How Much Should It Cost To Replace The Motherboard On A Laptop?

John’s wife’s laptop died, and his local Geek Squad wants $800 total to replace the motherboard. John says he found the motherboard for $150, and he wants to know why Geek Squad thinks it will require $650 in labor. So all you IT and geek readers out there, we ask you: is this a fair price?

Here’s John’s story. The first paragraph is really more about how Best Buy screwed up yet another easy sale by failing to offer the bare minimum of service. Paragraphs two and three are about the motherboard.

My wife’s laptop died about a 2 weeks after the 1 year warranty expired. We paid about $1000 (including tax) for it from Sam’s Club. We contacted HP on the off-chance that they’d be cool about it and cover it anyway. No luck. So my wife, desperate to get her laptop working, decided to take it to The Geek Squad. First, they told her that they couldn’t diagnose it there that they’d have to send it away to do so. She uses this as her work computer, even though we bought it ourselves, and couldn’t wait to get it back. So she said she’d buy a new one then and there and have them transfer the data to her new laptop. I’d already found one that would be good for her while she was at the Geek Squad counter and we went over to it. We couldn’t find a store associate anywhere. So my wife went up to the counter to have someone come over to help us. We told them where we’d be standing/waiting and they said they’d send someone right over. We waited, and waited, and waited. No one. My wife was fuming at this point and she went back up the counter and demanded that they give her back her laptop, and told them that they just lost out on a guaranteed $1200+ sale then and there.

But it gets better.

So, desperate to get her laptop working, she had me take it back the them the next day. They sent it in ($89 just to look at it, btw) and 2 weeks later the diagnosis is that it needs a new motherboard. I looked online and a new HP motherboard for this unit costs $150 to a consumer like me. This means, they’re charging $650 minimum to install a motherboard. Being a year old, I could buy a brand new laptop that’s almost twice as good for that same price!

We found this “Ask a Geek” article from a year and a half ago that says you should expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $500 for a new motherboard, but that’s including the cost of the motherboard, a new operating system license to replace the one your computer came with (which likely is not licensed to work on the new hardware), and 3-4 hours of labor to swap out the part and reinstall everything. Opinions? Advice? Suggestions on better places to go for this sort of computer repair?

“The Cost Of Replacing A Motherboard” [Ask a Geek]
(Photo: tarale)

Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Speaking as an ex-firedog, that’s a ridiculous price. However, I’m surprised their management is even letting them do it. They wouldn’t at our store, except for the technicians who actually knew what they were doing.

  2. Corporate_guy says:

    If you bought the laptop with a credit card, they may have extended the warranty by one year. Call your credit card company and see if they will replace it.

    • crymson777 says:

      @Corporate_guy: They bought it at Sam’s…no credit cards taken…

      • skitzogreg says:

        @crymson777:

        Not entirely true. Sam’s takes all forms of Debit cards, (Sams/Wal-Mart) Discover, and Mastercards.

      • acknight says:

        @crymson777: Not everywhere… they take Discover at least and I think Mastercard in NY as well.

      • warf0x0r says:

        @crymson777: Sams takes Nevus aka Discover and they do double the warranty… at least on my card they do.

        Also that article is 250 to 500 for a PC motherboard, or at least they’re not specifying as to which but the PC solution is always cheaper because there’s more room to move around and work can be done more quickly.

        The easy solution: Replace it

        The green solution: repair it yourself. the motherboard has already been manufactured and you can save quite a bit on labor, but if you’re not good with tech then you could end up with a DOA unit or a bigger bill if you break something.

        The honest answer: They’re charging you for a quoted amount of labor and it could take less but they want the money. It’s a premium price for no better service than someone at a small shop or big shop might do it for if you were to look around.

        • amuro98 says:

          @warf0x0r:

          If this was a desktop, I’d say do it yourself, or at least find a techie friend who’ll do it for a few beers or something.

          But laptops are trickier. Many don’t use standard screws or enclosure devices. Even if he gets the board himself he may not be able to get the laptop itself open without intentionally breaking the case to get to it. In addition, a lot of “not for service by customer” electronic devices are literally held together by pieces of tape inside, which are holding down delicate wires or other components. Very easy to break something.

          While I still think $800 is way too high for this sort of repair, I can certainly see a more reasonable shop charging $400-$500 (includes price of mother board) due to the 4 or 5 hours of labor this is going to need.

    • Kryptenx says:

      Definitely check the HP website for recalls for that model as well. My sister’s motherboard failed on her the other day and was told by Best Buy that it’d be $500+ to replace. Calling HP yielded only “you are 220 days out of warranty.”

      I grabbed everything off her hard drive and decided to Google the motherboard for that series(dv2000) and learned that the mobo was recalled and all computers in a few different series were upgraded to a 2 year warranty. It’s pretty amazing how quickly HP is willing to promise it will be fixed within 7-10 days after confronting them with the information on their own website and questioning why their CSR did not inform anyone of the recall.

  3. thereij says:

    Going to BB was your first problem. Actively seeking out the geek squad was your second. Either do the repair yourself (it’s not as hard as it looks) or just buy a new laptop.

    I’d be interested to hear what the out-of-warranty repair would cost on that item from HP.

    • Zclyh3 says:

      @thereij:

      I second this statement. Replacing a motherboard (especially laptops these days) is simple and often times the manufacturer will have step-by-step instructions on how to do this.

      Hell, I’d replaced the motherboard for $50 labor. Can easily get the part on eBay. Since it’s just the motherboard, everything else should be working fine. Just replace the motherboard and slap in the hard drive and Windows should boot fine.

      • mmmsoap says:

        @Zclyh3: The only problem with this plan is that you (in most cases) void the warranty for any future problems on the whole system by doing a major upgrade/repair like this yourself. On a desktop, I would absolutely take that risk, since everything is modular. However on a laptop, with many companies this means that if your screen goes at some future point, you’re SOL.

        I’m curious as to why the OP was looking for BB tech support rather than HP themselves?

        • pdj79 says:

          @mmmsoap: If you had RTFA you would have known that he tried HP and the warranty was expired so he chose another avenue. Granted just because the warranty was up does not mean HP wouldn’t have serviced it. He should have checked to see how much replacing the motherboard through them would have cost.

        • Zclyh3 says:

          @mmmsoap:

          Like mmmsoap indicated, the warranty was already expired so there wouldn’t have been a risk.

        • John Henschen says:

          @mmmsoap:

          Because HP couldn’t give any sort estimate and their turn around time was something like 8 weeks if I recall. Geek Squad promised a much shorter time.

      • scootinger says:

        @Zclyh3: Seriously? Replacing the motherboard on a laptop is probably one of the most difficult operations that one can perform on a computer. You usually have to take apart the entire laptop….which is made of many tiny and easily lost or broken parts and screws.

        Hell, I’ve built several computers and done a number of other things (hardware-modded a couple of game consoles, taken apart an iMac G4 to replace the HD, etc.) and difficult repairs on laptops still make me nervous. I would not even recommend such a replacement (even an easier desktop mobo replacement) to many people who know how a lot about computers…let alone someone who’s taking their PC to Geek Squad to get it fixed.

        • Underscore_Lysdexia says:

          @scootinger: That’s right, motherboard replacement in a normal desktop is easy as pie, but on a LAPTOP? it’s pure hell.

          And not only that, but in most cases you have to reinsall windows because of motherboard drivers (if it’s the same exact model then there might not be a problem, but even then it’s better to do so)

          I’m not saying it’s 850$ hard, but it’s still going to be very expensive

          • n00nen0se says:

            @Underscore_Lysdexia: I second the above. I’ve been building computers for over a decade and have looked into multiple (suspected) laptop motherboard issues for friends and family. I’m a reasonably handy guy and working on a laptop motherboard typically requires taking the entire unit apart. This will usually take at least an hour and a half (compared to swapping out a motherboard on a desktop which could be 45 mins start to finish). The nature of laptops pretty much guarantees no standardization across vendors or even product lines.

            While $850 doesn’t sound reasonable, it does sound realistic. The board itself is proprietary and would likely have to be special ordered through HP or an authorized reseller. For reference, you can get a fairly well decked out desktop motherboard for <$100, so it gives you an idea of the type of part they’d have to buy for a typical laptop. Combine that with the fact that they’re not used to swapping these out and it is very likely to run into problems that they’d have to spend time troubleshooting, and you can see where the costs would start to get jacked up.

            In short, if I ran into a problem like this, I wouldn’t even bother with a repair. It sucks that you got crappy service, but you can find a better price on Amazon or Newegg most likely. Just get an external hard drive enclosure for ~$30 and plug your old hard drive in there to recover the data.

            • bmorg003 says:

              @n00nen0se: While it is tricky to take apart the laptop, if you can locate the service manual (google it) for your laptop, NOT the (useless) user manual, it will hold your hand through the entire process. If your warranty is up and you can find/read the service manual, then I would not worry about replacing the board at all, it’s easy and the hardest part will be disassembling the machine (the service manual will hold your hand through the process). I would definitely not pay $800 for a new board when you can buy a MSI Wind netbook for $250-300 (it’s just not worth the money), and if you need the data off of the old drive you can get an IDE/SATA to USB converter ([www.tigerdirect.com]) for $20 to get the data off of your old machine. The good thing is that there are lots of resources and people willing to help you, so I wouldn’t worry about doing it myself… Tell BB/Geek Squad where they can stick it…

              • Anonymous says:

                @bmorg003:
                Replacing a motherboard on a laptop is anything BUT easy, even with that documentation. I’ve done phone tech support for Toshiba laptops before and I had access to all that documentation and I would still never recommend that for anyone unless the laptop itself is really that important to them for some reason. A new laptop is the better way to go.

    • korin43 says:

      @thereij: Yeah really. Replacing the motherboard on my old laptop took less than an hour, and all you need is the instructions (HP supplies these online) and a screw driver.

      Also, the thing about buying a new license for Windows is BS. Windows can be installed several times with the same license, and if it won’t work, just call Microsoft and tell them your old computer died.

    • The Cheat says:

      @thereij: It’s not as hard as it looks?

      Laptop motherboards are EXTREMELY difficult to replace. Generally you remove the button bezel first, then the LCD assembly. Then unscrew most of the bottom case screws and separate the top from the bottom case, releasing ribbon cables as you go. You’ve accumulated 20-30 screws already, hope you remember where they go! Now you have to remove the sub-boards, heat sink, unscrew the motherboard from the bottom case, and reassemble in the reverse.

      This is a hugely complex task and not for most people.

    • Thain says:

      @thereij: My employer, which largely caters to the DIY crowd, quit selling LCD replacements and motherboard replacements almost 3 years ago because more than HALF of the replacement parts they sold were being damaged during installation. It IS as hard as it looks, if not harder. We are more than comfortable allowing our customers to do complete disassembly of their notebooks with the understanding that breaking anything will void their warranty, but we don’t feel comfortable letting anyone but our own ISO-certified techs replace these parts.

      Of course, on the other side of things, our markup on motherboards and the like is never more than $50 (+ minor labor costs – never more than $90, and usually less than $50), so we’re not trying to scalp people like Best Buy, anyway.

  4. Jim Topoleski says:

    Its a bit excessive but not by much. The issues here is we would need to know the model, not every model is designed the same and some can be really difficult to replace.

    The other thing is that places like Best Buy tend to overcharge with the hope of you doing EXACTLY what you said you where going to do, buy a new computer.

    To be honest 800 is a lot, but laptops because of their tolerances are REALLY difficult to repair sometimes. I wouldn’t pay it though, I’d pull the hard drive, buy another machine, and hook the hard drive up with a drive caddy to offload your stuff if you didnt back it up.

