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What is a computer motherboard?
What is a computer motherboard? A motherboard is the main component of a computer that houses all the other components. All internal components are connected to the motherboard through small screws inserted through pre-drilled holes in the case. The motherboard includes ports for connecting all of the internal components. In addition to providing one socket for the CPU, motherboards typically feature one or more slots for memory. They provide interfaces for attaching floppy drives, hard drives, and optical drives. The motherboard is also equipped with fans and a special power supply port.
For connecting expansion cards, video cards, and sound cards to the motherboard, there is a peripheral card slot in front.
A motherboard’s left side is filled with ports for connecting monitors, printers, mice, keyboards, speakers, and network cables. A motherboard can also be equipped with USB ports, which allow users to connect compatible devices in a plug-in/plug-out fashion. For example, a pen drive, a digital camera, etc.
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Parts of a Motherboard
You probably wouldn’t be able to identify all these parts if you were to take your computer apart and remove the motherboard for a closer look.
You don’t need to understand every part of the motherboard in order to understand how computers work. However, you should know some of the most important components. Here are some typical motherboard components:
CPU sockets – full-sized CPUs are directly soldered on sockets, while high-speed CPUs generate a great deal of heat, so heat sinks and fan mounting points are right next to CPU sockets.
A power connector to distribute power to the CPU and other components.
Slots for the system’s main memory, typically in the form of DRAM chips. In many motherboards, this chip is known as the Northbridge. It contains a large heat sink as well as serving as an interface between the CPU, main memory, and other components.
Input and output functions are handled by a second chip called the Southbridge, which is not directly connected to the CPU, but rather via the Northbridge. The Northbridge and Southbridge together form a chipset.
Input and output devices are physically connected to the motherboard via several connectors that make up the Southbridge. Hard drive slots for storing files. Common connections include Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) and Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE). It is also known as the BIOS. BIOS is a chip that consists of read-only memory (ROM). It contains the software that starts the computer system when it is turned on.
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How does a motherboard affect computer performance?
A low-end motherboard won’t make any difference between people who use computers primarily for browsing the Internet or writing emails. However, high-end motherboards offer enthusiasts comprehensive features including:
Tools that enable CPU clock speeds to be increased using sophisticated overclocking techniques
The computer is built better and lasts longer as a result
Advanced hardware can be expanded with multiple expansion slots
Connectivity to the Internet is fast and easy thanks to onboard WiFi and LAN
Reproduction of top-quality sound with advanced audio ports
A wide range of video ports, including HDMI and DisplayPort
The fastest RAM is supported by memory support
With numerous USB ports both at the back and the front, you can access them easily
A 5G capable network
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Parts of computer mouse
The Computer’s Microprocessor
CPUs are also called microprocessors or processors. They fetch, encode, and execute program instructions as well as carry out logic and mathematical calculations.
In most cases, the manufacturer and type of processor chip are put on the chip itself. For example, Intel 386, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) 386, Cyrix 486, Pentium MMX, Intel Core 2Duo, or Core i7 are examples of processor chips.
There are several sockets of the processor on a motherboard, including sockets 1 to 8 and LGA 775. This can help you identify the processor that fits in the socket. For example, rPGA 988A/Socket G1 is compatible with many processors, including:
- Intel Core i7 (600, 700, 800, 900 series)
- Intel Core i5 (400, 500 series)
- Intel Core i3 (300 series)
- Intel Pentium (P6000 series)
- Intel Celeron (P4000 series)
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The Computer Memory
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, which is a temporary storage device that facilitates the use of a computer by temporarily storing dynamic data.
A hard drive is the storage device which stores all the data and active programs on your computer so that they don’t have to be fetched every time the processor needs them.
Unlike non-volatile memories, such as hard drives and flash memory, which cannot be powered off, Random-Access Memory is volatile, which means it will lose its contents once the power is turned off.
Upon shutting down properly, the computer returns all data from RAM to the hard drive or flash drive for permanent storage. When the user boots up the computer, RAM is filled with programs that are loaded automatically at startup, a process known as booting. Other files and programs that are still loaded later in the boot process are opened by the user.
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Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)
An operating system and hardware interface are controlled by the BIOS, which is a read-only memory containing low-level software.
A BIOS is essentially the connection between a computer’s hardware and software. BIOS is often called device drivers or drivers.
Read-Only Memory (ROM) is a small block of memory that is separated from main system memory and can be used to load and run software. There are several miscellaneous functions in the BIOS that control the keyboard, screen, disk drives, and serial communication.
System BIOSs are ROM chips on motherboards that are used during the boot procedure to start up the system.
