Need opinions about the shelf life of a modern motherboard.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by clownwolf, May 4, 2015.

  1. clownwolf

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 3, 2015
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    I have managed to get three mini-ITX motherboards (GA-F2A88XN-WIFI) that I really love but have currently no use for. I am thinking about storing them until I can get an actual house, which can maybe last for about 4-8 years.

    I have examined them and they have no LEDs, piezo speakers, nor moving parts (no buttons, fans). The part with the supposedly shortest shelf life, the capacitors, are all solid caps. The thing I am worried however, are the motherboard's chips. I have removed the CMOS battery prior, and I am unsure if having no power to the motherboard can cause some kind of BIOS corruption rendering the motherboard dead.

    Aside from that, I really don't see anything that prevents modern motherboards from working if properly stored. Am I right, or should I expect these things to pop their capacitors, or just be plain dead if I boot them up 10 years from now?
     
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    If you manage to store them in static free bags they should be OK, the battery is just to back up the BIOS ram, when re-powering you will get the default settings and a message saying reset BIOS.
    Max.
     
  3. Roderick Young

    Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    The capacitors won't be a problem if the board is powered down. The enemy of electrolytic capacitors is heat, whether generated by ripple and surge currents, or by ambient conditions. At home, I would add server grade fans to our tower computers (I worked at a place that made servers). They're noisy, but the computers last forever.
     
  4. cornishlad

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    Jul 31, 2013
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    In 10 years there will surely be an issue about drivers and a compatible OS. Personally I would sell them on pronto and buy a new one when you need it. 8 > 10 years is a long time in the computer world !
     
  5. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
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    Cornish lad gives good advice.

    Not only will you face software issues but you may well have trouble finding the slot in and cable&plug connected hardware as well.
    Who knows? in 10 years will SATA still be in use?

    Moisture can also damage electronics. If the boards were new they would be sealed in with dessicant.
     
  6. Dodgydave

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2012
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    personally i think anything over 3 years is a lifetime for computers, they change design that fast, get them sold on Ebay, and buy a new one at a later date....
     
    cornishlad likes this.
  7. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    Well, it depends...

    I just retired a Pentium II (yeah, 450MHz, dual processor, with less than 1GB memory) that I built in 1997 or so (upgraded OS to XP as soon as it was available so the second processor would be useful). It was used for internet access, email, word processing, and backing up files. I'd still be using it if something hadn't given out.

    I replaced it with a Pentium IV (3.2GHz, "dual" processor, 4GB memory) running WinXP; because I have a pile of them I refurb and donate to needy families. Like I said, you don't need a fast computer to access the internet and do homework.

    I run Ubuntu on an early generation P4 (Willamette, 1.6GHz, < 1GB memory). It's fine for the software development I do...

    I have faster computers (i7 ultrabook [8GB memory, 256GB SSD], i5 ultrabook, i3 laptop, dual core Conroe desktop, ...), but speed and memory aren't my bottleneck. It's DSL speed.

    To the OP: download a compatible version of Ubuntu or some other distribution; preferably a longterm support version. It will most likely have drivers for old hardware and you can run a Windows emulator for windows stuff you care about. I've tried several applications on Ubuntu (mostly photo editors) and they worked fine. No noticeable slowness.
     
  8. MaxHeadRoom

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    It depends on what part of the computer world you work in, I have to maintain older equipment that uses MB's with ISA slot boards.!
    Many under DOS.
    As long as these production machines are still running and performing it is not feasible to go to the high cost of retro-fit.
    Max.
     
  9. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    In 10 years they will be really cheap on ebay.
     
  10. studiot

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    Nov 9, 2007
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    Yes many have older equiment still in use but some have missed the point.

    If they were given that bare motherboard today, would they have anything to plug into it available?
     
  11. MaxHeadRoom

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    I have sourced replacement MB from ebay, and the Motion card that sits in a ISA slot is still made and supported by the manuf. just relegated to 'Legacy'!
    There are other ways around it, I have used Advantec ISA/PCI Backplane boards that take a PCI computer-on-a-card and the legacy items fit the ISA slot.
    Max.
     
  12. atferrari

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    Not that fast...! Save one to sell as an antique when you buy the one above.
     
  13. dl324

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    It's you who has missed the point. If the OP understands that part availability could be a factor, he needs to address that now. His question was whether he could store them for a decade. The answer is most likely. Someone else inserted their opinion regarding obsolescence.
     
  14. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Look again at the list of additional parts (post#5) required to make the stored motherboard into a working pc.

    If you store the motherboard, you will also have to store these parts.
     
  15. dl324

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    Mar 30, 2015
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    OK, but what is the point? OP asked if he could store a motherboard for 10 years.
    Or you need to be able to acquire them in the future.

    Your point is not relevant to the OP's question.
     
  16. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

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    I think you are just arguing for the sake of it and that is just a waste of everyone's time.

    I said nothing controversial in my post#5,

    I contradicted no one but encouraged one responder, added a storage point of my own and also an additional point to the responses to the OP's stated intention to use the boards after storage.
     
  17. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    No good deed goes unpunished.
     
  18. studiot

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    Maybe that's why I have no hair left.
     
  19. dl324

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    You're correct, it was what you said in post #10.
     
  20. cornishlad

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    Jul 31, 2013
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    without a hint of a grin may I ask if you have processors and memory chips ? You say there is no fan. Fans are AFAIK specific to the processor. You will need to buy three of them now and store. same with the processors. They are not cheap now but in a few years you will only have used ones on eBay etc to source them from. And my experience has been that the price asked for still usuable, but older, processors is unrealistic. Same with memory sticks. Older types are more expensive than new current.
    The foregoing may not be true if things have moved on so far that the MB is completely obsolescent in 10 years and you couldn't give them away.
    The OP has three of these boards....can I ask if he is likely to build three PCs in a few years time ?
    StudioT made the valid point that current expansion slots, interface plugs and sockets and maybe even PSUs or current WiFi may also be obsolete in 10 years.
    It was quickly given in early posts that the motherboards will probably be in perfect physical condition in 10 years time.
    As I write this I'm using a 6 year old Pentium 2 Dual so I do agree to the point well made that there is a difference in keeping running an older machine that has all the right extras and getting a bare motherboard out of its shrink wrap in many years time. The OP asked for OPINIONS and these have been given.
    So..@ OP....what have you decided ? :)
     
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