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      @Jim Topoleski: Yes it is most likely excessive, but:

      is it a new mb the consumer found? (refurbished is cheaper but with less warranty)

      is the vendor reputable? (you wouldn’t believe some of the scams)

      is BB getting their from HP? (that would cost more too but probably have more than a 1-90 day warranty)

      is it the EXACT same model of MB? (some notebooks have “compatible” motherboards that lack features, leave holes in the chassis do to missing items)

      Yes I’ve repaired a few laptops, down to the chips and jacks to complete replacement. I’ve learned to go through a couple of vendors for non-refurbished parts because some refurbished have a “if it’s not DOA it’s your problem” warranty. I wouldn’t say 4 hours, but 2 to do it correctly and not lose any screws like some morons do. Sometimes a reload is required, but it’s rare, usually only a big BIOS rev difference causes it. Sometimes the previously failing MB causes garbage data to be written to the drive and hoses windows. Again that’s pretty rare.

      The place near me does it for parts plus about $100-$150 (Some models cost extra because they’re harder to disassemble) labor. I do it myself because I can. Though sometimes I buy hard to find parts from them.

      • rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

        @Inglix_the_Mad: Totally agree. If you have the service manual and the correct parts the hard part of the repair is the dis-assembly and not losing any of the screws.
        Also if you are messy I tend to put a white paper, and bunch the same screws together, then placing a base diagram of the chassis of board to know where each go.

        • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

          @rioja951>Now with 220% more chances of not blowing himself up! … j…:

          It really depends on the laptop and manufacturer. A lot of times core components like a motherboard are installed without easy access to screws so they can make the laptop smaller. Sometimes they are even soldered in place so you can’t even get them out. A lot of times with integrated video cards they connector to the lcd is soldered in place making it harder to just pop out the board. Of course with more modnern laptops I’d imagine this is rare these days, but still, I’ve built and taken apart hundreds of computers and I’d be even a bit apprehensive about trying this.

          Of course we are talking geek squad here, my first question would be are you sure it’s really a dead mobo? I’d get a second opinion, it’s probably a dead power supply or something trivial like that.

    • Saboth says:

      @Jim Topoleski:

      I can’t see paying $800 to repair a laptop when I see bargains every day for brand new, very nicely packed laptops for $800-$900.

    • billbobbins says:

      @Jim Topoleski: If you have ever replaced a laptop MB, you know how painful it is. There are dozens of tiny screws, usually 3 or 4 different sizes. Taking apart each different type of laptop is different and if you don’t take your time, you will break it, THEN you will be mad. Since a laptop is based entirely around a motherboard, everything plugs in via different types of tiny plugs.

      A desktop on the other hand is very easy and very generic, no matter what brand you buy. When you open the case, most everything is visible. Simple to fix.

      But when my friends complain they have a laptop that is broke, I just tell them to buy a new one. They’re a PITA to fix and I personally don’t own one. I would charge you $800 to replace your laptop motherboard only because I don’t want to do it. Get a desktop and this is a 30 minute job.

  5. CaptZ says:

    No…..not a fair price….but we are talking about Geek Squad here.

    I have replaced many a mobo on laptops and desktops. Laptops are inheirently harder to work on because of the small form factor and making sure you get all the heat removal pipes in th right place, tiny connections on an off without breaking and such. But 3-4 hours labor? Not so….maybe an hour…hour and a half tops. No software, including Windows, would not have to reinstalled at all. They are lying there ass off there. Windows will boot fine as long as the mobo is the same, which it more than likely would be. Worst case…you might have to reactivate, but I don’t even see that happening.

    Just another bad Geek Squad story….nothing to see here….

    Good luck OP. If you’re in the DFW, TX area give me a shout….you will get A+ service and a smile at fair price!

    CZ

    • CaptZ says:

      By the way….I would have charged parts plus $75 labor for this job….barring no issues. And my diagnosing would have been $45. Find a small computer repair business or check with friends or neighbors to see if they know anyone. Most of my work comes by word of mouth.

      • Bailen says:

        @CaptZ: Windows locks itself down on major hardware change, which a motherboard swap definitely is, hell i have changed a video card and then a month later changed a sound card and it locked itself down on me. This is because after a certain degree of change it is no longer considered the “same” computer and requires re-licensing (this was built in so people did not just ghost their setup onto a friends computer to avoid purchasing a license for windows). Sure Microsoft has no problem reactivating it for you most of the time, but in this situation it is for the OP’s wife’s business which one would want a legally licensed copy of windows.

        And not to be nit-picky but,

        “No software, including Windows, would not have to reinstalled at all. They are lying there ass off there. Windows will boot fine as long as the mobo is the same, which it more than likely would be.”

        You do know this article is about the woman needing to replace her motherboard right?…

        • Biggbrother says:

          @Bailen: Even with a motherboard swap, it’s quite simple to get Microsoft to reactivate with the new hardware.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @Bailen: One Caveat: As long as it’s the same **model** mobo it shouldn’t be a problem not reinstalling Windows, etc. No new drivers, chipset drivers, etc, will likely be necessary.

      With a different model, however, reinstalling will probably be the safest and most stable route.

      It is likely going to be the same model for a laptop warranty replacement. Although there is also the possibility there will be a newer revision of the motherboard which may have some major changes, in which case reinstalling (possibly) might be warranted.

  6. wardawg says:

    I’ve replaced the motherboards on computers before (not laptops but same difference when you get right down to it) and never needed to purchase a new licence… Only one time did I need to do a “reinstall” of the OS because it didn’t recognize the hardware when it booted up, and I just used the serial number on the case.

    I had a friend that went to the local computer science/IT college and found a couple of ads posted by students looking to make some money that were doing hardware repairs for under $100 (if you paid for the parts of course). Of course in this case you would be probably be voiding your warranty, but if getting it professionaly fixed costs more than a new laptop anyways…

    • Megalomania says:

      @wardawg: With Windows when you replace the hardware, in particular the motherboard or processor, it will whine about the HAL detecting a major hardware change (possibly the theory is that you clone the harddrive bit for bit and put it somewhere else?) and demand you reactivate Windows.

      While that alone will not make you buy a new copy of Windows, the license keys fall off pretty easily on heavily used laptops and many people don’t write them down.

      • WillG says:

        @Megalomania:
        If it’s the same model of motherboard, windows won’t notice the difference.

      • Framling says:

        @Megalomania: For reactivation, you shouldn’t need to re-enter the product key anyway. It will just want to reconnect to Microsoft’s WGA whatever and verify that your license isn’t over its activation limit. If it is, a quick call to 1-800-microsoft and an explanation should straighten it out.

        Well, unless of course the license is over its activation limit because it’s a pirated key.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          @Framling: That’s what I was going to point out. You can call MS and tell them you had to replace hardware and they will help you. If you are honest and paid for the software, it’s not a big deal.

    • Justifan says:

      @wardawg:

      lol for 100 dollars you’d probably brick your laptop by going to a technical college student. a++ cert doesn’t train anyone to repair a laptop, it barely trains them to repair a pc. never mind training them to be familiar with the countless models/manufacturers of laptops with all their different internal setups.

    • dave_coder says:

      @wardawg: Please don’t bring your laptop to some student doing cheap hardware repairs. Don’t bring it to Geek Squad either. Find one of the professional independent guys who offer a reasonable price, a rock-solid guarantee and certifications to boot.

      You may pay a little more but it’s worth it.

    • zonk7ate9 says:

      @wardawg: Vista is much less sensitive about this and probably wouldn’t kill your activation for replacing the motherboard, but XP probably would. Either way, if you call Microsoft and tell them what happened they’ll re-activate it. And for the record $800 is ridiculous $250 at the most, I’d probably charge about $75 + parts to do this, and since I’m not Geek Squad it’d be done right.

  7. FDCPAGuy says:

    The $89 charge is usually what’s needed on a desktop in my experience with Geek Squad. Last time I sent it a laptop the deposit was $50 which I found fair since it needs to get sent to the service center and back.

    I’d also like to know if the OP found this ‘new’ motherboard at a reputable supplier or on on a place like ebay. Chances are it’s not a new motherboard but a used one pulled from a unit with a shot screen or another defect so they part the computer out.

    • Megalomania says:

      @FDCPAGuy: Even if that was a lowball price, there’s several reasons it’s not likely to be an expensive part to replace -
      a) It was bought at Sam’s club, they do not sell anything special enough to have a custom motherboard
      b) It was $1,000 a year ago, there is no way that even at $400 for labor the part would have been $400 then or now
      c) A really damn nice dual socket motherboard for a Nehalem based server + labor to install it would be less than $800.

    • WillG says:

      @FDCPAGuy: rtfa, he found it on the mfgr’s website, I’d say that was pretty “reputable”.

      • FDCPAGuy says:

        @WillG:
        No actually you RTFA. He said he found the HP motherboard online. Not that he found it at the mfgr’s web site. I don’t think HP actually sells parts directly through their web site.

    • geekinpain says:

      @FDCPAGuy: It would most likely be a refurbished motherboard provided by HP even if they did authorize the replacement.

    • Underscore_Lysdexia says:

      @FDCPAGuy: 150$ isn’t that farfetched for the price of a motherboard

  8. Thanatos says:

    Laptop motherboard replacement is a trick affair getting all the wires in the right location tearing down the laptop to get to everything back in the right place and right order plus every laptop is different while $650 is ridiculous it isn’t an easy task.

  9. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    Replacing most things on a laptop is a real pain. It may also have a soldered CPU, which means they’d have to replace the CPU at the same time. The price seems high, but then that’s what I’d expect at the Geek Squad.

    • Thanatos says:

      @Thanatos: “tricky affair” pretty much if the mobo on a laptop goes just get a new laptop its not worth it and not cost effective to get a new motherboard and have it repaired and as Cant_stop_the_rock pointed out if the processor(CPU) is soldered to the board its going to cost even more.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: Replacing RAM on a laptop is very easy. I’ve never replaced anything inside a computer before and I did it in about ten minutes.

      • Inglix_the_Mad says:

        @MooseOfReason: Memory and Drives are all external. Well almost always external on the drives. I had one laptop that mounted it in the Chassis (an Averatec) that was a friggin’ nightmare.

        Personally as soon as you have to split the top from the bottom chassis you’re looking at a couple of hours to do it right and NOT break the dang thing. Those little plastic tabs can snap easy if you’re not reasonably careful.

        I’ve decided not to buy anymore laptops. They’re too darn much for too little utility. I’ll use a netbook, I can still log into switches, it’s lighter and I can usually pick’em up for $150

      • Tubal says:

        @MooseOfReason: @MooseOfReason: He didn’t say RAM. He said CPU. Big difference. The ram usually inside a removable plate on the bottom of the laptop.

        To replace a CPU, even if it’s not soldered to the motherboard, would require that you take all the covers off your laptop, remove your keyboard, and in some cases, removing the motherboard.

        • MooseOfReason says:

          @Tubal: I read his comment. “Replacing most things on a laptop is a real pain.” The CPU example followed “may also”.

          Thanks anyway.

    • heltoupee says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: In the case of a soldered-on CPU, the replacement board would come with a CPU already installed.

      That being said, every HP I’ve been inside uses a socket.

  10. mzs says:

    You must have found the wrong motherboard. There is no way the replacement costs only $150 and that you can get it without a service agreement from the likes of HP.

    • godlyfrog says:

      @John Henschen: Can you provide a model # for your laptop? $150 is not an accurate price for a laptop motherboard when it comes right from HP (though you can sometimes find them from other places, those boards are often system pulls, not old new-stock or refurbs). For reference, I chose a random laptop from their site and they recommended a $450 Intel 915GM chipset-based board and an AMD Turion processor, which don’t go together at all. I’d be interested to see what it is they’re suggesting is $150.

