Brain of Computer : Motherboard

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What is Motherboard ?

The motherboard is the main component of the computer. It is often referred to as the mainboard or mobo. It is a printed circuit board(PCB). It controls all the devices and components attached to it. It has some slots, connectors, bridges with a heat sink. It is the most important part of the computer, where all the components are connected, such as the hard disk, RAM, CPU mouse, keyboard, etc.

The first motherboard was invented by the IBM company. They sold their first personal computer(PC) in 1981. Before the invention of the motherboard and microprocessors, wires were needed to connect card connector pins. And the computer was built in a mainframe, where the components were connected by a backplane of the frame. The frame had countless slots for connecting wires. But with the invention of PCBs, all these numerous connections of wires became a past.

Some Components of the Motherboard

  • CPU socket – There is a CPU socket where the CPU(Central Processing Unit) is placed. The various processors are placed inside this CPU socket. Some examples of processors are – Dual-core, i3, i5, i7.
  • Mouse port – It is the green color port in the motherboard. It is used to connect the mouse to the CPU.
  • Keyboard port – It is the purple color port in the motherboard. It is used to connect the keyboard to the motherboard.
  • Serial port – It is the black port beside the keyboard port. This port is used to connect the motherboard to any VGA(Video Graphics Array) port. It means, if you want to connect the motherboard to some bigger screen or LCD screen or if you want to connect the motherboard to any projector then this port can be used.
  • Parallel Port – It is the pink color port on the mother board. This port is used to connect a printer or scanner to the motherboard.
  • USB port – This port is used to connect an external device such as a pen drive or any other external hard disk to the motherboard.
  • LAN cable port – This port is used to connect an internet cable to the motherboard.
  • Audio port – This port can be used to connect the computer to any kind of audio source such as speakers, mic.
  • CMOS Battery – The CMOS battery helps to keep the device operational when no external power is provided to it. It powers the BIOS(Basic Input/Output System) firmware in the device. The CMOS battery also helps to keep the time and date updated in the computer.
  • Floppy port – This port is used to read the overall status information, to check whether the floppy port is ready to work. And it is done by the software.
  • PCI Slot – This slot is used to connect extra modem, network, sound card or video card, or some other network hardware.
  • AGP Slot – This port is used to connect some extra graphics to the computer. If you play games then you might require some extra high definition graphics, which can be added through this port.
  • Heat Sink – It is one of the important components. Whenever some extra heat is generated on the board, the heat sink absorbs the heat and keeps the device cool.
  • RAM slot – This slot is used to connect Ram storage to the computer.
  • Power connector – This port is connected to some external power source. And then from this port power is provided to the entire circuit.

Old and New Motherboard

In a modern motherboard the latest feature, the PCH(Platform Controller Hub) is fitted. This hub is the latest chipset architecture by Intel that has replaced the older architecture. Whereas in the older motherboards there would be a couple of chips, called the chipset. It consisted of if the northbridge and the southbridge chip. The Northbridge chip acted as a connector between the CPU, PCI, and the memory slot. And the Southern bridge connected the PCI slots and the various ports. But in the modern computer, the functions of the northbridge chip have been largely integrated into the CPU. And the functions of Southbridge are now completely performed by the PCH. So the Northern and Southern bridges have been completely eliminated in the modern motherboards.

ATX Motherboards

Motherboards come in different shapes and sizes. This is known as the form factor. And the most common motherboard form factors that are used in PCs today are ATX(Advanced Technology Extended). It was created in 1995 and today it is the de facto form factor for PCs. A full-size ATX motherboard is 12 by 9.6 inches. Before ATX, AT(Advanced Technology) form factor was used. It was used in the 1980s and was developed by IBM. At motherboards were 12 by 13.8 inches in size, but they are no longer used. Another version of ATX motherboards is Micro ATX boards, smaller than the ATX boards. These boards are 9.6 by 9.6 inches. These boards are cheaper than the ATX boards. They have fewer features and consume less power than a standard ATX board.