Motherboard- the Main Features 1

Motherboard- the Main Features

Also known as “motherboard” or “mainboard”, the motherboard is, basically, responsible for the interconnection of all the parts that make up the computer. The HD, the memory, the keyboard, the mouse, the video card, anyway, virtually all the devices need to be connected to the motherboard to form the computer. This article will show you the features this item is so important.Overview of motherboards

The motherboards are designed in a way that is possible connect all of the devices that comprise the computer. For so, they offer connections to the processor, to the memory RAM, to disk, to the input and output devices, between other.

The following picture shows a motherboard. This is a model Soyo SY-KT880 Dragon 2. The letters point to the main items of the product, that are explained in the next paragraphs. Each the motherboard has distinct characteristics, but all should to enable the connection of devices that will be referred to in the course of this text.

The item shows the location where the processor should be connected. Also known as socket, this plug is not meant to any processor, but yes for a model (or models) specific. Each processor type has characteristics that differentiate it of the other models. These differences consist in the ability of processing, in the amount of memory cache, in technology manufacturing used, in the consumption of energy, in the amount of terminal (the “legs”) that the processor has. Therefore, the motherboard must be designed to accept certain processors. The motherboard view from above, for example, is compatible with the processors Duron, Athlon XP and Sempron (all of the manufacturer AMD) that use the form of connection known as “Socket A”. Thus, processors that use other sockets, such as Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 do not connect to this adapter.

Therefore, in the purchase of a computer, one must choose first the processor and then check to see which motherboards that are compatible. To the extent that the new processors they are being released, new sockets coming.

It is important to note that, even when a processor uses a particular socket, it may not be compatible with the motherboard related. This is because the chip may have a capacity of processing above the supported by the motherboard. Therefore, this question also should be verified at the time of assembly of a computer.

To learn more about processors, click here.

Item B – RAM Memory

The item B shows the recesses for the RAM. This connector varies according to the type. Motherboards older they used the type of memory popularly known as SDRAM. In however, the standard most used today is the DDR (Ddouble Data Rate), which also receives the name SDRAM II (a term little used). The motherboard image above it has two connections (or slots) for fitting memories DDR.

The memories also work at different speeds, even when they are of the same type. The motherboard shown above accepts memories DDR working at 266 MHz, 333 MHz and 400 MHz.Assuming that the motherboard only accept speeds of up to 333 MHz, a stick of DDR memory that runs at 400 MHz only I would work at 333 MHz in this board, the maximum supported.

In relation to capacity, the memories more old offered 4 MB, 8 MB, 16 MB, 32 MB, 64 MB, etc. Today, already it is possible to find memories that will 128 MB to 1 GB capacity. As you read this text, you can be that the current limit is already higher.

So that it is possible to connect boards that add functions to the computer, it is necessary to make use of expansion slots. These connectors allow the connection of various types of devices. Video cards, sound cards, adapters, networks, modems, etc., are connected to these fittings. The types of slots most well-known currently are the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) – item C1 -, the AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) – item C2 -, the CNR (Communications Nfor network Riser) – item C3- and the PCI Express (PCI-E). The motherboards more the ancient had even the ISA slot (I,industry Standard Therchitecture).

The motherboard view from above has an AGP slot (used exclusively for video cards), a slot CNR (used for modems) and five slots PCI (used by network cards, sound cards, modems, PCI, etc.). The trend the current is that both the AGP slot and the PCI slot to be replaced by the PCI Express standard, which offers more features and possibilities.

To know better the slots click here. To know about the PCI Express slot, click here.

Item D – Plug power supply

The item D shows the location of where to fit the cable from the source that takes electrical power to the motherboard. For this, both the motherboard as the power supply should be of the same type. There are currently two standards for this: the ATX and AT (the latter stepped out of line, but it is still used). The motherboard of the photo uses the standard ATX. It is important to note that the motherboard alone can feed the processor, the memories and the vast majority of devices plugged into slots. However, HDs, CD and DVD drives, floppy drive and cpu cooler (a type of fan coupled to the processor that serves to keep your temperature within acceptable limits for use) must receive connectors individual energy.

Item E – IDE Connectors and floppy drive

The item E2 shows the default entries (IDE – Integrated Drive Electronics) where it should be connected to the cables that connect the HDs and CD/DVD drives to the motherboard. These cables,so-called “flat cables” may be of 40 way or 80 way (roughly speaking, each route would be a “drizzle”), the latter being more efficient. Each cable can support up to two HDs or drives CD/DVD player, totaling up to four devices on the entries in the IDE. Note also that E1 points to the connector where it should be snapped the cable that connects the floppy drive to the motherboard.