  11. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia: once would have been enough.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @gStein: although this website feels like one of the “extend your car warranty” websites

      • ncboxer says:

        @gStein: It gets worse. The website domain was just registered 1 1/2 months ago. A lookup on Google for “innovidian” only provides links to the domain and this story. This website looks worse than spammy.

    • Ratty says:

      @gStein: I think once would have been too much.

  12. ogremustcrush says:

    The Ask A Geek price seems about right for a laptop mobo replacement, although the prices for the part itself can vary wildly. For a common model, they’ll probably range from $100-300. In some fringe cases the motherboard itself might cost as much as Best Buy is quoting, but that is pretty rare, and the OP already said they found it for $150. I sure know I don’t want to have to replace the motherboard on my tablet PC- scary scary price on that thing.

    Now on a desktop, if it uses a standard ATX board, most systems could have their board replaced for $100. That would be a really crappy board though, a more reasonable price might be $200-300 depending on the features desired and including labor.

  13. KarbonKopy says:

    150 for the board sounds about right, but as with most specialty repairs, most of the expense is in the labor. I’d think around 200-300 in labor would be more in line with a correct estimate. At this point it would become important to evaluate if it’s worth fixing it or not. My advice would be go to a mom and pop PC shop and get a estimate from them.

  14. Phreggs says:

    $650? No, that’s a good deal over-priced.

    While notebooks are small form factor, and normally a bit difficult to disassemble and reassemble they dont require great skill. Normally you can find a tear-down guide and do it yourself.

    Most items you can interchange between the two motherboards, but items like the GPU and CPU, you may need a bit of help on.

    Paying for this type of service would be something out of leisure, not necessity. I would highly recommend either bringing your business elsewhere, or doing it yourself. Especially when you have already found a replacement motherboard :)

    • dave_coder says:

      @Phreggs: Most people will not take apart thier laptop and install a new motherboard themselves and I would not recommend them doing so anyways.

      Find an independent professional technician in your area that offers a rock-solid guarantee and have him/her do the work.

  15. John Henschen says:

    Okay, I’m the guy in this story. And unfortunately, I bought it with my debit card and not a credit card. I called Wells Fargo (I know, I know… I need to fix that error too) and no luck on the extended warranty front. Thought it was worth a shot though.

    • Rommel Marquez says:

      @John Henschen:

      did they tell you the exact problem with the motherboard?

    • 72Riv says:

      First of all, have you checked to see if it is one of the recalled HP’s? They had a couple of HUGE batches that had ball-grid-array GPU issues. They extended their warranties on those recalled ones to 3 years, I believe. A quick google search should reveal if it is recalled or not.

      Second, I’m a tech at a college that provides support for students. A motherboard replacement is one of the more complex repairs. It involves taking pretty much everything out of the main chassis, removing the heat sink, RAM, wireless card(s), keyboard, monitor cables, etc. You also have to de-socket the CPU, re-mount the new motherboard, re-socket the CPU, remount the heat sinks (with thermal paste), etc. It is definitely work for a tech and not a simple layman’s job. That said, any tech worth his or her salt should be able to do pretty much any mobo replacement in under an hour. Easier ones in 30 minutes. Order your new motherboard for $150, then take it to a local shop that charges by the hour (at a reasonable rate). Then take it there and wait for it. You shouldn’t have to end up spending more than $200 in labor to have it replaced. @John Henschen:

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        - @72Riv: Agreed on EVERY front (including being a tech at a college!).

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @72Riv: Yeah this is exactly what I would do. If you own a PC its probably a good idea to research who is good in your area for PC repair if it is ever needed. This way you are ready when an emergency hits. Just make sure your bringing in a working motherboard for the laptop (not an untested one from ebay) and that the PC shop does this type of work which should be all of them.

      • John Henschen says:

        @72Riv: There are no recalls on this particular unit. That was actually one of the first things I checked. I will think about taking it to a local college, but I will most likely make the attempt to repair it myself. I’ve been assembling my own desktops for the last 12 years and I’m decent at that. Maybe its time I delved into the world of laptop hell.

    • Bradford Johnson says:

      @John Henschen: Geek Squad is worthless. The majority of Best Buy do not care about your well being.

      Buy a new laptop (watch Slickdeals, TechDeals, etc) for $600 (unless you want a super fancy one) and just transfer your data on to the new hard drive.

      You wouldn’t pay $8,000 to fix a $10,000 car would you? Chances are it will fail again.

    • Joe Reilly says:

      @John Henschen: When I was in college, the motherboard broke on my $2,000 gateway laptop. Since I couldn’t buy a new computer, I sent it to gateway to have it fixed outside of warranty. It was $300 including labor, parts, and shipping.

      Call HP and see what they’ll replace it for- Gateway was surprisingly reasonable.

  16. omgwtflolbbqbye says:

    Hey take it easy on the Best Buy geek squad!

    You guys obviously aren’t factoring the many man hours it will take for them to nose through his wife’s personal photos and documents, and steal any movies or music she might have on there.

    • Ragman says:

      @omgwtflolbbqbye: Damn, we did forget about that. Yeah that $800 seems about right for all the techs that will gather ’round for copies of his media.

      • Sys Admn says:

        @Ragman: And the time it takes them to unnecessarily reformat your hard drive.

        Don’t forget that Best Buy has to factor in the probability that the repair depot will screw something up. Buying another MB or LCD will raise the cost.

        • Ragman says:

          @Sys Admn: I thought they pull the auto shop bit on that one – where they call you up the next day, “Your LCD display is out and we can replace it real quick since we’ve already got your laptop here…”

  17. masterasia says:

    I repair computers on the side and $800 is outrageous. I’m in the wrong business. I usually charge a flat rate of $100 for anything that will require some time, other wise I usually charge around $50 for basic OS install and Virus/Spyware scans.

    Laptop parts are a lot more expensive than desktop parts so sometimes it’s better to just buy new rather than fix it. Also ebay might have old labtops for parts, that’s where I find some of my stuff.

    My brother-in-law took is Toshiba to in to Geek Squad to have the LCD replaced and the they wanted $400. He bought one of their extended warranty rip off plans and they didn’t bother to fix it. He had that thing in four times for the same problem and every time, they said it was fixed when it wasn’t fixed. The last time he took it back to fix the same problem that he had told them to fix, they said that his warranty had expired and he would have to pay for the service.

    Geek squad sucks. I’m glad I turned down the job offer from them 5 years ago. $11 an hour and 75% of the time you will be selling stuff and not fixing stuff.

    • William Brinkman says:

      @masterasia: Do you buy your own insurance to cover your work as a contractor?

      • unpolloloco says:

        @William Brinkman: If you’re willing to eat an occasional $500, insurance to cover damages is completely unnecessary

        • klc says:

          @unpolloloco: What about liabilities? Do you hold the professional certifications to be able to stand behind your work in a legal setting? (In the unlikely event something you worked on was to fail causing damage or injury…. or was *accused* of failing, causing damage or injury…)

        • Justifan says:

          @unpolloloco:

          yup this punter is thinking of how much it would cost for him to repair something for family or friends. as a business it becomes much dodgier. it is very easy to damage things replacing internal components of a laptop, especially something as fundamental as a motherboard. every laptop is built different, different order of part removal, different hidden latches, screws etc, theres plenty of places to go wrong, and no tech is going to be trained on all laptop models across all manufacturers. the cost of insurance and time is going to make the charge of 100 dollars laughable. one irate customer and a messed up laptop and a small tech service undercharging like that would pretty much die.

      • shepd says:

        @William Brinkman:

        The only insurance he needs (apart from avoiding willful negligence) is to register as a corporation and make sure only a minimum of assets are in the corporation’s name.

        That’s how contractors around here do it. Most of them even make sure their trucks are leased, too.

    • heltoupee says:

      @masterasia: Ah, yes. Reminds me of something a tech I used to work with used to say:

      “Computer repair is like sex. You make one mistake and you end up supporting it for the rest of your life.”

    • dave_coder says:

      @masterasia: How do you do work at $50? Do you do service work at peoples houses? You do realize that you must have the following expenses:

      * Car Millage and Insurance.
      * Business Liability Insurance.
      * Spare Parts and Tools.
      * A Money-Back guarantee (if you don’t want to be dodgy)
      * Website
      * Phone Number

      If you don’t have the above you’re either crazy or a technician who undervalues his work and does a crappier job.

  18. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I want to point out that if you replace the motherboard with an identical model you shouldn’t have to pay Microsoft for a new license.

    I know very little about HP laptops, but there is a place down the street from me that specializes in Dell laptops, parts-people.com. Great prices on the parts, and labor is a flat $100.

    Find a local company, I’m sure they can put it in for an hours labor (even the most complicated laptops can be done in about that time IF You have done that model before).

    I will say $150 is a tad on the low side for a late model laptop motherboard, so you should feel lucky.

    • Evan Walker says:

      @AustinTXProgrammer: The only motherboard that I have replaced that took less than 45 minutes has been the unibody MBP MLB. That one edges around 45 minutes, most dell mlbs take about an hour, and HP is worse because they have all of those extra crap bits attached.

      I do agree on the price though, great price for that.

  19. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    i have an almost-3 year old laptop bought from BBY… with a 2-year service plan extension. the service plan expires in july… 2 of my USB ports are bad, and the computer randomly stops charging/running off AC power. i’m 90% sure it’s a bad motherboard – should i brace myself for an epic fight with geek squad?

  20. bohemian says:

    Look at someplace like Laptopparts.com and make sure this wasn’t a one off of someone selling the board that cheap. It takes 30 minutes to 2 hours to change out a motherboard in a laptop plus time to make sure it is working right.
    You don’t need to buy a new operating system. You shouldn’t even need to reinstall it. Your swapping identical hardware.

    If you use Geek Squad you deserve what you get.

  21. crymson777 says:

    With the cost of laptops, and the leaps in technology in the last year, save your money and just buy a new one. You can buy a brand new laptop for around $500 nowadays and it will match up in specs. DO NOT TRY TO INSTALL IT YOURSELF if you have never done so before. I have replaced a ton of laptop motherboards and it takes time to get good at it.

    • grimdeath9740 says:

      depend@crymson777: depending on what your doing you can find netbooks that are still very powerful for the price. I recently got a MSI Wind netbook for my wife when her laptop stopped working. The total cost was around $350. They do have smaller screens which can require a bit of an adjustment but depending on your setup you can hook them up to an external monitor while at home :)

  22. JohnAllison says:

    As many others have noted before, Consumerist, you are not providing enough information to get any worthwhile or valid answer.

    There should be three costs to a repair: parts, labor, taxes.

    What is BestBuy’s break down in relation to the $850 quoted price?

    What is the model number of the laptop so one might look to find a reasonable price for said item?

    How much would BestBuy charge to replace the motherboard if supplied with the part?

    It is going to take much more information than provided above before anyone can give a accurate opinion.

  23. kingmanic says:

    While $650 for labour is insane (since a new and highly capable laptop would be around $800) it does take a lot of labour to do this on a Laptop. Not $650 worth but maybe $100-$300.

    I’d recommend just yanking the drive and putting it in a different or new laptop and getting your wife’s files off. Like other recommended you might even be able to boot from that drive and get EVERYTHING. Some files in protected directories may be hard to access if you just add that drive as a second drive to another machine. removing the drive should be relatively simple but if you can’t you may want to consult with someone other than the geek squad.

  24. Dave says:

    Laptop repair is *MUCH* more difficult than desktop repair. You’re lucky to get someone to help repair it.

  25. Joe Lachiana says:

    Typical of low end tech support. It’s easier to over charge for a repair to get the person to buy another PC. And if they do go for the repair they just made $800!

    Seems like a good idea for all that are looking to get into the do nothing life that is best buy tech support. (send out??? What the hell is going on in that 2500sqft of space they are occupying??)

