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Thread: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

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    Question Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    My motherboard (Abit AX8) has some duff capacitors. In fact I think it had at least one from day 1, but it's 3-4 years old now. The question is, how easy/affordable/worthwhile is it to replace only the faulty capacitors? Or am I as well just getting a new mobo (and probably CPU and RAM)?

    Bear in mind that in a month or two I'll be building a new PC from scratch, and this one will only be a secondary one, so I'm not looking for a performance boost. Also, if I get a new mobo, I'd be gutted at having to format my system drive and lose all my Giveawayoftheday.com games. So I'd like to avoid having to change motherboards if possible. Unless there's a way of 'de-branding' my Windows installation (uninstalling all Abit software etc)?

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Cheers.

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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    There are a few re-capping tutorials at badcaps but one problem could be finding replacements of the same physical size and ratings. Farnell or RS are the best bet, but I can see the cost ending up over £20 with no guarantee of success. How are your fine soldering skills?

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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpemma View Post
    There are a few re-capping tutorials at badcaps but one problem could be finding replacements of the same physical size and ratings. Farnell or RS are the best bet, but I can see the cost ending up over £20 with no guarantee of success. How are your fine soldering skills?
    If I'm honest, probably not quite up to the mark. But I may know a man who can. He's been known to chip consoles in the past, before it became highly illegal

    I'm probably kidding myself though, and should just opt for the new motherboard approach. Any idea if I can get away with not reinstalling Windows if I change brands etc?

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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    Unless they are some funny type if you know somebody with soldering skills swapping caps should be easy (provided they have a decent iron and some solder wick). The real question is if you want to make a project of it. I'd personally find it great fun to swap out the caps, but you mileage (and nerdiness) may vary.

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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    Why not try to find a replacement of the same type? Ebay perhaps?
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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    Quote Originally Posted by Numenor View Post
    Any idea if I can get away with not reinstalling Windows if I change brands etc?
    Usual way is to remove all board device drivers (in Device Manager) before the mobo swap and then let Win re-install the new set. There's a long thread at Ars may help.

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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    Quote Originally Posted by Numenor View Post
    I'm probably kidding myself though, and should just opt for the new motherboard approach. Any idea if I can get away with not reinstalling Windows if I change brands etc?
    Some people do it all the time and say it causes them no problems, although personally I wouldn't be confident that the system was 100% stable without a clean install on a new mobo. You should probably remove as many drivers (particulary the mobo chipset drivers) as possible *before* you dismantle the machine, and maybe boot into safe mode and run a driver cleaner utility for good measure.

    /edit: the guy above beat me to it...

    Quote Originally Posted by Betty_Swallocks View Post
    Why not try to find a replacement of the same type? Ebay perhaps?
    That was my first thought as well, but I did a quick search and there weren't any Abit AX8s for sale. I did find an Asus board using the same chipset (Via K8T890), which I guess would probably stand a good chance of success.

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    Re: Mobo troubles - replace capacitors or replace board?

    Thanks for the helpful comments guys. I wish I could get to the site during the day to offer more frequent feedback, but Surfcontrol says no. In no particular order:

    I'd be inclined to avoid buying a replacement AX8 in case the fault is too commonly found on that model.

    The Asus board is the wrong socket type, thanks though

    I agree that it would be immense fun to repair the board myself, but I don't possess a soldering iron etc so I'd be paying quite a lot for the experiment. I'm quite into tinkering though (fitted my own lightswitches/sockets etc, and build my own computers) so I could consider it the costs of a hobby rather than a repair bill...

    If it looks easy enough to get away with a non-like-for-like replacement though, I'd also consider that a viable option. Might have to flip a coin.

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