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Motherboard

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Description

  • A small or large circuit board inside a cabinet containing most of the electronic components.
  • Everything connected to the computer is directly or indirectly plugged into motherboard. Components like CPU, BIOS, ROM, RAM, chips, and CMOS setup information.
  • Expansion slots for installing different cards like video, sound, graphics, and NIC.
  • Also contains RAM slots, system chipset, controllers and underlying circuit to tie it together.

Types of motherboard

Non-integrated:

  • Assemblies such as I/O port connectors, hard drive connectors, CD drive connectors etc installed as expansion boards.
  • Takes lot of free space inside the case because of expansion slots.
  • If something goes wrong such as bend or broken pin or defective controller can be repaired with minor cost.
  • Are cheap and easy to produce.
  • Most of the olden motherboards were non-integrated.

Integrated:

  • Assemblies are integrated or built right onto the board.
  • Serial and parallel ports, IDE, CD drive are directly connected to the motherboard.
  • This tends to free some space inside case and better accessibility to the components.
  • Cheaper to produce but are expensive to repair.
  • Fast, powerful, feature rich motherboard at reasonable price.

Motherboard form factors:

  • Determines general layout, size and feature placement on the motherboard.
  • Form factors such as physical size, shape, component placement, power supply connectors etc.
  • Various form factors of motherboards are AT, Baby AT, ATX, Mini-ATX, Micro-ATX, Flex ATX, LPX and Mini LPX and NLX.

1) AT (Advanced Technology):

  • Oldest and biggest form factor and popular until Baby AT.
  • Capable of using 386 processor.
  • 12' inch size and was difficult to install, service and upgrade.

2) Baby AT:

  • Standard in computer industries and still being used in Pentium class products.
  • CPU socket is placed in such a way that it can interfere with longer bus cards.
  • Limitation over peripheral card installation.
  • I/O ports are connected to pin-outs near the floppy drive which results in jumbling of ribbon cables.

3) ATX (Advanced Technology Extended):

  • Improvement done in easy to use, support for current and future I/O, and also to current and future technology.
  • New mounting configuration for power supply.
  • Processor relocated away from expansion slots to allow full length add-in cards.
  • Provides air-flow through chassis and across the processor.

4) Mini ATX:

  • Commonly same as ATX.
  • Just change in size from ATX= 12" x 9.6" to Mini ATX= 11.2" x 8.2".

5) Micro ATX:

  • Supports current and new processor technologies.
  • AGP (Accelerated graphics port) to have high performance graphics.
  • Smaller in size and less power supply.

6) Flex ATX:

  • A subset of micro ATX.
  • Gives chance to system developers to create new personal computer design.
  • Enhanced flexibility to allow custom case and board design to be manufactured.
  • Small motherboard size and supports current processor technology.

7) LPX (Low Profile Extension) and Mini LPX:

  • Based on design by western digital.
  • Usually found in desktop pc's.
  • Case are slim-line, low profile case with riser card arrangement for expansion cards.
  • Riser card arrangement means expansion boards are parallel rather than perpendicular.
  • This make smaller case but limits number of expansion slots to two or three.
  • High quality product at low cost but makes difficult to upgrade and repair.

8) NLX (New Low Profile Extended):

  • Supports current and future processor technologies.
  • Also supports new AGP and tall memory technology.
  • Installing and upgrading the system is easy.

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Tip Box

Installing motherboard

  • First read the manual available with the motherboard.
  • Now place the motherboard on proper position and screw it up tightly and also check whether it is touching to any metal anywhere.
  • Plug in components like processor, CPU fan, RAM, hard disk, graphic card, power supply etc.
  • Check all the connections are properly connected according to the manual and then test the motherboard.

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