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I have an original launch Nintendo 64 that I took good care of over the past 25 years, but alas it now exhibits the random reset issue. I narrowed the issue down to the motherboard. Newer revision motherboards are allegedly more reliable. If I get a newer revision motherboard (e.g. CPU-08 or CPU-09), can I drop it into a launch day revision N64 and expect it to fit in properly and work as expected? My concern is some screw positioning or a variation of the metal shroud will prevent it from seating correctly.

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    I eventually got my launch unit working. The actual issue was not the motherboard after all, but with power delivery in my house. It is very sensitive to any disturbances. Unplugging a different device on the same surge protector would cause it to reboot. It was repeatable with a completely different N64 (different AC adapter too) that I borrowed recently. I found an outlet in my house that delivered more stable power and it ran fine for two hours under load. I'm considering getting a line conditioner to help. Just a FYI to anyone who is troubleshooting this annoying problem.
    – mr_bond
    Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 16:21

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tl;dr; A motherboard swap should work no problem. I still recommend my other answer, but as pointed out it doesn't address the original question.

I pulled out a few spare consoles I have and found the earliest and latest serial numbers I could. These ended up being NS108315440 and NS260906715 which had motherboards NUS-CPU-03 and NUS-CPU-08-1 respectively.

The differences I found:

  • mold identifiers
  • the visible portion of the Motherboard had moved/different labels and traces
  • The first layer of heat shield metal against the CPU's appears to be a little different, maybe one gauge thicker? Basically the cases are identical

I placed the NUS-CPU-08-1 board in the NS108315440 case and screwed it down as easy as if it was the original motherboard.

I was really surprised by this because most consoles or devices receive changes and modifications, generally to reduce cost or to fix any launch bugs. Besides the motherboard revisions, it appears there were no other console case changes between the models that I compared, these cases could of been manufactured on the same day.

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  • You should update your existing answer rather than post a separate answer Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 12:18
  • I did consider that, but changing the answer would “alter history “ and I still feel the best path forward is my other answer. Putting both answers in a single answer could be confusing. This seemed like the best way to handle it.
    – James
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 17:36
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If your console is from launch, any value it has would be reduced by replacing the motherboard, also motherboards aren't generally sold separately so you will probably receive a case with the new one.
I'd suggest keeping them both as is, and swap the entire console and get back to playing :)

Launch consoles did have some minor issues, but since it hasn't presented this issue before now (25 years later). I'd say it might benefit from an internal cleaning 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and cotton swabs, you don't have to get very aggressive, but you can watch good restoration videos on YouTube.

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    Good advice (cleaning) but it doesn't actually answer the question of whether a replacement motherboard from a later rig will fit. Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 0:44

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