The motherboard is a printed circuit board and the base of an electronic computer which is probably the largest board inside a computer case. It allows easy communication between the CPU, graphics card, memory, and other computer components and provides power to operate these components.
Motherboards are usually not directly attached to the CPU but rather function only as a device that allows signals to be transmitted between the CPU and main system board. Typically, several different types of motherboards exist, depending on what the needs of the user may be.
There are five well-known and popular types of motherboards.
Parts of a Motherboard
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The onboard slots – These slots are usually located within the computer’s main frame or at the bottom right corner of the case. They allow one CPU card to be installed on the motherboard with an empty space on the slot left for a compatible PCI card.
These motherboards do not actually include the processor; however, they are often bundled with them. The onboard slots are usually compatible with many different types of processors. It is possible for the onboard slots to become disconnected from the CPU if the computer happens to get hot while running some applications.
In this situation, the operating system must be restarted in order to make sure the slots are working with the new processors.
PCI Expansion Slots
PCI expansion slots – These are available on many motherboards but generally come with their own PCI-E slots. These slots are where one can install an external graphics card, a scanner, or an external audio device. The PCI-E slots usually provide three to eight ports but can support up to twelve. The PCI-E slots also support a wide variety of devices.
These devices include drives for optical drives, disk drives, network adapters, digital cameras, and microphones. This type of motherboard allows a wider variety of devices than the on-board slots.
Power connection – Most motherboards allow for different connections depending on the amount of power that is provided. Some motherboards allow for single Molex connectors, others use five, some uses six, others use nine, and others still can use ten connections.
When using more than one mode port, it is important to check the specification to ensure that there will be enough power to support all the ports. In addition, many motherboards have AGP connectors that use a flat cable to connect the computer to the power source.
This is used to reduce the risk of shorting out the power source, and is only recommended for computers that are plugged into a wall outlet.
Motherboard Chipsets – The chipsets are what actually make the motherboard work. The most popular manufacturers of these are Intel and AMD. Motherboards can usually be purchased with these chipsets preinstalled. In some cases, these slots can be removed and replaced with another type of slot. However, in most cases, the chipset is pre-installed.
Motherboard RAM – The RAM is what holds all the information for the operating system as well as all the installed applications. The more memory that a computer has, the faster it will run. The memory is mostly purchased by the manufacturer or by the chipset of the computer, though some manufacturers place the RAM in specific locations in the Motherboard itself.
Motherboard Components – All the circuits of the computer motherboard are housed within the motherboard itself. The most common components are the CPU (all the essential elements like the central processing unit or the central processing units or the CPU), the graphics card (which connects to the video input device to the CPU), the motherboard hard disk, the memory (RAM), the processor (the brain of the computer), and the sound card.
Motherboards can have one or more of these components, or they can be all integrated in one circuit board. Integrated motherboard components are sometimes referred to as his or her boards. The most common integrated motherboard components are the microprocessors, the optical drive, the video card, the LAN or local area network interface card, the USB device, and the security component.
Motherboards can also include built-in expansion slots to connect to other hardware devices. These slots can be for audio cards, expansion cards for hard drives or memory sticks, or for the CPU’s internal expansion bus.
Many motherboards are equipped with PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slots for PCI-E (extended-endway) cards. These may include two or eight PCI Express slots with the ability to interface up to eight external peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, USB drives, digital cameras, and webcam.
Some motherboards also feature two PCI Express expansion slots that can support the installation of sixteen independent Virtio cards.