Caring for a PC motherboard: tips, uses, and techniques

Caring for a PC motherboard

The motherboard is one of the most important elements of the PC (not to say the most, since absolutely everything else is connected to it), and unfortunately it is, after the power supply and the storage units, the element that most frequently breaks down. However, if you take proper care of it, a motherboard can last the entire life of the PC , and in this article we are going to give you a series of tips so that you know what maintenance and care tasks you should carry out for it.

As a PC user, you will know that you have to do some regular maintenance on your computer’s hardware -especially in terms of cleaning tasks- to keep it in good condition and thus extend its useful life. Exactly the same thing happens with the motherboard, but it is also necessary to take a series of precautions and care when handling it since, due to its size and number of circuits, solders, components and connectors, it is much more delicate than other elements. .

Tips for handling the motherboard

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As we said a moment ago, the motherboard is quite a delicate element due to its large size and the number of components, connectors and welds that make up its entire surface. For this reason, when you are about to assemble, disassemble or even clean the motherboard there are a series of precautions that you should take in order to prevent it from being accidentally damaged.

Beware of static electricity

Always discharge static electricity before touching it. The human body has a certain amount of static electricity, and touching no longer a motherboard but any other electronic element could damage it. To do this, just touch for a couple of seconds some metallic element such as a radiator or the side cover of your PC case.

Unplug everything before

Never touch the motherboard with the PC plugged in (and even less, turned on). It is obvious that you should never touch the motherboard with the PC turned on, but since motherboards have enough capacitors that accumulate energy even with the computer turned off, it is recommended that if you have to touch the motherboard, in addition to discharging electricity static make sure that the PC is completely unplugged from the power and, in addition, that it has been at least a couple of minutes since you unplugged it until you touch the component. Only then can you have guarantees that the electrical elements have been completely discharged.

Hold the motherboard properly

When you have to hold the motherboard , never do it directly from the PCB, as it is one of the most fragile elements. In the image above you have the correct way to do it: with your fingers underneath to hold, and above the area of the RAM memory sockets, since the plastic and metal with which they are built gives that area of greater rigidity. Alternatively, the chipset heatsink area is good too.

Don’t hit the plate

When installing the motherboard in the PC case, always make sure to do it diagonally , making the rear connector area go in first and then carefully placing it on the brass anchors, matching the holes. Never slide it off, otherwise these brackets could scratch and damage the back of the PCB.

Use soft surfaces

If you take the motherboard out of the PC case (for example, when you intend to mount it or if you disassemble it for cleaning), make sure that you do not leave it on a metal or excessively hard surface, such as glass. It is always best to leave it on a cloth, antistatic plastic or cardboard to avoid damage.

By following these five tips, you shouldn’t have any trouble handling a motherboard.

Cleanliness is essential

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Generally, the motherboard is mounted in the PC case vertically, so the area that tends to accumulate the most dirt is precisely the upper one. Despite this, all areas of the motherboard, and especially the recesses that remain between the RAM sockets, heatsinks, PCI-Express sockets, etc. They have to inevitably accumulate dust, and you already know that dust with heat turns into soot and this conducts electricity, which can lead to misfortune.

Therefore, the cleaning of the motherboard is as or more important than that of any other element of the PC, and therefore it is advisable to spend some time from time to time to leave it as clean as possible, within what it fits. The ideal is to completely disassemble the motherboard from the PC, place it on a cardboard box and carry out a thorough cleaning, using a soft and clean brush and, if necessary, even with a spray of compressed air for those nooks that are difficult to access. (Needless to say, don’t ever use a vacuum cleaner).

When cleaning the base plate with a brush , make sure that it has a soft hair (be careful with the typical paint brushes because they have very hard hair) and that it is completely clean. Never press too hard, pass the brush gently everywhere and always in the same direction if possible, so that all the dirt you remove from its surface goes to the same side.

Cleaning the motherboard “on top”

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However, if you do not want to get into the mess that involves having to disassemble your entire PC to clean it inside, here are our recommendations for cleaning “above” that, at least, will help you remove most of the dust accumulated:

  • Turn off and completely unplug your computer.
  • Remove the side of the box and lay it horizontally on a solid, firm surface.
  • Remove the graphics card and RAM. If possible, also remove the heatsink (so you can take the opportunity to clean it as well and change the thermal paste).
  • Now, taking great care especially with the connections, clean as best you can with the brush. Here it is even more important to do it in one direction so that all the crap ends up on the same side.
  • Once finished, clean the area where the dirt has been with a cloth to leave it clean.
  • Reassemble the heatsink, RAM, and graphics card and plug it all in again.

Although this process is not, let’s say, a thorough cleaning, if you do it regularly you will get the plate to be more or less clean and thus extend its useful life.