What is a Motherboard?
The motherboard is the main circuit board inside the PC. It holds the CPU and memory, provides expansion slots for peripherals, and, whether directly or indirectly, connects to every part of the PC.
The essential motherboard make-up includes the chipset (known as the “glue logic”), some code in ROM and the various wired interconnections between the components know as buses. The chipset is fundamental, and controls how the motherboard interacts with everything else in the system. A good chipset can be more important than the power of CPU or the amount of RAM. The ROM code includes the BIOS, which has user-changeable options for how the motherboard operates with integral and connected devices. The buses are the electrical wires that connect everything together.
Motherboard designs use many different buses to link their various components. For instance, wide, high-speed buses are difficult and expensive to produce. The signals travel at such a rate that even distances of just a few centimetres cause timing problems, while the metal tracks on the circuit board act as miniature radio antennae, transmitting electromagnetic noise that introduces interference with signals elsewhere in the system. For these reasons, design engineers try to keep the fastest buses confined to the smallest area of the motherboard and use slower, more robust buses for other parts.
- Evolution of the motherboard
- BIOS – What motherboard BIOS does for a PC
- CMOS – complementary metal oxide silicon – RAM chips on motherboards
- EFI – Extensible Firmware Interface – explained
- Motherboard form factors
- Baby AT (BAT) Motherboard Form Factor
- LPX – Low Profile eXtension motherboard form factor
- ATX form factor
- NLX – New Low profile eXtended – form factor for motherboards
- Micro ATX motherboard form factor
- FlexATX motherboard form factor
- BTX – Balanced Technology eXtended – Motherboard Form Factor
- Riser architectures for motherboards
- CPU interfaces – motherboard slots and sockets for AMD and Intel processors