  26. Zclyh3 says:

    This is the risk you take when you don’t buy an extended warranty for a laptop. I usually don’t buy one with a desktop since most of the time I just build it myself. A laptop, however, I make sure I get an extended warranty. Could have taken that $650 and gone to Dell Outlet to get something way better than your currently laptop.

    • dave_coder says:

      @Zclyh3: I would never buy an extended warranty. It just isn’t worth it.

      Keep the money you would invest in an extended warranty (~$300) and instead put it away safely in a “repair fund”. If something breaks you have $300 you can spend to fix it.

  27. pegr says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia: Hey, cool it with the blog spam, alright?

  28. Setti says:

    Impossible to say for sure without knowing the model of the laptop. Is it just me or has there been an increasing lack of pertinent information in news posts?

    I can safely say most new parts from most laptop OEMS are absurdly overpriced, Lenovo being the worst at a pinch over half the cost of the whole machine for most of their business machines. And I’m talking about $800+ up towards $1600+ for the board alone.

    On the other hand, most places that do sell parts online have re baked or heat gunned parts on the motherboard such as the graphics to revive them, coming only with a convenient 30 day warranty. The problem with this is that it only puts a band aid on the failure, which will inevitably fail soon.

    My biggest suggestion for when you shop for laptops is to research replacement part costs as much as possible or at least tack on the accidental warranty and add 3 years. You’ll be thankful when that machine conks out due to natural causes.

  29. superhalo says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia: We got it the first three times you said it.

  30. pegr says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia: STOP the blog spam!

  31. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia:
    You are so going to be banned

  32. Sockatume says:

    Generally speaking, repair joints will price out a mainboard failure on any item (phone, laptop, PC) to be almost the whole price of replacing the item. It’s very labour-intensive to strip the item down that far and reassemble so they want to discourage people from doing it.

    I echo comments here, find a reputable local place (or a tame geek) and they’ll do the replacement at a much more reasonable rate. The OS can be re-licenced to the new machine, even if it’s an OEM licence.

  33. brokebackwallet says:

    Cost comes from (apart from greedy CSR):

    1: Propietary motherboard design

    -One size does not fit all

    –If I remember correctly, Asus Eee PC1000 and PC1000H have different motherboards. H-model has a conventional rotary HDD, non-H model two SSD drives. Different connections and firmware.

    2: Design

    -One case, one motherboard

    –Ms Round Hole, meet Mr Square Peg

    Desktop cases are mostly the same except for design differences. ATX and mATX motherboards are pretty close to except actual PCB size and mounting holes. Six vs nine.

  34. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    LOL. I don’t trust Geek Squad’s diagnosis that it’s the motherboard. They need the extra cash & time to rummage about and find the real problem after the motherboard switch fails to solve the problem.

  35. Project_J187 says:

    As most have said, this is a ripoff. The best thing you can do is find the local computer store and have them fix it. It shouldn’t cost more then $300 with the labor costs.

    Computer repair is the new car repair. Oil change, rotate tires, check fluids = Reformat hard drive, remove unwanted programs, Virus/Spyware check. They cost a lot to have someone else do for you, but are cheap and easy if you can do it yourself.

    • Justifan says:

      @Project_J187:

      not really. car mechanics are well paid.

      most techs are not. especially the ones working in big box stores. so they get the expertise they pay for, which is not much. furthermore they have an economic incentive to hire such incompetent workers as expensive repairs = more profit, and the more incompetent, the more likely every problem requires a bigger solution. and of course the competent will not work for peanuts. consumers also value such labor/knowledge at a very low level, so they get what they pay for.

  36. mannyv says:

    For PC laptops, it’s almost never worth it to repair it…especially at a chain store. Get a new one (they’re cheap, only a few hundred bucks) and donate the old one to a church, school, or relative.

    For the price of that repair you could get a decent dual-core laptop, especially given all the dell deals floating around these days.

  37. awolcfh5150 says:

    I used to work for Dell. They charge around $500 for a MB replacement, and that’s for the part only. No labor or anything. The actual cost to Dell for the MB is around $6. It’s highway robbery!

  38. coren says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia: Are you going to post in a while saying the price is now 500?

  39. NotYou007 says:

    800 bucks to replace a motherboard in a laptop is a joke. I’ve never ran into any PC based laptop that took me more than an hour to replace the motherboard, even a new model I had yet to rip apart.

    Geek Squad is a joke and should be avoided. If you are dumb enough to take any sort of computer to them you deserve what you get. I’m not saying all local small computer repair shops are better and won’t screw you over but Geek Squad is in it for the money and nothing else.

    As for Best Buy, where I live and I only have one of them. I have to beat the employees off with a stick. I will get asked at least 2 times if I need help. Today I was in Best Buy getting a nicer bag for my new Asus Netbook and an employee approached me within 2 mins and asked me if I needed assistance with anything.

    BTW, if you are going to get the Asus Netbook do not purchase it at Best Buy. The do not carry the model 1000HE but they carry the 1000HEB Which has the slower N270 Intel Atom CPU, lacks Bluetooth and doesn’t even come with a carrying sleeve. You can get the true 1000HE from Amazon for 17 dollars more with free shipping.

  40. ludwigk says:

    The motherboard on a laptop contains the CPU and GPU chips, and they are often the most expensive component in the entire computer, comprising a majority of its cost. For a $1000 laptop, I’d expect the cost of the mobo to be higher than $150. Are you sure that you found the correct component?

    In my experience, repair prices are tiered based on the amount of labor with the highest tier being around $150-250. The total quote would be labor + parts, but parts can be really, really expensive when purchased direct from the manufacturer. In their system, GS was probably charging you about $150 in labor, and $650 for the part.

    No matter what, paying $800 to fix a $1000 computer is a bad idea. There’s no reason to do it since a new $800 laptop will be better than the one that you had.

  41. Paul Cowan says:

    I don’t understand this complaint. “Too expensive” is defined as being over and above what a reasonable person would expect to pay, ie what you would expect to pay elsewhere. This implies that you have other options for getting this work done on your computer (and you do), so why not simply exercise them? Isn’t that how capitalism works? Companies charge as much as they can, but remain in competition with each other for your business. So take your business elsewhere and all is well.

  42. Nathan Oliver says:

    I was going to explain desktop vs laptop motherboards, but I see that’s already been covered. Note, however, that the linked article is referring to desktop computers, not laptops.

    Also, the summary of the reason to re-install the OS is slightly confused–it’s not that you aren’t licensed, it’s that if you upgrade the motherboard at the same time as you replace it, then you’ll probably need to re-install. If you don’t have a OS disk (which most OEMs don’t ship anymore) then you’ll need to get one in order to re-install on different hardware than what the system-restore partition is set up for.

    And I agree with what seems to be the consensus–the price does seem a little high, but for a laptop motherboard, you should expect to spend nearly as much as the purchase price. I’d second the advice to purchase a new computer and then transfer the data from the old hard drive.

  43. Anonymous says:

    “A new operating system license to replace the one your computer came with (which likely is not licensed to work on the new hardware)” – this is absurd. I understand that is the kind of misinformation BB want people to believe, but please don’t reinforce that idea. You don’t need to buy a whole new Windows license just because a part of your machine died, and you can re-activate the reinstalled OS using the CD key from the COA sticker.

    Second, the quoted price is outrageous. Please see if you can find any geek friends or friend of friends.

  44. Kaisum says:

    Depends on the make and model of the laptop. People like to make laptops out to be harder to work on that way they can charge more to do so but it’s total bullshit. It might take longer than a desktop but it shouldn’t cost as much as OP is being charged, unless that’s some really good hardware.

  45. flakeyblakee says:

    I thought you got an extended warranty when you bought from Costco, Sams? My LCD TV came with a 2 year warranty at Costco.

  46. wcnghj says:

    Did the OP buy with a Credit Card?

  47. Fabian S Norman says:

    I do hardware repairs on laptops all the time, it’s my job, and I got to say that while laptop hardware repairs are harder to do than desktops (and therefore, should be more expensive), for labor alone you should be looking at $100-$150 tops. You won’t have to get a new copy of windows because it’s the same motherboard.

  48. pot_roast says:

    Did the OP take it to Sam’s Club and tell them that it died? I’ve had good luck there before. If it really was just one week out of warranty, they might be helpful.

  49. CheritaChen says:

    Unless John or his wife have a geek (not Geek) friend who’s available to do the repair, they definitely should just find a new laptop. Better specs, same cost as repair, and a chance to get a service plan this time (laptop computers are the one item where such warranties are actually worthwhile).

  50. Anonymous says:

    I will actually defend Geek Squad a little on this one (I never thought I would say that). You’d have to be a fool to spend that kind of money when you’d be paying 80% of the cost of a 1yr old computer. You can probably buy a computer with the same specs or better for $800. And, it is very common to price something very expensive to not get the work. If someone builds houses for a living, and someone asks them to hang a door for them, they give a ridiculously high estimate so they don’t get the business…and if they do, it is well worth it and not just a pain in the a$$. Also, the BB team has to pay for any mistakes they make in the process…damage to other equipment, re-dos etc.

  51. unpolloloco says:

    Geek squad would send this repair off to HP to do. HP would probably charge ~500-600, and then the Geek squad markup’s another 200-300. Not that unreasonable from Geek Squad’s point of view. Entirely unreasonable from a consumer’s point of view. Buy the motherboard and hire a college student to do it. The warranty’s void anyway, so why go through a “reputable” place?

  52. Anonymous says:

    We provide warranty service for Lenovo. We generally don’t service notebooks (we send them in to IBM’s repair facility) but I believe if we did service them we’d be paid the princely sum of $ 65 for labor. Our responsibility includes the diagnostic, looking up part numbers, ordering parts, doing the repair, performing QC testing at the end and being responsible for returning the bad part(s) in order to get paid. We’re listed on the Lenovo site as one of the few authorized service providers in the area. Is there any wonder that when people call for service that I don’t call them back? If you bought your Thinkpad from Newegg (not that there’s anything wrong with that) then by all means have Newegg fix it for you. I ain’t doin’ all that work for $ 65.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I repair my co-worker’s computers for free, just to not have them deal with geek squad. They are such an huge rip off. Any time any one mentions them, I cringe. They definitely take advantage of the less computer literate.

  54. Ayo says:

    Usually, unless the system is mission critical… We would scrap the laptop and purchase another unit.

    Its a Pain in the a** to reinstall everything.

  55. unpolloloco says:

    What’s up with the new license thing? Windows will just make you reinstall and reactivate it if the hardware changes (and if it doesn’t let you, just call up microsoft, and they’ll do an override).

  56. Johnny83 says:

    Mistake 1 taking it to Best Buy… Find a reputable computer shop. Ask friends that are very computer savy what shop they recommend (unless they will replace it) the shop in out town that keeps getting awards is by far the worst place to go right next to the geek squad. They sell used as new and charge ridiculous amounts for what they do but a very busy shop across town has better prices and will be up front if they will not perform a repair and refer you to a place that will.

  57. infinitemonkeys says:

    25 years IT. The problem with repairing laptops is that they are a) very specialized designs requiring time to break-down, b) not competitive markets, so you can’t get a third-party motherboard, or newer mobo and cpu to even improve the system, and c) prone to breakage do to many tiny, fragile parts.

    Having said that, there are two $$ factors when I am repairing or having a laptop repaired. First, I weigh the cost of the notebook. If it was a black-friday special, costing $3-500, then you should look to replace it rather than do anything major. Take the hard-drive out or clone it into a new system. You can consider the improved performance, battery, and other aspects as the difference in price. If it is some mid-range priced notebook, $500-800, then consider some flat-rate repairs. There are companies that will do motherboard repairs for flat rates, usually about $2-300 including shipping. If it cost more than that, then you may have to bite the bullet. The motherboard on that unit was high-end, probably had a short run (most notebooks do), so whether current or aftermarket, you’re paying for an expensive item in short supply.

