Modern computer components are easy DIY enabled. Hence, most people now tend to build their own PC by purchasing individual components.
If you are also building your own PC, then you need to test the components when they arrive to make sure there weren’t (Dead on Arrival).
For example, consider you have built a PC and now it is not working. You might get confused about what caused the problem. Maybe one of the components was dead on arrival but now you would have to check them again, and it will be a waste of effort.
Hence, if you had already checked the motherboard before even installing the CPU, then you will know whether it has any problem or not.
So, to help you out, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to test your mobo without a CPU.
Step-by-Step Guide to Test your Motherboard
PC builders need to bench test their motherboard without a CPU before installing it into the system so that they can make sure the motherboard isn’t faulty.
You can also perform this test if your PC isn’t working properly and you want to check whether the issue resides in your motherboard or not.
Follow the steps below to perform this test properly:
1. Non-Static Base
First of all, take the motherboard out of the box and place it on the box or another non-static base like cardboard or foam. Make sure you don’t place the mobo on a metallic conductor.
The reason for that is the sensitive solder points beneath the motherboard. If any charge connects them, you might end up ruining your motherboard.
Hence, you must place the mobo in a non-conductive space.
2. Power Supply Unit and Connectors
Next, you will need to plug in the power connectors to your motherboard. There will be two connecting spots, one for the CPU and the other for the motherboard.
The CPU connector will have 8 pins and the mobo connector with having 24 pins. However, if you are using the older model motherboard, it might have only 4 pins.
These connectors will come with the power supply unit. Once you plug in the connectors, you can turn on the power supply by plugging it in on the wall socket.
3. Turn On the MOBO
There are quite a few tricks to turn on the motherboard. Mainly it depends on whether you have installed the motherboard inside a PC case or do you want to test it without installing it in the case.
First of all, if you have installed it in the case then connect the power on switch pins and simply press the power-on button on the PC case.
If you didn’t install the motherboard in this case, then you can proceed to other methods.
Modern motherboards have a manual POST switch or turn-on button installed on them that can be used for self-testing. However, if you have an older motherboard, you can either resort to placing it near the PC Case or jumpstart it.
For the former method, you can place the motherboard near your PC Case on a non-static base and then connect the power-on cables with it from the PC Case to turn it on.
For the latter method, you need to take a screwdriver and connect the two pins of the power switch on the front panel header. Make sure you don’t touch any other pins.
This last method is quite risky and you might end up frying your whole motherboard with even a bit of carelessness. However, if you only touch two pins, no problems will arise.
4. LED Lights and Speakers
After you turn your mobo on, it will be flashing LED lights or beeping if it has internal speakers. This beeping and flashing of lights will indicate the missing components like RAM, HDD, CPU, etc.
Hence, your motherboard is working properly. You can connect the components and check whether the beeping stops or not.
However, if your motherboard doesn’t possess speakers or LED lights, then you can install a speaker yourself to test the motherboard. There are pins beside power pins where you can manually install a speaker and beeping code for manual testing.
So, you have finally checked whether your motherboard is okay or not. These are the most effective ways to check your motherboard.
Alternative Ways to Check MOBO
There are also some other ways to test your motherboard. First is the method to check whether current is passing through your mobo or not.
In the first method, you will connect the PC Case Fans with the fan header on the motherboard. After turning the mobo on, if the fans are running that means the current is passing through your motherboard and it’s working fine.
You can also test your motherboard using a multimeter, but that is complex and requires some experience.
You can follow a YouTube guide on it and watch it step by step. However, if you are already familiar with the use of a multimeter then we will explain it in a nutshell.
First of all, remove the power source from the motherboard and let all the charges drain. Keep the black lead of the multimeter on the chassis and point on all the pins one by one by red lead. All the readings should be zero.
If you get any difference in reading, then there is a problem. If all readings are zero, then your motherboard is perfectly fine and working.
Precautions You Must Take
There are certain precautions that you must take to keep your motherboard safe.
First of all, you must always place your motherboard on a non-static base while testing. There are a lot of solder points on the base of the motherboard and if you place it on a conducting metallic surface, they will connect and fry.
Hence, you might end up ruining your whole motherboard. So, this precaution is mandatory.
Similarly, there is also a static charge in your hands which might damage the delicate portions of a motherboard. Hence, you must use gloves when working on the motherboard.
For personal safety, wear rubber or plastic slippers on your feet. Don’t work with bare feet because you will need to plug in the power supply.
Also, make sure that the power supply is grounded so that the motherboard remains safe from excessive charge.
Will Motherboard Testing Without CPU Show Display?
No, it won’t. Motherboard requires a CPU to show display on the screen. Without a processor, your motherboard won’t display anything.
Now, some people think this is because of the absence of graphic processing on the motherboard. Well, that notion is entirely wrong.
If your motherboard has an onboard graphic processor, even then it won’t show a display. The graphic processor also needs a CPU in order to provide it with information.
Since the display isn’t showing, you can’t even enter the BIOS on your system without installing the CPU on your motherboard.
However, a certain exception is observed with ASUS motherboards. Although you won’t be able to see BIOS or display with them, you have the option of updating or flashing BIOS even without a CPU on your motherboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you test the motherboard without a CPU?
Yes, you can. You just need to connect it to a power supply unit. If your motherboard has internal speakers or LED lights, they will tell you whether it’s working or not. We have shared a detailed guide on this subject in the above article.
How do I manually test my motherboard?
To manually test your motherboard, you can either install speaker and beeping codes. They are cheap to get into the market. You can also test it with fans. You can read our above article for more details and methods of testing.
How do you check a motherboard is working or not?
In a nutshell, install your motherboard inside the PC Case and connect the PSU connectors and power-on connectors. Turn on the power. If the CPU beeps indicating missing parts, then it is working fine.
Will a motherboard boot to BIOS without a CPU?
No, the motherboard won’t boot to BIOS or show any display without the CPU installed. The CPU is mandatory for graphic processing and the mobo alone doesn’t display any graphics on your screen.
Can I test my mobo using fans?
Yes, you can test whether your motherboard is conducting electricity or not using fans. You can simply connect fans with your mobo header and turn on the power supply. However, this method won’t indicate if the issue exists with the ICs of your mobo.
Some Last Words
We have shared a detailed guide with various methods to test your motherboard without a CPU. If you are building your own PC, then you must make sure all the components are working beforehand. Components can be Dead on Arrival, and knowing that beforehand saves you both time and effort.