What is the motherboard?

The motherboard is the main element of any modern computer and unites practically all devices being included in its structure. A basis of a motherboard is the set of key microchips also called a set of the system logic or a chipset (in more detail about it - below). The chipset type on which the motherboard is constructed, entirely defines type and quantity of accessories of which the computer consists, and also its potential possibilities.

And first of all - the processor type. It can be "Desktop" processors (processors for desktop PCs) - Intel Pentium/Celeron/Core, established in sockets Socket 370/478/LGA 775, AMD Athlon/Duron/Sempron - in Socket 462/754/939/AM2. Besides, in corporate sector it is possible to meet two - four-and even eight-processor high-efficiency solutions.

On a motherboard also are available:
  • DIMM slots for installation of modules of memory of type SDRAM/DDR/DDR2 (different memories for each type). More often there are 3-4 of them though on compact motherboards it is possible to find only 2 such slots;
  • Specialized socket of AGP or PCI-Express x16 type for graphics card installation. However, recently, with general transition to the graphics interface of last type, often and often one can see motherboards with two and even with three graphics sockets. Also there are motherboards (of the cheapest) without any graphics sockets - their chipsets have built-in graphic kernel and the external graphics card is unessential to them;
  • Near to the slots for graphics cards there are usually slots for plugging additional PCI or PCI-Express x1 expansion cards (there were also ISA slots before, but now such cards are a rarity);
  • The next important enough group of connectors - IDE and-or more modern Serial ATA interfaces for disk storage units plugging - hard disks and optical drives. One also can see there a connector for the floppy-disk drive (3,5 "diskettes) though all goes to that shortly they will definitively refuse it. All disk storage units are connected to a motherboard by means of special cables, in informal conversation called "loops";
  • Next to the processor there are power connectors (more often they are of two types - 24-contact ATX and 4-contact ATX12V for an additional line +12 V) and two - three-or the quadriphase module of VRM (Voltage Regulation Module) pressure regulation, consisting of power transistors, throttles and capacitors.
  • On the back part of a motherboard there is a panel with sockets for connecting additional external devices - the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse, network-, audio and USB-devices, etc.
  • Except the slots and sockets set forth above, there is a considerable quantity of auxiliary jumpers and sockets on any motherboard. They can be both contacts for connecting system speaker and buttons and indicators on the forward panel of the case, and sockets for connecting fans, and contacts for connecting additional audio, USB and FireWire sockets.

On each motherboard without fail there is the special memory chip more often established in a special panel; however, certain manufacturers for the purpose of economy solder it in a board. The chip contains BIOS firmware and a battery which provides power at loss of external voltage. Thus, by means of all these slots and sockets, and also additional controllers, the motherboard unites all devices, which are a part of the computer, in an indivisible system.

ASRock ALiveNF7G-HDready Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H. Abit AN-M2 nView ASUS P5B LGA775 on Intel P965 Chipset. Foxconn NF4K8AB-RS on NVIDIA nForce4 ECS AMD690GM-M2 ECS K8M800-M2(1.0) ASUS P5K-VM on Intel G33 Chipset Intel E7520 Foxconn 946GZ7MA-8KS2H on Intel 946GZ

Motherboard FAQ