will make your computer feel like a completely different machine.

As a result, games will run faster and with less lag , and will allow you to increase in-game settings to run at sharper graphics levels than your previous card. (Depending on when you last upgraded, that is.)

If you are not a gamer and you are a simpler internet user, the best thing for your pocket would be an upgrade to RAM or an SSD and you can skip the GPU upgrade altogether. Either way, it's always worth considering upgrading your motherboard for faster hardware.

4. Faster data transfers

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Another reason to upgrade your motherboard is faster data transfer. Upgrading to SATA III or USB 3.0 increases the data transfer speed from one hardware to another. For example, SATA III has a maximum rated speed of 6 Gbps and USB 3.0 reaches 5 Gbps. The latest USB versions are even faster, with USB 3.1 delivering at 10 Gbps and USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 pushing them to 20 Gbps.

SATA and USB are not the only data transfer upgrades available. A new motherboard will support the latest PCIe standards, allowing you to use incredibly fast PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 drives that can now offer read / write speeds of up to 7000 MB / s!

It is difficult to push your motherboard and storage devices to use their maximum communication capacity. Whatever you do, it is unlikely that your devices will make full use of it. However, upgrading a motherboard to support newer, faster hardware will make data transfer faster, regardless of your settings.

5. You have damaged parts

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Damaged motherboards are a rare but huge problem. Broken pins, disconnected plugs, static discharge and other problems will lead you to the service of your area and hopefully you will have a professional treatment.

The same goes for fire damage, water, dust and even shocks. Remember, a CPU / motherboard upgrade is one of the most expensive upgrades you can make to your existing computer.

If you are unsure of your ability to match the various components or assemble everything correctly, it is always best to choose a professional to do the work for you instead of training and bearing the cost of replacing a damaged material.

6. You want new possibilities

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You might be under the impression that motherboards don't have exciting features and they are not worth bothering with. But there are technological developments in the motherboard world. And you might want to upgrade to take advantage of them.

The benefits of a motherboard upgrade vary. For example, you may want to use an M.2 SSD, a small SSD that is screwed directly to your motherboard. But you will need a motherboard that supports M.2 disks to work. Or maybe you want a PC that supports fast Thunderbolt 3 transfers, so you'll need a Thunderbolt 3 connectivity motherboard.

You may want to play with your system by doing your CPU. To do this, you will need not only an overclockable CPU, but also a motherboard that supports overclocking.

And of course you may want to install Windows 11 and you want a machine with TPM and UEFI instead of the BIOS you have now run out of. Even if you are not a big fan of Microsoft and do not care about Windows 11, computer technology is evolving really fast both in terms of hardware and software. So if you want to run Adobe After Effects and have a motherboard at 32bit quickly find out that you are far behind technologically.

Pay attention to compatibility issues

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To facilitate the motherboard upgrade, you will need to match your new hardware to your existing hardware, or re-purchase the entire you.

The crucial part is that the motherboard and the CPU have to match. More specifically, the CPU socket on the motherboard must match that of the CPU socket. So, for example, if the motherboard supports LGA 1150, your CPU should also support it.

There are other issues, such as BIOS compatibility, TDP support, and the number of SATA ports. You can use websites, such as PC Part Picker, an invaluable site to check if your components are compatible.

Selecting the correct RAM
Remember that selecting DDR3, DDR4, and the appearance of DDR5 RAM means that you need to be very careful to ensure that your motherboard / CPU combination is capable of handling the specified memory of your choice. If it is not, you will need to upgrade.

The frequencies and voltage of the RAM must also match the desired range of the motherboard. That is, if you have 2400 MHz RAM and use it with a 2133 MHz CPU at 1,65V, you may experience compatibility issues that could be detrimental to performance or cause the machine to fail.

Again, PC Part Picker is your friend when you upgrade a motherboard and buy new RAM, as it will point out any incompatible hardware and explain why there is a problem.

Watch out for Bottlenecks when upgrading your motherboard

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Remember that the motherboard is connected to the CPU, RAM, hard disk, SSD, GPU and other hardware, so it is not only important to ensure compatibility, but also to avoid data congestion somewhere in the system. That is, do not create a bottleneck.

No matter how fast your CPU/motherboard combination is, it still depends on existing adapter cards that control video, storage, and processing speed (as related to RAM). If any of these is at its limits, incompatible, or lagging in performance, your entire machine can lag with or without your new CPU/motherboard combo.

One site to calculate Bottleneck on your system is pc-builds.com here.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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