The motherboard is a common generic device employed on all modern personal computer models. It provides an easy-to-use interface for connecting external components to the computer system. In the simplest of explanations, the motherboard is an ATX form-factor motherboard that is used with the standard PC. Motherboards differ from computer models in many ways including but not limited to processor speed, bus speed and chip type. Motherboards are typically found in desktop and laptop computers. Many older computer models use an older form of the mother board called the ‘PC board’ or ‘PC interfaced motherboards’.
ATX form factor motherboards are the more common form factor for desktop motherboards. They are available with PCI Express, AGP, and PCI-E slots. PCI Express (PCIe) is an interface found on high-end cards but is less common and cheaper for desktop motherboards. The PCI-E interface can only be utilized with computers that have a PCI express slots. The PCI Express slots are not present on most desktop motherboards.
The motherboard serves as the hub through which all peripheral devices are controlled and communication to the external world is accomplished. The motherboard interfaces with the various personal computer hardware components through the various interfaces that are established through a range of cables and interfaces. This includes an ATM, ISA, or PCI bus, among others. The motherboard also contains the main microprocessor that commands the functions of the computer. The microprocessor is responsible for all the tasks performed by the computer. The motherboard also includes one or more expansion slots that allow the installation of add-on cards and other device drivers.
Motherboards can support a variety of formats such as ATX, PCI, AGP, USB, and even those that are ultra-modern such as the EISA standard. The usual case in point is when a motherboard already has several ports but is not compatible with another motherboard format. In such a situation, the extra ports would have to be bought.
The more frequently-found slots on a motherboard are those that control the operation of the microprocessor, memory, and other peripherals. On the contrary, those that are less commonly-found are the memory slots, the AGP slots and the PCI slots. All of these slots are controlled through a set of microcircuits known as the PMICs. The PMICs control all of the different aspects of the processor, including the memory, caches, registers, input and output peripherals and the CPU.
Microprocessors: The main component of the CPU is the microprocessor which is controlled by the microprocessor logic unit. This logic unit is housed in the case of an Intel CPU. The other type of CPU in use today is an AMD processor. With the introduction of m.2 devices, however, it has been possible for an individual to replace the traditional AMD computers with an Intel based computer due to the availability of an Intel based motherboards with an m.2 socket for the CPU.
Chipsets: The chipsets are the physical components that connect the motherboard to the rest of the computer. They are made up of different types of cable and bus connectors. The most common types of connector used in a chipset is the SATA, molex and Ethernet. These wires carry the signals from the computer to the chipset and back to the computer. The standard protocol used in communicating between the chipset and the rest of the system is the IDE and PCI bus.
Motherboard interconnects, commonly known as motherboard ports, are what link the physical components of the computer together. There are five types of interface that are commonly used in a motherboard. These interfaces include the USB, PCI, FireWire, IDE, and PCI bus. The USB connector, which is the oldest and the most widely used connector, is considered to be one of the safest ways to connect components to a computer because of its high level of safety and security.