    You just have to do the math and triangulate your best direction.

  58. haoshufu says:

    I love this kind of story. There are so many BB horor stories. Yet, people keep going back to patronize them. This lady just had a fit and fume over BB and the very next day, go back and do more business with them. If I were BB, I find no need to improve anything because no matter how bad they are, people just keep going back to them anyways. BB will put you down, make you feel low and make you look like a dumb a$$ and tomorrow or next week, you just go in and let them rip you off more.

    How many people had it with BB says they have had it with them and would never go there anymore and stick with it at the end. No one. Then give me a reason BB should improve if they have no loss of customers for being bad.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @haoshufu: Unfortunately not everyone reads this website, or other best buy horror stories. Though they certainly are easy to find these days. They don’t improve because now with other companies closing up like CC and CompUSA they are now the only game in town for B&M electronics. If people keep going to their stores regardless of experience there is no need for them to improve either, in fact they will just continue to milk the customer even more. Its like Gamestop, even though they are horrible people still keep shopping there. Since people have no other choice they go to BB regardless, some people are completely clueless about shopping online (and for those people I feel bad).

      BB is basically non-existent for me, I just don’t need them because anything they sell is cheaper online at one of the various large online retailers. I have no reason to even go in the store. On average prices at BB are $20-50 higher than online prices. I needed to buy a computer monitor and the same model was like 189-199 at BB VS 149 at newegg with free shipping (and with better customer service too). It was a no-brainer decision to go with newegg.

      BB is also a corporation I cannot trust, even if I bought a warranty with them, they would likely find a loophole and do anything they could to try and get out of paying for warranty repairs. Then I would have to fight and waste a lot of my time trying to get what I originally paid for, and that is not fun.

    • Justifan says:

      @haoshufu:

      bingo, under paid exploited geeksquad workers…she wants to subject herself to that….well buyer beware.

  59. alastria says:

    I’ve worked at the back end of a computer store for at least two years, being the one that tends to look up the parts for a repair. $150 is awfully cheap for a replacement motherboard – most likely that’s a refurbished motherboard, which I don’t always trust. But if the laptop is a year old, that’s about the only kind you’ll find for that particular type of laptop. Also, most computer repair companies will also tack on a percentage so they get paid in full for the part & the shipping, plus some extra to make some money. The motherboard of a laptop and the LCD screen are the two most expensive pieces of a laptop when you’re needing to replace them.

    The HP models, for a while, were having issues w/ overheating, and though the article didn’t say, I’d probably that may be why it died (same happened to my husband & brother-in-law w/ their HP laptops, though theirs was more of a video card on the motherboard overheating issue).

    But the price for labor sounds a bit high, but it’s also just about right – we quoted, and tended to charge $150 for the first hour, then $80 each additional hour for work on a laptop, and this is not including the part. Most of the time, work could be done within a couple of hours – pretty much it’s looking at popping all of the laptop apart – lots of tiny pieces and cables to worry about. And every laptop is different, too – just because you’re a computer store or repair computers on the side, does not mean you know every model inside and out. Laptops are a pain to work on, so a good chunk of the labor is pulling it apart, and then putting it back together correctly. :) And only then do you find out if the motherboard you’ve received, again, most likely refurbished for this year old laptop, even works. Then to set it all back up: diagnostics, re-install of OS & drivers, if the motherboard isn’t a completely perfect match. If you don’t have the original OS & driver disks, it makes it harder on the tech, because then they get to spend hours on the manufacturer’s website to look up the drivers for that model. And then there’s also Windows Updates – which can take nearly half a day, and finally moving information back to the laptop.

    Frankly, the best route I’ve seen, when a laptop dies at that age, or older, and it’s going to cost that much to repair it – go buy a new laptop (or desktop) – everything you have is most likely out of date by then, and it’ll be cheaper for a newer, better PC. If you need your data, go buy an external laptop hard drive casing – for the newer models, SATA is what you’ll need. There should be a spot on the bottom of the dead laptop that shows an icon that looks like three small disks – unscrew that panel to reach the hard drive – pop it into the external hard drive casing and viola! You have all your files. Once you move them to your new computer, you can format the old drive and now you have a nice portable external hard drive to carry around and back data up on.

  60. turtledude558 says:

    1st mistake: Buying an HP. We bought a top of the line tablet pc that broke A WEEK after the warranty expired. It too, suffered a motherboard failure and with a bit of researching online, it seems that many HP laptops die from failed motherboards.

    2nd mistake: Going to the Geek Squad. A small computer shop would probably be more helpful, or even looking for a disassembly guide online and doing the swap yourself.

    I would recommend just getting a new computer (non-HP, which means no Compaq) and turning the old hard drive into an external.

  61. OutsmartBullet says:

    Replacing motherboards on tightly assembled computers is a pain in the balls, whether it’s a laptop or an iMac G5. I wouldn’t do it for less than $150 + the part.

  62. sanjsrik says:

    I’ll do it for $50. I’ve replaced countless motherboards. hell once you get the thing open it’s a freakin’ erector set.

    Anyone who goes to GeekSquad or any other stupid morons like that SHOULD be overcharged. All of this stuff is overpriced simply because people assume computers are this scary black box. All he needs is the hard drive, buy a USB enclosure, put the portable drive in the enclosure, connect it to a desktop, copy over everything his wife needs, the entire process takes about 45 minutes and probably costs from $100 – $200 total depending on the type of USB enclosure you want to get.

    Freakin’ stupid idiots “geeksquad” my ass, they should be called “ripoffsquad”

    • Justifan says:

      @sanjsrik:

      and yea you’d probably run away if it failed to boot after you installed the mb or accidentally damaged something during your fumblings.

    • dave_coder says:

      @sanjsrik: You’ll do it for $50? I assume you don’t have insurance or a business phone. What happens when something goes wrong? Or when they need to call you next week?

  63. eskimo81 says:

    If they’re buying their parts directly from HP (which is likey), that price is probably about $600 in parts and $200 in labour, which is reasonable amount for the labour.

    The parts on the other hand, it’s too high, but not because of Best Buy, parts sourced direct from HP’s service channel are extremely overpriced.

    The price John’s seeing would be 3rd party, and generally speaking there’s nothing wrong with that at all, and it shows a significant savings on the part.

    But $200 in labour to replace a laptop motherboard is not unreasonable if you’re having a professional do it. Best Buy’s service department on the other hand…………..

  64. XTC46 says:

    I am a computer tech (the real kind, not the geek squad kind)

    1. New board will cost 100-300 (150 is about right)
    2. Labor to replace the board is about 30 min – 1hr depending on the laptop
    3. Most repairs like this they will reinstall the OS then reactivate (20 minutes if they are using restore CDs, plus 1 hour for updates etc.)

    650? not a chance. More like 300, at most. Any good shop would charge about 200 in labor as a flat rate repair + the MoBo.

  65. HPCommando says:

    $650 is a non-exchange purchase price; if the mainboard is broken/burnt, this is what can be charged as they will not be accepted as ‘exchangeable’. The $150-250 range is correct if a component fails out.

    Worst case labor is two hours for straight hardware replacment; some may charge an additional 1-2 hours to reinstall/reload the OS due to licensing imprinting, but you can do that yourself if you keep your recovery disks and original software disks handy.

    Lastly, you can contact HP. They will repair out of warranty equipment, usually for up to five years after date of manufacture, for a flat rate. It used to be $250 for up to five non-major components (mainboard, display), and $500 if one of the majors. Since prices have gone down on all components (I recall when the mainboard was a $1000+ part on exchange…), it’s more likely that they charge a far more reasonable rate than the Geek Squad bandits.

  66. Modred189 says:

    Having worked there, the manufacturers charge Geek Squad a LOT more than the retail cost. They do this because they do not get paid for the labor or parts from their insurance agency…

    • Modred189 says:

      @Modred189: Sorry, too quick on the SEND….
      … as a result, they charge best buy out the wazoo in order to make up the loss. I saw the invoice on a desktop’s mobo once at a Best Buy, and the OEM price was listed at $450

  67. Spin359 says:

    The price depends on parts. I replace laptop motherboards all the time and depending on brand they can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a hour. most places overcharge for replacement motherboards, most of the ones he try to get from dell and HP cost between us 280 and 350. we usually suggest not paying for a new board with them. I would charge around 50 bucks to do the work without parts, more if i had to do a wipe and reload or other work(how did the board get killed).

    Parts + $50, a fair price for replacement alone.

  68. PsiCop says:

    Having replaced a few laptop motherboards in my time, I have to point out that … especially in the laptop arena … there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” The time and effort required to replace the MB is variable, and by a WIDE margin.

    At one end of the scale, I replaced the MB on a friend’s low-end consumer-grade Dell. It was small, the components were tightly packed, and putting it all back in once the MB was changed out, was a nightmare. It took over two hours from start to finish, just to change the MB and reassemble it, forget booting it up and getting Windows running correctly after.

    At the other end of the scale was a business-grade Lenovo. That was relatively easy. Most of the components had external access panels so I was able to take them out/off, before I even had to tackle the chassis. Maybe 40 minutes, from start to finish.

    But even at the difficult end of that scale … i.e. assuming, say, 2.5 hours of labor … $650 is an awful lot to spend.

    Much better to find a local computer shop and hire someone there to do it. That Geek Squad had to send it somewhere, at an $89 expense, just to diagnose it, is NOT a good sign. I’d say $650 is AT LEAST more than twice what it should cost you.

    BTW you will very likely have to “reactivate” Windows after the MB replacement, but you may not have to buy a brand-new license. At least, I’ve never had to do it. Again, an experienced tech should be able to go through that for you and have it done.

  69. Gokuhouse says:

    It shouldn’t take more than 1 hour labor to replace a motherboard in a laptop. I’ve done it before and I wouldn’t charge more than $70/hr for labor.

  70. Ghosx says:

    Geek Squad doesn’t source parts from the cheapest possible supplier. The price it charges is based on whatever the cost is from whoever they source it through, who is usually the OEM (Compaq, HP, etc), who obviously aren’t known for being cheap.

    It also depends on the part and what kind of features the machine had. If the mobo was from a unit that had a decent video chipset, hell yeah it’d cost that much. Also, if it’s a part that is a bit scarce, that’d drive up the cost as well. As usual, consumerist jumps to conclusions without knowing the full story just because it’s fun to pick on Geek Squad.

    Based on what I’ve seen, laptop work is roughly $110 to $130 an hour, and installing a new mobo involves tearing the ENTIRE machine apart just to get to it. That’s likely billed as a two or three hour job. Sure, it can be done in an hour or less if you’re really good, but labor is charged based on type of work performed, not actual time performed. (If one person can do a job in less time than someone else, does that mean the faster guy should earn less?)

    //agent

  71. Anonymous says:

    For an extra $79, you could have had a fantastic, 3 year extended warranty from Sam’s. I have purchased 7 computers form them in the last 5 years (business and personal use) and have never had an issue getting ANY parts or labor done within days of calling in for repairs.

  72. Anonymous says:

    I see many computer hobbiest repair comments, and a few professional ones. Let me add my 2 cents. These are broadly generic, but should be useful with most laptop misery.

    Expect a typical laptop motherboard to run between 150-500 dollars. With that, labor that can range anywhere from 40-125 an hour. It will take around 1-3 hours to replace the mainboard, and quite possibly another 1-2 hours for OS repair and testing. A tech WILL have to leave the laptop running for a short period time (at least) to ensure proper setting of the cooling system and system operation if not makeing sure the replacement works.

