The computer motherboard is the backbone of your PC. It basically allows communication between the other parts of the computer. Computer motherboards are quite cheap especially in the low-end and even the mid-range market. High-end motherboards can be bit expensive though since they usually have a lot more features and capabilities compared to the lower models. If you want to save a lot of money, you can opt to buy a second hand motherboard. Let me share some guidelines in buying a second hand computer motherboard.
Check the motherboard’s surface for any burns especially around the processor, memory, PCI Express/PCI and power cable slots. Burnt areas can mean that the board was abused or mishandled. This is quite common especially when the computer system is severely overclocked or if it was used with an inefficient power supply unit or system.
And of course, buy a motherboard that will support the other computer parts that you have such as your processor, memory and video card. Buying a wrong one will not even let you properly assemble your PC thus rendering everything useless.
However, before buying a second hand motherboard or even before you start thinking of doing so, I would like to warn you beforehand that among all the vital computer parts, the motherboard can conceal a lot of defects that you might not see immediately. It might already be too late when you find out.
Some of the common hidden defects of a second hand motherboard are problems with the controllers for the processor, memory, PCI/PCI express, and SATA/IDE. Sometimes your devices will work and sometimes they won’t. This intermittent problem usually gets worse as you continue using your computer.
Another simple motherboard defect would be problems with the back panel. This includes the USB ports, PS/2 ports, serial port, parallel port (if there is), video port (if your board has built-in video), LAN, Firewire and even the audio ports. Try to test them if your devices work especially the keyboard/mouse PS/2 ports and the USB ports.
Come to think of it, I would most likely suggest that you purchase a second hand motherboard only if you really need to like if you don’t have that much money to buy a brand new board or if you’re just planning to use it for testing and educational purposes. You just have to be very careful since, as I mentioned above, motherboards can easily hide defects. You most likely won’t find a problem until you test it thoroughly and most of these problems cannot be seen physically. So if you want a motherboard to use on your main computer, I strongly recommend buying a brand new board. You have assurance since you most likely have shop warranty and technical support for your board.