The item F2 points to the on-chip Flash-ROM and the F1for the battery that feeds it. This chip contains a small software called BIOS (Basic Input Output System), which is responsible for controlling the use of computer hardware and keep the information regarding the time and date. It is up to the BIOS, for example, issue an error message when the keyboard is not connected. In fact, when this occurs, the BIOS is working in conjunction with the Post, a software that tests the components of hardware after the computer is turned on.

Through an interface called Setup, also present in the Flash ROM, it is possible to change settings of hardware, such as processor speed, detection hard drives, deactivating USB ports, etc.

The item G points to the part where are located the inputs for the mouse connection (both serial, and PS/2), keyboard, ports USB, parallel port (mainly used for printers), in addition to of other that are provided according to the model of the motherboard. These items are positioned so that, when the motherboard is installed in an enclosure, such openings are immediately accessible the back of this. The image below shows a different model of motherboard from Soyo, the SY-P4VGM, developed for the Intel Pentium 4 processor, that displays these connectors from another angle:

The layout of the entries seen above is similar in all of the motherboard that follows the standard ATX. In the old standard AT, this positioning is of another form and some connectors are different.

H – Hole plug

To avoid damage, the motherboard must be properly secured to the cabinet. This is done through the holes (item H) that allow the fitting of spacers and screws. For this, it is necessary to the motherboard is of the same standard in the office. If this for AT, the motherboard should also be AT. If it is ATX (the current default), the motherboard must also be, otherwise the positioning of the docking sites will be different to the mother board and to the cabinet.

I – Chipset

The chipset is a chip responsible for the control of a series items of the motherboard, such as memory access, buses and others. Mainly on the motherboards of today, it is quite often there are two chips for these controls: South Bridge (I1) and North Bridge (I2):

The South bridge (South Bridge): this is usually responsible by the control of input and output devices, such as the interfaces IDE or SATA. Motherboards that have onboard sound (seen below),may include the control of this device also on the South Bridge;

North bridge (North Bridge): this chip does the job of “more heavy” and, therefore, generally requires a heat sink for do not heat up very much. Notice that in the picture of the motherboard in this chip is pointed out, he, in fact, is under a metal structure. This piece is the sink. It is up to the North Bridge control tasks of the FSB (Front Side Bus – speed at which the processor communicates with the memory and motherboard components), the frequency the operation of the memory, AGP bus, etc.

The chipsets are not developed by the manufacturers of the motherboards and yes, by companies like VIA Technologies, SiS and Intel (this is an exception, since it manufactures motherboards also). Thus, it is common to find the same chipset in competing models of the motherboard.

Motherboards with onboard

“Onboard” is the term employed to distinguish motherboards that have one or more devices of expansion integrated. By example, there are models that have video card, board sound, modem or network card in the proper motherboard. The motherboard studied in this article has sound card (C-Media CMI9761A 6-channel) and network adapter (VIA VT6103 10/100 Mb/s Ethernet) integrated, or better, onboard. For this reason, the connectors of these devices are together with the entries shown in item G, as previously.

The advantage of using models onboard is the reduction cost of the computer, once that stops-if you buy certain devices because these are already included on the motherboard. However, caution is required: as more items the onboard one on the motherboard you have, the more the performance of the computer will be compromised. This is because the processor ends up having to perform the tasks of the integrated devices. In most cases, sound cards, and network onboard do not influence significantly in the performance, but the plates video and modems yes.

The video cards, even the most simple designs, have a graphics chip that is responsible for the generation images. This, in turn, requires memory to do this, mainly when it comes to 3D images. A video card onboard, even when accompanied by a graphics chip integrated, just “taking note” the processor, in addition to using part of the RAM memory.

If a computer is purchased for use in a shop or in some application that does not require a lot of performance, the purchase a computer with the motherboard onboard can be viable. However, those who want a machine for games and applications heavier should seriously think about purchasing a motherboard “offboard”, that is, with no items integrated, or at most, with adapter sound or the onboard network.


There are a number of companies that manufacture motherboards. The the best known brands are: Asus, Abit, Gigabyte, Soyo, PC Chips, MSI, Intel, and ECS. In spite of most of these manufacturers provide good products, it is recommended to search on a model in your best interest to get to know its advantages and disadvantages. For this, simply type model name in search sites. Usually, the result shows discussion forums where participants discuss the motherboard in question. The search worthwhile, after all, the motherboard is an item of extreme importance to the computer.

Motherboard- the Main Features 1