    Regarding the Operating system. The statement of the “OS likely is not licensed”. It is verity difficult if not impossible to find a “replacement” mainboard that is not a near (if not) exact match for name brand laptops. Most (if not all) laptop mainboards are replaced with exact replacement parts. The OS should not require re-activation or even realize a mainboard replacement, and if the OS even recognizes the replacement it typically does not trigger re-activation (XP/Vista). If it does, as far as I have read and been told by Microsoft, it is legal to re-activate with that new system board.

    A qualified and/or experienced laptop repair tech should be able to easily explain this information to you. Everything with laptops is not 100%, because of other components responsible for the laptop operation. Still, a repair tech should be able to call you and at least partially break down the information to you if the mainboard is not only problem you have.

    If what the repair tech is saying sounds fishy or you are uncomfortable with the explanation, it can be well worth the diagnostic fee to get a second opinion. Be sure to let the second store know you are wanting them to give a second opinion. Try and avoid derogatory information about the other store (its a put off and alarm for the tech). More than likely, the second store will be eager to ensure a proper diagnosis to entice you to do business with them. (I was that way, even giving discounts on diagnosis).

  73. Joeb5 says:

    YOU DON’T need to buy a new OS the license covers replacing dead hardware.

    also it should be more like $100 + parts.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I can replace just about any dell laptop motherboard in less than an hour. There is absolutely no reason why it should take more than 1-2 hours (at the MOST) to replace a motherboard. Even at two hours, you would be paying $325/hour in labor for them to replace it. Mechanics at Mercedes-Benz and BMW don’t charge anywhere near that much for their labor on your car! Why would you ever think that it would cost that much to fix your computer?!?

  75. Ichiro51 says:

    @chumia40_El_Se√±or_Justicia: Damn inflation…

  76. dbshaw says:

    I tried to fix my own laptop, loose power connection, required a complete disassemble to get to the motherboard. Well now it lays in a cardboard box, dozens of pieces. Laptops are like puzzles. 800 is over priced but for what you’ll pay, look into a replacement.

    Also, go find a reputable repair shop, run by a geek actually jazzed on fixing computers, not the McDonald’s of computer repair, interested only in making a buck.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Find a real computer repair shop that’s factory authorized for HP warranty work and that’s qualified to do board level repair, meaning soldering. Boards are rarely repaired beyond resoldering external connectors for USB, power, video, etc., but it’s an indicatio of the skill level of the technicians.

    There are websites with good instructions about disassembling HP laptops and replacing motherboards, but don’t attempt it, except as a last resort, and only after practicing on an unneeded desktop computer or, better yet, a very similar or identical laptop belonging to an enemy or soon-to-be-former friend. ;)

    All good PC laptop companies provide free disassembly instructions on their websites.

  78. Ajh says:

    Geek Squad is pretty much always the most expensive repair service in town.

  79. FLJOE says:

    HP has a “service enhancement” extended warranty on certain laptop motherboards that fail. See here: [h10025.www1.hp.com]

  80. djkatscan says:

    That is the exorbitant price that is being charged by the third party vendors (with a markup) to supply the part.

  81. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia:

    Let me guess, you’re affiliated with this site?

  82. zombie_batch says:

    Replacing the motherboard is easy to learn. Before ordering the replacement, just check Youtube or Google. There will likely be videos showing how to get to the motherboard on HP laptops, possibly one specific to yours. Just be sure to keep screws organized for when its time to reassemble the laptop.

  83. Pimaxc says:

    well here is the issue, companies like best buy have to buy their parts from a certain vendor or a small group of vendors and knowing they have a client like best buy they gouge them like crazy. I’m not defending best buy here just letting you know the story behind it, best buy isn’t really making any more money off of you and quite honestly I don’t trust their labor, but I figured you might wanna know the real story.

  84. nuke3ae says:

    They are ripping people off just as much as bad mechanics do.

    it’s like 45 min tops to get an hp laptop apart.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Not seeing the actual invoice/quote we can see how much best buy is charging for labor and how much for the part. i know when i do repairs on laptop the markup on the laptop is usually anywhere between 30 to 70% the cost (70% of 150 being $105) and after seeing the model i usually quote between 1 and 2.5 hour of labor at my normal hourly rate.

    As far as Microsoft Licensing its very easy, the product key is connected to the motherboard. after a year it can easily be reactivated with no more the a phone call. You can use the windows key if its a “MFG approved replacement” so for an HP laptop being replaced with the official motherboard from HP, no problem. being its the same model you shouldn’t even need to reload windows so this should be a non-issue unless windows was damaged with the computer stopped working. possible and happens more then you would think.

    I always give the repair as an option when doing a diagnostic and repair estimate on any computer, I also give a recommendation of replacing it if the laptop repair cost more the 1/2 the cost of a new computer, If the problem is likely to happen again, or if i dont think the system will ever regain its stability/performance.

    I know that most of the HP DV4, DV6 and DV9 series laptop have a special extended warranty (recall) on them that covers replacing the motherboard at almost no cost to the end user. However getting HP to honor this is extremely difficult.

    I would recommend looking for a local repair store and checking to see if they are registered microsoft partners. making sure the have there B.E.A.R certificate (if they’re in California).

    Geek Squad had great potential but is a complete failure. I have to say through I love them as a competitor

  86. Alex Brewer says:

    I just had to order a replacement motherboard from my laptop. Because I have good third-party accidental damage protection insurance, I bought it direct from Dell. It was $649.99. Seems like a reasonable price if Bestbuy is getting the parts from an OEM. If you want to risk buying a mobo from a third party online and then having them install it, it would probably be cheaper, but not as safe.

  87. Alex Brewer says:

    Also, 3-4 hours labor to replace a motherboard? Bullshit. I’ve replaced motherboards in 20 minutes +2 or 3 minutes of BIOS work. No issues with OS licenses in the past for me. I’m not even a great laptop tech…

  88. OsiUmenyiora says:

    There are these little things called local repair shops. You know, typically operated by some independent guy who owns the place too. Last time my laptop motherboard and keyboard fried (spilled hot tea on it) got the new board plus the new keyboard, installed, for $300. I don’t know where this guy lives but find an independent.

  89. framitz says:

    150 for the board
    300 for labor – 150 per hour times two hours (OR LESS)

    For a friend labor is 1/4 to 1/2
    For family labor is free
    If you watch labor is 2x
    If you help labor is 5x

  90. Karl Kvalvik says:

    The Geek Squad is overpriced on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL. There is not an ounce of work that the geek squad will do that is not VERY VERY over priced.

    Blow dust out of your computer? $150, Spend 2 seconds backing up a laptop’s data to a provided external HDD $150. NEVER go to the Geek Squad, pay a friend.

    I offer my services to households for $20-$40 an hour, and to businesses for $60-$90 an hour. (And I still think, for the basic stuff, *Short of configuring Cisco routers for medium to large companies* that is still a bit pricey.*

    For the record, you are talking 2 hours MAX for replacing a laptop motherboard, and that is only if you are being uber careful about it (And it depends on the laptop’s brand).

    I get paid 33.5k a year and I am expected to do it all, and I do. There is nothing special about replacing laptop parts, other than simple skill at being an IT Specialist.

  91. klc says:

    Speaking simply from a generic technican’s POV;

    Is it a rip-off of a price? Absolutely

    Is it anything out of the ordinary? Absolutely not.

    Technical repairs on small form factor modern electronics are by no means cheap.

    Typical *simple* repairs that pass by my desk on projectors and other AV or comms equipment start at about ~$200 total invoice, and that is *simple* repairs.

    As this would fall under a ‘major repair’, the $800 total invoice might be a little high, but depending on the model – It could be even *less* then I would give an estimate for.

    Even considering my limited experience- including tooling; my calculated service rate is charged at something like ~$70/Hr. Laptops aren’t my department, but typically a senior tech would be doing (or at least supervising) work at that level, at a rate almost double mine.

    We have a term for situations like this where I work (and they come up hella often) “BER – Beyond Economical Repair.” – I have it on a big red stamp :P

  92. deleted01 says:

    “We found this “Ask a Geek” article from a year and a half ago that says you should expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $500 for a new motherboard, but that’s including the cost of the motherboard, a new operating system license to replace the one your computer came with (which likely is not licensed to work on the new hardware), and 3-4 hours of labor to swap out the part and reinstall everything. Opinions? Advice? Suggestions on better places to go for this sort of computer repair?”

    None of this is true. There are no after-market laptop motherboards. If yours happens to fail you get the same part from the OEM. Which has no affect on reinstalling an OS or licensing.

  93. TechnoDestructo says:

    “a new operating system license to replace the one your computer came with (which likely is not licensed to work on the new hardware)”

    Unless Microsoft has gotten a LOT shittier in the last 5 years or so, this is not true.

    I went through three (desktop) motherboards on one XP serial number.

  94. Beth Coccaro says:

    Last month the Dell dude replaced the mb in my laptop in less than 20 mins.

  95. FrankReality says:

    Usually the manufacturer has service manuals and parts manuals for their hardware available on the internet. With service instructions, laptops aren’t hard to work on. Just be patient and careful.

    Second, some manufacturers will sell you the service part you need with a significant credit for returning the old one. Typically in the business, they call this a FRU (field replaceable unit). For example, if the motherboard has a soldered in processor, the FRU service part will be a motherboard with the processor already on it – swap old and new and you’re good to go.

    BTW – there’s a shop near me that charges a flat rate of $50 for any repair/service. I assume that’s excluding parts.

  96. endless says:

    best buy/ geek squads repair is for their warranty stuff.

    think about it, what does best buy do? sell electronics, its in their interest not to repair things.

    800 is on the high side, even for them.

    and yes, short of SLR camera repair, laptop motherboards are one of the harder tech repairs to pull off.

    • Powerlurker says:

      @endless:

      I would suspect that the margins on repair services are far higher than those on any of their big ticket item when sold without an “extended warranty”. Also, the other big thing that Geek Squad does is install upgrades that people purchase at Best Buy. Just bought a new stick of RAM? They’ll charge you $40 for the 5 minutes of work it takes to install it.

  97. Anonymous says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia:

    Just checked their website: Their faq:

    Tech Assurance Premier requires a minimum 3 month commitment. Tech Assurance Premier does not cover monitors and/or peripherals, laptop/netbook screens,,motherboards, processors, and/or batteries.

  98. dryfire says:

    Laptop motherboards are generally too much hassle for me to bother with. It’s not impossible, but unless I’m very familiar with the model I’d never attempt the repair on someone else’ computer.

    You can tell a customer 1000 times that there’s a very good chance something will be damaged or break, but if you do break it the customer will still get upset… Not worth it.

    Geek squad is to be avoided, for anything that requires a decent amount of work they’d do what you would have to do with the manufacturer or an inter net repair site; mail it out.

  99. moostrength says:

    I worked for almost 4 yeras for a company that built computers under the IBM logo, and outsourced field service engineers to Fortune 1000 businesses in the Columbus area. I would estimate that I have worked on well over 5000 laptops in my life. I was certified for Toshiba, IBM, NEC, Compaq, HP, Acer, and obviously A+; since just about all vendors stipulate that first.

    I can tell you that older laptops, like for example a Toshiba Tecra 500CDT which I would see around 1998 might have taken 4 hours or more to repair, but none of the newer laptops would take that long. For one, starting with the Toshiba Tecra 8000 BTO systems Toshiba really started using the same screws throughout most of the laptop, negating the need to remember which screw went where. HP Printers especially the big industry printers do this, and have been doing this for a long time. In an hour you could field strip an HP 8000TN to it’s core. Just about every repair on a printer can be done in 20-40 minutes by an experienced tech.

