How To Identify Motherboard

Been having some technical issues and need to know how to identify a motherboard? It's not as hard as you might fear, since on desktops the design is fairly standardized. Laptops can be much more difficult because individual manufacturers have different designs, some even splitting the motherboard into separate pieces! Even these, however, should be easy to identify once some basic concepts are understood.

To identify a motherboard, you will need:

  • A computer (optional)

While you can technically identify a motherboard outside of a computer, it's generally easiest at that point to just see if the box says "Motherboard" on it. These guidelines still apply to unboxed motherboards, however.

  1. Visual Identification The motherboard is the big circuitboard that all the other pieces in the computer are plugged in to. The motherboard generally lies along the vertical side wall of desktop cases, though other mountings are possible. The easiest way to identify a motherboard is to look for the largest circuitboard in the computer. The motherboard is also designed to poke through the case at various points. You should see a few USB ports, a monitor port, a mouse and keyboard port, and a few other various connectors that stick out the back of the computer that are all part of the motherboard.
  2. Part Identification The motherboard is also the part of the computer in which the CPU is set. You probably won't be able to see the CPU on your motherboard, but you will be able to see the large fan that's mounted on top of the CPU. Look for the CPU cooling fan, and you'll find the motherboard! Note that this is oftentimes not the case with laptops, in which case you can just find the CPU without the fan.
  3. Power Supply Identification Along the top of your case there should be a box with lots of wires running out of it. Find the biggest, thickest cable and follow it to where it is plugged in. This should be your motherboard power line, and it terminates at your motherboard. This too will not work for laptops.

With these three easy steps you should be able to identify your motherboard in no time, every time


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