What is a motherboard?
So what is a motherboard? A computer motherboard (also known as the mainboard) is one of the most crucial components of a computer.
As the name suggests, a motherboard is the mother to all the other parts. In other words, everything in a computer connects to the motherboard. A motherboard (mobo) is the primary circuit board in a computer.
Motherboard (the mother to all the other components)
A typical motherboard has attachment points for all the common components in a computer. These are the Power Supply, CPU (Central Processing Unit), hard drive, RAM (Random Access Memory), graphics card, CD drive and other peripheral devices such as sound cards, network cards etc.
In recent motherboards, the sound cards and even the network cards are built into the motherboard making it unnecessary to purchase additional cards. Some even have built in graphics card; but personally I would recommend buying a separate card. The reason for this, is because if you buy a motherboard that has the graphics card built in then it becomes much harder to upgrade your graphics in the future. Also unless you are just using your computer for word processing and the internet then you will need a better graphics card then those that are built into motherboards.
So what is a motherboard’s most important component? The chipset is, because it determines the capabilities and features of the motherboard.
Every motherboard is different. Some have more expansion slots others have fancy features such as Wi-Fi or a 1394 connection. It is important that when you buy a computer you choose one that suits your needs. For example, if you have a wireless network that you want to connect to then it would be wise to purchase a motherboard that has wireless built into it.
Choosing a Motherboard
Its important to know what a motherboard is before going out and buying one. I have made this error myself in building a computer. I thought I would save a bit of money and buy a cheaper motherboard, one that still ran my CPU fine but didn’t have all the extras (wireless, firewire etc.)
Well the motherboard ran fine but in the end I needed to purchase all the extras (wireless and firewire) because I needed them in my computer. So to avoid having to purchase parts later it is a wise idea to not be skimpy on the motherboard and buy one that really suits your needs. My page on Choosing a Motherboard will explain the choosing process in more detail.
CPUs and Motherboards
Now every CPU (Central Processing Unit) does not go into every motherboard. This means that if you buy an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU then you will need to buy a motherboard that supports that CPU. Check with the manufacturer before buying the motherboard to make sure that the CPU suits the motherboard.
Different Motherboard Components
There are many different components on a motherboard. To find out about each different component click on the list below. I will briefly describe each component and then explain what that component does in a motherboard.
- CPU Socket
- Memory Slots
- Power Connectors
- IDE Connectors
- SATA Connectors
- CMOS Battery
- AGP Graphics Slot
- PCI-Express Graphics Slot
- Buying a Motherboard
- PCI Slots
- How to install a Motherboard
A computer motherboard is a complicated and compulsory component of a computer. Everything in a computer connects to the motherboard and learning about computer motherboards is vital if you want to understand the computer.