    But those costs you’re seeing are not showing the difference between what those websites are charging versus what Best Buy is using for a source. To understand the disparity you need to understand that there are 2 kinds of parts on the market for repairs.

    There are two kinds of parts when you buy for repairs, remanafactured, which is the $150 part in this case, and retail, which is the $800 part. Retail parts are brand new parts that have never been used. Remanafactured parts are parts that were used in a repair at one time, and broke, and someone repaired a piece of the part at the component level. Even if a part was found to have no fault, ie the part was misdiagnosed by a previous tech, it would instantly be labeled as a remanafactured part.

    It’s no different than Hard Drives or Fusing Assembly’s for printers. A Refurbished Fusing Assembly for an HP Printer, say a 4100N is about 1/4 what it costs for a new Fuser. Same with Hard Drives. If you have a laptop that can only have say up to a 1.2GB hard drive because of a limitation of the BIOS, and although there are 120GB hard drives available for $100; you might have to pay more or the same at least for a drive that’s a huge fraction of the price; and in all likely hood that drive is a remanafactured drive.

    The average reader probably does not know about the distinction in parts. Furthermore as much as I can understand a persons frustration if they don’t know about this, the story about Best Buy’s incompetence at the sales floor is irrelevant to this problem; they are two separate issues. Why? Because chances are Best Buy will have that laptop repaired by a 3rd party instead of doing it themselves. Those costs have been in all likeliness by Best Buy after the repair company quoted them say $500 to do the repair themselves; Best Buy is just profiting off the other places repair job.

    In 2001 when I left my job at this place I referenced we were charging $75 per hour for diagnostic charges. $90 for a diagnostic today is not that high; most places are probably charging more than that. Yes you might be able to find a cheaper diagnostic fee but at the flipside you might risk having work done by someone who has no idea what they’re doing. I have seen it quite a bit where one person didn’t want to pay our diagnostic fee, so they took it to a local computer shop, paid half the amount we charged, then brought it in to us to do the repair work, only to find ZIF sockets damaged, pins bent, or screws in the wrong places (One time I had someone rebuild the laptop and use too long a screw in the PCMCIA slot area and punch a screw through the modem/NIC card, and shorted out the system board).

    If you pay $150 and something goes wrong, good luck getting them to answer for it. But if you pay $800 to Best buy and it fails, you have a lot better shot at them being held responsible for the repair and having to fix the problem if something goes wrong. And if you do the repair yourself and end up destroying your wife’s laptop, well; I hope the couch is warm and comfy.

  100. lilspooky says:

    Nothing from Best Buy, is a good price.

  101. missdona says:

    Dell just replaced my motherboard on my laptop under warranty. I didn’t need a new license or to reinstall everything. The hard drive is intact.

    I know that on-site support costs a more, but to me it’s worth it. I don’t have to release the laptop into the hands of someone and guess when I’ll get it back.

  102. narq says:

    Not many tech experts here I see. If I were to do this repair I would be charging an hourly rate so you would only pay for the work actually done. My estimate would be $150-300 in labor. This depends on how hard it is to get the current motherboard out and put everything back together and the possibility of issues that might be encountered. Some laptops are a huge pain. On the other hand this might only be a 30 minute install. I do most of my work rather fast, since I know what I’m doing (unlike Geek Squad). Either way Geek Squad charges you full price, but a local tech charges for the work done. I can’t see this possibly taking over 3 hours though.

    Tell you what, go to computer-q.com and send me an email with your model number. I can look up your laptop and give you an idea of how long it would actually take to replace the motherboard. I’ll tell you how to find a good repair tech in your area or maybe even find one for you.

    • lvhotrain says:

      @narq: That is way too much. You can’t get a MB replaced in under 30 min? Wow. Now if you’re going to back up data and reinstall the OS, then that is a fair price. But just the MB, come on man.

      • dave_coder says:

        @lvhotrain: $150 to $200 to replace the board is a fair price. Especially if you have to pay for insurance, millage, certs, tools and everything else.

  103. George Gardei says:

    The scariest computer repair horror stories start with “I took my computer to Geek Squad”…

    Anyway, I do a lot of laptop repair for the students at a college I work at. If the laptop is not under warranty, or the warranty has been voided by the milk spilled in it, I will fix it (for $20 + price of parts). (such a deal)… the general public gets a per hour rate.

    ebay is good places for parts if you know what you are looking for.

  104. ShyConsumeristFantasy says:

    [www.innovidian.com]

    Very fine small print at the bottom of this website.

    Tech Assurance Premier requires a minimum 3 month commitment. Tech Assurance Premier does not cover monitors and/or peripherals, laptop/netbook screens, motherboards, processors, and/or batteries.

    What’s the point of paying $30 a month if they don’t cover the most important part of the pc? That’s like buying health insurance and telling you sorry we don’t cover the heart, brain, eyes, and anything else that makes you alive but we do cover the common cold and flu. Another ripe off company.

  105. ShyConsumeristFantasy says:

    @DePaulBlueDemon: chumia40 are you a employee of this company? This company is a ripe off. Just like geek squad.

  106. SillyFTW says:

    GS would have ordered the board from an OEM. I would not be suprised if the MB cost $450-$550.

  107. MrEvil says:

    $800 is a tad steep. However, eBay prices for motherboards should not be used as a measure of getting a reliable laptop repair quote. eBay parts come from various sources and prices vary drastically. Also, the parts bear absolutely no guarantees from the manufacturer.

    Generally speaking you’re looking at $400 for a motherboard for just about any system factory direct. Some might run higher for more powerful systems. I’ve seen Toshiba prices as high as $600 direct from them.

    eBay is not a bad route to go, and I’ve had a good amount of luck with them. However I do warn my customers that while I will guarantee my labor I cannot provide any guarantees on the parts themselves. I buy from sellers with good + feedback and a good DOA policy.

  108. EbenezerNobdobber says:

    I can actually answer this question with some expertise as this is what I do for a living. Going to best-buy was a mistake, but for other reasons than price. I’ll stick to the issue at hand.

    For what ever reason laptop manufactures charge absolutely ridiculous prices for motherboards and lcd screens. I perform in and out of warranty work for Dell, Lenovo and Apple and I can tell you that all manufacturers do this. If a laptop is reasonably current, the motherboard purchased from the manufacturer is commonly in the $500-600 range + shipping – dealer cost. Once the laptop gets some age on it you would think part prices would go down, but instead they go up. The companies claim limited supply and higher demand, so in that case dealer cost for $700ish is not unheard of.

    It is true that you can go to ebay, blue raven, or other websites and purchased used boards for much less. If it were my computer that and I decided to fix it, that is what I would do.. However, these used boards do not carry a warranty most of the time, and even if they do the companies can be a lot harder to work with than the manufacturer; due to this a lot of computer repair places will only quote prices from the manufacturer as they want to be covered if something goes wrong. Myself, if a customer comes in in this situation, I will quote them a price based on ordering the part from a dealer, it’s an insane price and I try to move them away from repairing. I do not sell computers, I am only a repair center, but I will advise them to just replace it. If they are set on repairing I will give them the part number and allow them to go search for it online and buy it and I will install for a fee, usually $75. I do explain to them that if the buy the part, there is no warranty from me and most of the time it works out just fine.

    So, was $800 totally out of line… probably not… insane.. yes… but was best buy ripping them, probably not (at least in this case)

  109. tjfraz1 says:

    On average, a private IT person would charge $100 for the part, and $50 – $75/hr for labor at about 2 hours. So the math is:

    100 + 150 = $250 < $650

    Geek Squad are salesman and give IT people a bad name. They are the equivalent to crooked mechanics asking to change your “Blinker Fluid”

  110. Justifan says:

    it should cost a lot, you are expecting a lot of expertise for very cheap. motherboards in laptops are very proprietary, they are hard to purchase, expensive, and the installation requires expertise that is generally uneconomical to offer for most folks. fiddling inside a laptop is much harder than a pc, the risk of damaging other components when they are so small and crammed together and costing the company a large chunk of cash is quite high. once you add these factors together the cost should be high, and so its not really worth it to do replacements for cheap laptops unless you want to try it yourself.

  111. wkm001 says:

    I agree with lots of posters, this is not a task you want to take on yourself. Replacing a motherboard difficult and time intensive. If this is your first dis assembly you will break at least one thing while taking it apart. I guarantee it!

    The problem is, laptops these days are meant to be disposable. If something major breaks like the motherboard you need to accept buying a new one is your best option.

  112. Anonymous says:

    I’m on the moderately expensive side of consultant repair techs I’d say that this is about what you’d get with me, IF I were to try it.

    I wouldn’t. It’s far too involved. I’d tell the client/customer to get a new laptop.

    The last time I poked around a laptop’s motherboard I spent a good 3 or 4 hours. I f I were charging it would have been $600 easy, but I wasn’t replacing the motherboard itself.

    Geek Squad isn’t the place for that, go to someone that specializes in the model you’re repairing. They’ll do it quick and are less likely to screw something up.

    And honestly, just don’t go to geek squad.

  113. heltoupee says:

    @chumia40_El_Señor_Justicia: Do us all a favor and just go die in a fire, mkay?

  114. Anonymous says:

    I am a computer tech and have been for well over a decade. the problem with retail companies is that their margins are so low (amount of profit per item) that they try to make it all back on their repair sales. so they usually double the price of the part. so if it would cost you $200 for a part, they will sell it for $400 or close to that. now depending on the brand, type of computer, etc. there are motherboards that cost $600 but that is rare. i would recommend finding a independent repair shop that is authorized to work on that brand or at least some other major name brand computers. find out the level of experience and certification of their techs and ask them if you can bring in your own parts. although not usually what they prefer it can save you some money. however, be aware since they did not provide the part, they will probably not warranty the repair. because if the part fails, you provided it. it has nothing to do with what they did but with where you got the part from. so they will not want to be held responsible. chances are they deal with certain vendors who will offer them certain return privileges as well as they trust them and the parts they get from them.

  115. catcherintheeye says:

    Just to clear something up: technically speaking, a new motherboard is considered a new computer. If the OS has been purchased seperately, the license can be transferred to the “new laptop”.

    However, if it is an OEM license, and the motherboard is replaced, according to Microsoft’s licensing agreement the OS cannot be transferred and a new one must be purchased.

    Not that anyone does this.

  116. heltoupee says:
  117. flyromeo3 says:

    The O.P needs to either research how to swap out a motherboard or let the “pro’s” do it. Not saying BB Geeks are pro’s ( because they arent ) but your paying for a service THAT SOMEONE can complete for you.

    If im sick, should I second guess about going to a doctor when he’s going to bill me say….500 bucks for medicine when i can make my own concoction for 50bucks.?

    650 does sound a bit extremem but, something like this would cost that much.

  118. liesandslander says:

    in short Yes; it does seem like the right price, sad but true.

    best thing to do is scrap it, get a new one and either
    1) get a nice desktop for anything cpu hungry if your wife can do most of the intensive stuff at home and get a cheap netbook for portable things (i do this setup for school, great for easy things but as i said if you need a beasty laptop this isnt the option)
    2) get a laptop and get the best coverage plan you can.I used to be in geeksquad(i know…) so this is kinda skewed to one side and theres certainly alternatives which are better. usually through local repairs it runs about the same through calling them up and asking. laptop repair IS nasty work.

    granted all of thats opinion, now isnt it?

  119. adven2rous says:

    I own and operate a small computer repair business based out of Iowa. I replace laptop motherboards all the time, and I charge $129 as a flat rate for the labor. It takes me about 3-4 hours total with diagnosis, ordering the part and reassembling the computer.
    The prices of replacement parts can vary wildly from less than $100 for a popular dell or HP to almost $500 for a rare Sony Vaio. Usually a customer’s total bill comes to around $280-$300 total. I don’t know if the board this guy found online is new, remanufactured, has a warranty or not, but $150 seems reasonable for a common board with a minor warranty. Usually when the price of the repair is close to the cost of a new computer, I tell the customer and let them decide. If they decide not to have me fix the computer, I only charge a small diagnostic fee for my time ($50) and send them on their way.