ROM chips retain information even when the computer is unplugged, so the BIOS is stored on one.
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The CMOS Battery
A CMOS battery is also used to power the memory on some motherboards. This prevents the memory from being reconfigured when the computer is powered on.
The operation of CMOS devices requires very little power.
For example, the CMOS RAM may be used to hold basic information about a PC’s configuration, for example, the following information:
The different types of disk drives, such as floppy disks and hard disks
A description of CPUs
The size of the RAM
The time and date
A description of parallel and serial ports
The plug-and-play process
Settings for Power Savings
A Real-Time Clock (RTC) keeps track of the time and date, which are also stored in CMOS memory.
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L2 cache on an old motherboard.
It preloads information to the processor on demand from the slower main memory. Cache memory enhances PC performance by reducing the amount of data sent to the processor.
This is the Level 2 cache memory, which is attached to the motherboard on top of the processor. If the CPU does not have any internal cache memory, then an external cache memory is attached to the motherboard on the top of the processor.
The Level 1 and 2 caches of a computer are built into the processor die, which is known as the Level 1 and 2. The Level 3 cache is located outside the CPU die, and it is often referred to as the Level 3 cache. Read more on Best motherboards for nzxt h510
It is an input/output pathway connecting the CPU to peripheral devices. PCI is the most common expansion bus in PCs and other hardware platforms. Expansion boards plug into the expansion bus. PCI is an input/output bus that consists of slots on the motherboard. In addition to data, memory addresses, power, and control signals, busses can also carry ISA and EISA signals.
In this introduction to computer bus article, we discuss all of the different types of expansion buses and what they do for PCs.
The Computer Chip-sets
These key components include the CPU itself, the main memory, the secondary cache, and all devices on the buses within a PC. A chipset consists of many small circuits that coordinate the flow of data from and to the PC’s key components.
In addition to controlling data flow within a computer, a chipset also controls data flow between IDE channels and hard drives.
A NorthBridge is an interconnect between processors and RAM and is often referred to as the GMCH, or Graphic and Memory Controller Hub for its position physically near the processor.
As a means of establishing communications between slower peripheral devices, the SouthBridge can also be called the input/output controller, though it is also referred to as ICH (I/O Controller Hub).
There are a number of chip manufacturers, including SIS, VIA, ALI, and OPTI.
The CPU Clock
A quartz crystal provides the CPU clock with a constant stream of pulses so that all parts of the computer run in synchronization.
Similarly, a clock can be used to synchronize data pulses between sender and receiver in any communications device. A 200 MHz processor, for example, gets 200 million pulses per second from its clock. A 2 GHz processor gets two billion pulses per second from its clock.
The “real-time clock,” also known as the “system clock,” keeps track of the time of day and provides this information to the program. Operating systems can divide their time between active users and/or applications by interrupting the CPU at regular intervals with a “time-sharing clock.”
The Switches and Jumpers
It is possible to turn on or off a DIP switch just like you would a normal switch if it was placed on a circuit board, as it is very small and usually is flipped with a pointed object, like a screwdriver, a bent paperclip, or a pen top, as they are very small. It is important to be careful when cleaning around DIP switches, as some solvents might destroy them. Nowadays, dip switches are not found in modern systems anymore, and they are no longer used.
Several pins on the motherboard have jumper pins, usually connected by a jumper cap or bridge. By connecting one pin to another via a shorting link, the circuit is completed and a particular configuration is achieved.
It is a metal bridge that closes an electrical circuit by fitting over two protruding pins with a plastic plug. Occasionally, jumpers are used to configure expansion boards. It is possible to change the parameters of a board by placing a jumper plug over a different set of pins.
Best motherboards on Amazon
MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard
The MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard is designed for gamers who demand great performance and reliability. It has a feature-rich design that includes support for DDR4 memory and Intel® Gigabit LAN. This motherboard also comes with a variety of gaming features, such as M.2 support and USB 3.1 Gen 2. The MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a high-quality motherboard that can handle intense gaming sessions.
ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming motherboard is a great motherboard for gaming. It has a lot of features that make it great for gaming. It has a lot of gaming ports, including a HDMI port, a DisplayPort port, and a RJ-45 port. ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming motherboard also has a lot of gaming features, such as a fast processor, a great graphics card, and a lot of memory. This motherboard is great for gaming, and it is perfect for people who want a great motherboard for their gaming needs.
Final thoughts on what is a computer motherboard
Computer motherboards comes in difference sizes and shapes in what is referred to as form factor. For instance, mini-PCs have different motherboards from those on the full-size motherboard. The generations vary with the latest one having best of the technology available.