By Lua Jawdat 

29 January 2019

What it DoesEdit

A Motherboard is a circuit board that connects everything together in a computer. Found at the bottom or back side of a computer chasis, without a computer, a motherboard would be useless, and without a motherboard, a computer
Mother board

A Modern Computer Motherboard

would be unless. The motherboard allows the computer to receive power and communicate with its other parts, such as the CPU, memory (RAM), hard drives, optical drives, video card, sound card, and additional ports. Anything that allows the computer to run or enhances its performance is plugged into, connected, or part of the motherboard, and connected through slots or ports.      

How it WorksEdit


Parts of a Modern Motherboard

The motherboard acts as the mastermind behind the computer, transmiting data from one component to the next, and allowing the computer to function. When a computer and its power supply is turned on, power is sent to the motherboard. Data buses connect the data sent from the power supply to the chipset, and the two bridges--north and south--bridge the data to their components, such as the CPU or RAM.  

The Form Factor -- The form factor is the shape or physical form of a motherboard, such as the layout and size. While motherboards operate the same way, different models of motherboards, or form facotrs, will have different set-ups, components, ports, and dimmensions. Most PCs use specific form factors that work with their cases. Other popular form factors include: ATX and its variants and ITX and its variants. 

The Chipset -- The chipset, usually separated into two parts--the North Bridge and the South Bridge--is part of the motherboard's "logic system." The chipset lets the CPU, peripherals, ATA drives, graphics, and memory to connect to each other, by allowing data to flow between the different parts. The North Bridge, placed on the northern side of the chipset, bridges together the CPU, RAM, and PCIe. The South Bridge, placed below the North Bridge, on the southern side of the chipset, connects the BIOS, USB, SA
800px-ASRock K7VT4A Pro Mainboard Labeled English.svg

Parts of a Motherboard

TA, and PCI. 

BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) -- The BIOS controls the very basics of a computer's function. It allows one to turn on their computer, and completes a self-test everytime the computer is turned on. 

CPU Socket -- The CPU (Central Processing Unit) controls the computer's speed and efficiency, and interprets all intructions. Often called the brain of the computer, the CPU is vital to the computer and motherboard. The CPU is connected to the motherboard through the CPU socket, a resting place for th CPU. Pins underneath the CPU serve as the connector to the socket. Older CPUs had the same set of pins, called the PGA (Pin Grid Array), connecting the CPU to the motherboard, and allowing any CPU to fit into Socket 7. Some modern day and older CPUs use a variety of pins, fitting into several different kinds of sockets (none of which are Socket 7). The newset CPUs no longer have a PGA. Instead, CPUs rely on Socket T, where the pins are connected to the socket, and not the CPU. 

Data Bus -- E

Motherboard Buses, connecting data from different components of the motherboard together

verything works together on a motherboard because of data buses. It is essentially a circuit that acts as the bridge, connecting the North and South bridges to their components, as listed above. The data bus also connects the two bridges together. Bus speed refers to the speed in which the data is transmited across the bus(es), measured in megahertz (MHz). As shown in the image on the left, each blue line signifies a bus, connecting the data of the components to each bridge. 


The first motherboard, released in the 1981 IBM PC, only had a proccessor (CPU), RAM, and card slots. IBM had named it a 'planar
IBM PC Motherboard (1981)

The Original 1981 IBM Personal Computer Motherboard

,' instead of a motherboard. In the years following its intial release, IBM introduced the full AT and baby AT forms factors. A couple years later, in the late 1980s, Western Digital developed a separate form factor, but until the late 1990s, IBM dominated with its motherboard and subsequent form factors. No significant or drastic variations of the motherboard's form factor were released until 1995, when Intel launched the ATX form factor specification. Intel's 1995 release sparked a partnership between Intel, IBM, and DEC, and in 1997, the three companies released a joint model, the NLX form factor. Although the late 1990s proved fruitful for differing form factors, the ATX and its variants remained widely popular. The early 2000s saw an even higher release rate of form factors, significantly the ITX models, released by VIA Technologies in late 2001. 


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