    What this all boils down to is that you shouldn’t waste your time with BB, find a local repair shop that can do the job in-house. Even when waiting for the part to come in the mail, I average 3-4 days TOTAL turn around time for a laptop motherboard replacement.

  120. Anonymous says:

    You can replace one of these yourself inexpensively with a PC repair kit ($15-20 at Staples etc).

    It’s not very difficult, and you can google for directions on how to do it.

    As far as the OS license for the hardware…save yourself $90 and call Microsoft Support. You’ll be on the phone for about 20 minutes, but they’ll get your Windows license working with the new hardware. Explain that the motherboard fried, and they’ll hook you right up.

    Best Buy is a waste of time and money. They’re well on their way to becoming Circuit City: Part Deux

  121. Shutterman says:

    You need to check out:

    [h20000.www2.hp.com]

  122. cytoman says:

    Given the potential problems of a broken motherboard or an intermittent short, buy a new laptop. They are so cheap and you will have a warranty. Probably better networking too. As an IT director with 30 years experience, I would say you are being penny wise and pound foolish.

  123. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    $800 is alot of money for a mainboard replacement… but it can depend on the design of the laptop. I have replaced boards in ultra-portable laptops that were such a major pain in the ass to work on I wish I had charged $800 for the work.

    John, if you have developed a relationship with a tech shop and trust them, consider buying the board and have them install it and charge by the hour. Remember there is always the chance of damaging something in the laptop during the repair process.

    Otherwise, if you have any mechanical aptitude consider replacing it yourself. Look for a service manual on the web if the mainboard doesn’t come with instructions and go for it… you may have to buy a couple of torx screw drivers. To add to your comfort and confidence consider taking pictures at every step of the desconstruction process for reference during reconstruction. Now, the reason I say this is that even if you mess this up you will have had some fun and can use the remaining $650 you would have paid to buy a new laptop.

    Or, cut to the chase and just buy a new laptop with the $800.

    • GreatWhiteNorth says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth: Last thought… I support all those who have already advised to avoid the chain stores in house repair service. Although you may find a good techie… more than likely you will have your machine worked on by a tech who was selling cd’s last week and stereo’s the week before that… questionable skills if any.

    • Albadia408 says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth:

      Just like how outside of a big chain you may find a good tech. OR, you may find a kid who built his own desktop once and now thinks he knows what he’s doing.

      If you pay the Geek Squad to replace a motherboard, and they break something, it is seriously likely you will walk away with a new computer.

      If you pay Jonny-the-Tech to do it, and HE breaks your computer. Your likely to get… a broken computer.

  124. Nighthawke says:

    200-300 for a new mainboard easy for a laptop. Labor takes a bit of time, but not like what BBY wants to charge. 2-3 hours, tops, then an overnight burn in to ensure the board is good to go.

    If the laptop’s model # was given then one can easily get to HP’s spare parts page to see how much they want for a new board.

  125. CapitalC says:

    I am a computer tech and even I won’t bother with laptop mobo repairs, which are neither cheap nor easy. One client had an out-of-warranty Acer mobo fail (it was actually the power connector) and Acer wanted $600 to repair it… but they would repair the same problem up to 3 times at no additional cost (other than shipping). I said “Hellsno” and she put the $600 towards a MUCH faster new computer ($800 total).

  126. smokinfoo says:

    it’s a fair price if:

    a) you are not willing to do the replacement yourself (there must be some reason why)

    b) you can’t find anyone else to do it cheaper

    which means you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself and you haven’t bothered to explore your market any further so you are charged the convenience tax.

  127. JaideepG2002 says:

    The motherboard probably costs best buy $300-500 I bet. Just b/ you found it online for that price doesn’t mean Best Buy’s 3rd party supplier for those parts isn’t marking them up a lot. I worked at a retail store and it went the same way.

    It’s kind of like car parts, you can get the part for $50 and replace it in 1 hour. Or you take it to the shop and they come up with $400 bill.

  128. Anonymous says:

    A fair price would be the cost of the hardware and $100.00 labor. Depending on the laptop as to whether it will ever go back together properly. Cheap laptop normally equals cheap plastic clips that break the first time they are pulled apart.

  129. Jeremiah Rush says:

    I used to be a manager at Geek Squad City, the repair location GS sends laptops to. I guarantee you that they aren’t charging $650 in labor, no matter how much the “gah geek squad is your mistake cause everyone should know how to take apart a laptop like i can” crowd QQ’s about it. Had they asked, GS would have provided an itemized breakdown for the price.

    Geek Squad/BBY doesn’t go out to newegg when they get you a quote, so they aren’t going to always get the best deal; they are a rediculously large business, not some dude down the street fixing your lappy. They have a parts contract with a company, and are bound by the prices on those parts. Those prices are NOT set by GS.

    I haven’t worked for them in 2 years, but at the time, they were doing a million things to bring down the price. One of which was reclaiming motherboards and parts out of junked out laptops, so they could install them for MUCH cheaper than the parts company usually charges.

    Regardless, as with anything in life, if you get quoted way to high of a price… just don’t fucking buy it! Or get a quote from somehere else. Not every over priced item needs internet whining.

  130. Albadia408 says:

    Fun Fact – The price that you, as a consumer, pay for a part and the price that a Service Center (such as Geek Squad’s) pays for parts are very different.

    We’re talking $200-400 memory modules, $300-500 Hard Drives. Now when that cost is covered by an insurance backer (in the case of a service plan) or the Mfg, it’s no big deal. But in a case like this it’s a rough spot.

    If you’re able to order the part, and another shop isn’t able to do the work for you locally (or Geek Squad isn’t able to do it in store), they should be able to send it out with YOUR part, and do the repair that way for a relatively normal labor charge (compared to what other commenters have mentioned.)

  131. clickable says:

    I wouldn’t attempt a mobo replacement on a laptop unless it was a true junker and I had the luxury of using it for practice.

    Having said that… Anytime I do open the bottom panel of a laptop, even for simpler operations like switching out a hard disk or adding memory, I find it’s a good idea to take lots and lots of close up pics along the way with a digicam, especially and in particular of all the screws just as I take them out. As I remove them, I arrangethem on a crudely-drawn mockup of the back panel, scotch-tape them in place, and photograph them again, all in the hopes of remembering where each one is supposed to go when it comes time to put the thing back together. So far it’s worked. Maybe some screws have gone in the wrong slots once or twice but the laptops always started working again. I read these tips somewhere once and thought they were a good idea.

    But honestly, digging too deep into a laptop’s innards is not for the meek. In OP’s case, I’d download the data onto an external disk – or just put the hard disk from the laptop into an external enclosure – and get a new laptop. As he himself notes, he can get a better, faster machine for less than the cost of the repair.

  132. Anonymous says:

    A few things to consider…

    I agree that the mainboard is probably not a new one for that price. Likely a used one, or possibly the wrong one. Now, as to whether the labor charges are fair…

    Yes, you can do it yourself. I’ve done it myself. I, however, am not your average user. When you pay for professional work of any kind, you’re paying for several things. You’re paying for the expert knowledge, you’re paying for time, you’re paying for the work to be insured or otherwise covered in case of an error or mistake. If you do it yourself, you take the risk of breaking something or otherwise messing something up, and there is also the time to consider. Is $600+ in labor fair? That’s sometimes hard to judge.

  133. zsta2k7 says:

    check out http://www.blueraven.com
    It’s the actual send it service best buy uses.
    They charge a flat rate to fix laptops, HP is usually $279-289. The computer shop I work for goes through them to repair computers that have unavailable or expensive (read: more then repair cost) motherboards.

  134. christoj879 says:

    Laptop motherboard, I would typically charge 1.5-2 hours of labor. You can’t really get a motherboard from a different model of laptop due to the precise form factors used, so you’re left getting a drop-in which will have the same hardware and shouldn’t give you any hardware/licensing trouble, so you don’t have to reinstall the OS. Depending on the model, you’re looking at $80-150 for the motherboard itself, so you’re looking at $185-290 in parts/labor.

    You can try to save a few bucks buying the part yourself, but when customers do this it doesn’t work out because: they usually can’t get as good of a deal on the part, they get the wrong part, or if the part breaks they’re the one that has to pursue the warranty unless they want to pay us more money to handle it for them. By buying the part from the service provider the entire warranty is in their hands and is their problem.

  135. barty says:

    You may have been able to buy a new motherboard for $150 off of eBay (do so at your own risk, BTW), but in truth the part probably costs Best Buy, or any other repair shop for that matter, 2-3 times that amount from HP. I was looking to repair my sister-in-law’s 3-4 year old laptop cheap and sell it, but I couldn’t find a new motherboard for less than $100. Those were pulls from laptops that had other issues. I would be very wary of a laptop motherboard for a 1 year old computer being that cheap. Chances are it is probably refurbished or is a pull from a system with other issues.

    But I would run far, far away from the Geek Squad anyway. My cousin’s wife got quoted something like $250 to replace her DVD player in her laptop from them, when the only problem with it was it had come unseated. I re-seated the drive, put the retaining screw back in, and had it working in less than 10 minutes.

  136. Black-Cat says:

    Your problem lies in the fact that you are thinking about dealing with best buy. THEY SUCK ASS. It’s not a hard concept to grasp. Here’s a novel idea: support a local computer shop. You will find that it won’t cost so damn much, and almost as important, you will be keeping money in your community.

  137. Black-Cat says:

    Sorry to be crass, but if I’m reading this right, the price of anal sex is now $650.

  138. FrankenPC says:

    An experienced geek can replace a laptop board in about two hours. At a ridiculous 100$ an hour, that would bring the total to 350$. So, if they quote you more, then they are not skilled.

  139. anduin says:

    people, I know most won’t read this comment but contact private dealers in your area ! You don’t have to take it to a brand store, there’s a lot of qualified and HONEST people working hard to make a buck and will do this for way less than geek squad ever will.

  140. mmeehh says:

    out of warranty repair for failed motherboard is 398.00 if it is not customer damage then $$$$$

  141. mark says:

    Ok, a lot of you don’t seem to understand the legal issues that are driving the price up.

    Technically you can reinstall an windows OS from the restore CDs or just use the same hard drive and it would boot up fine. Most manufactures use their own image which is usually a volume license. Using a tool like key finder will show you that the license key in use on your system is not the same as the OEM sticker on your computer. Those images from HP/Dell etc are usually in some way tied to the BIOS also so you can’t load it on another manufactures machine. So while it does work; you cannot legally reinstall your OS onto a newly replaced motherboard. That OEM license is tied to that motherboard and legally you cannot run any volume license windows software without having a legit OEM license. So Best Buy is covering their ass by incorporating that MS windows license into their costs or they could get sued by Microsoft. Of course, Microsoft won’t notice home users that fix and reinstall themselves but they could go after a big company like Best Buy for millions.

    So cost breakdown:

    Motherboard – $150 (probably comes with a year warranty)
    MS Windows OEM – $100-$150 (home vs professional)
    Labor for 2 hours – $80×2 = $160 (Replace motherboard only; don’t forget that although its only a $15 dollar an hour job they also have to pay benefits; insurance; and make a profit)

    Total = $460 -$410

    Of course they could take the long way of reinstall your OS and moving your data which might bring it up to $800 and they might also sell only Retails licenses of Windows which are nearly $300 for professional back in the day.

    Personally I would never ever take my computer to them…way too many horror stories and they will hire any clueless kid to “fix” your computer.