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A computer is a device that uses electronic circuits to process data according to the user’s needs, utilizing input and output devices. The processing of data occurs within a crucial component called the processor, which is located on a hardware circuit board known as the motherboard or printed circuit board (PCB).


The motherboard acts as a connector for various parts such as the CPU, memory, hard drives, optical drives, video card, sound card and expansion cards. It facilitates communication between these components and peripherals. Without a motherboard, a computer would be non functional. Additionally, daughter boards are often used as extensions of the motherboard.

History of Motherboard

Now let’s dive into how a motherboard operates. When you turn on your computer, the power supply sends electricity to the motherboard for it to utilize. Data buses are used to transfer information between different components of the motherboard like the southbridge and northbridge.

How Does a Motherboard Work?

The northbridge component of the motherboard establishes connections with important elements such as CPU, RAM (random access memory) or PCIe (peripheral component interconnect express). The RAM provides input to the CPU in order for it to perform its tasks effectively.
The way your card operates depends on its type. Once the data is written to the PCIe, it is either copied or moved to the expansion card.
The southbridge component of the motherboard manages various data connections including BIOS, USB, SATA and PCI bus.
There are various types of motherboards available. Let’s take a look at a few;

1.Advanced Technology (AT) motherboard;

These motherboards have power connections with six prongs each, which can sometimes be challenging to recognize and connect. They were quite popular in the 1980s and remained in production until the 2000.

2.Standard ATX motherboard;
The dimensions of this motherboard are typically 305*244mm (length*breadth), although it may vary among different manufacturers. It offers more expansion slots, such as up to four slots for RAM, two or even more PCIe slots for dual graphics cards and additional USB and other ports to enhance connectivity. Its size also allows ample space between components for efficient airflow and heat management.
3.Micro ATX motherboard;
These motherboards come in dimensions of around 244*244mm (length*breadth), varying slightly depending on the manufacturer. Compared to the Standard ATX board, they have fewer ports and slots available. This type of motherboard is suitable for those who prefer a simpler setup without requiring extensive connectivity or future upgrades like adding more RAM, an extra GPU or Graphics card or including PCI cards
4.eXtended ATX motherboard:
The eXtended ATX (ATX) motherboard has dimensions of approximately 344*330 mm (please note that these dimensions may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer). This motherboard is versatile, as it can accommodate both dual CPU and single configurations. It offers ample space for up to 8 RAM slots and provides additional PCIe and PCI slots for adding various PCI cards to fulfill different needs.
5.Flex ATX motherboard :The Flex ATX motherboard is considered to be the most compact member of the ATX family. It was designed to take up minimal space and comes with an affordable price tag. Intel introduced the Flex ATX variant between 1999 and 2000.
6.Low-Profile EXtended (LPX) motherboard :The Low Profile Extended (LPX) motherboard brings two significant changes compared to its predecessors. First, it relocates the output and input ports to the back of the device for easier accessibility. Second, it incorporates a riser card, simplifying component attachment.
7.BTX motherboard : The BTX motherboard, also known as balanced technology extended, was developed to cater to the increasing power demands and heat production associated with advancing technologies. However, Intel discontinued producing BTX boards in the mid 2000s in order to focus on low power CPUs.
8.Pico BTX motherboard : Pico BTX motherboards are named for their smaller size compared to regular motherboards. While they share similarities with standard BTX boards on the top half, they support two expansion slots.
The purpose of designing this product is to cater to the requirements of digital applications. One of its notable characteristics is the inclusion of half height or riser cards.
9.Mini ITX motherboard
It’s important to highlight that the ITX motherboard, which falls under information technology extended (ITX), does not come in a standard size. Instead, it has been intentionally made smaller compared to previous generations.

Motherboard components

Every motherboard is specifically designed to support different components, such as CPUs and memory. They can accommodate a wide range of hard drives and peripherals.
The primary components included in motherboards are;
The CPU, which houses the logic circuitry responsible for processing instructions from programs, the operating system and other computer components.
 Memory, where instructions and data are temporarily stored and executed.
 Storage interface for solid state or hard disk drives used for long term data storage and application usage.
 ROM BIOS that provides non volatile memory to store firmware like the basic input/output system (BIOS).
 The Northbridge chipset that connects the CPU, memory, storage and other components.
 The Southbridge chipset that links peripheral elements to the motherboard and connects with the Northbridge.
 Cooling fans that ensure an optimal internal operating temperature.
 Peripheral connector slots for plugging in peripheral cards like graphics and communication adapters.
 Connectors for peripheral devices such as USB ports and other connectors for external devices.
 A backup battery to maintain essential system configuration data when there is no main power source available.
 The power connector that links to an external power source.
Many other elements make up a typical motherboard. Imagine a motherboard as a complex web of electrical connections that link various parts of a computer together.

How do motherboards work?

Motherboards are responsible for the functioning of various electronic components in a computer system. The printed circuit board (PCB) of a typical motherboard consists of multiple layers made of fiberglass, with copper traces and planes to ensure proper power distribution and signal isolation. To enhance the capabilities of a motherboard, additional components can be attached through expansion slots. These include sockets for processors, memory modules such as dual in line memory modules (DIMMs), slots for Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) and PCI Express (PCIe) cards, as well as slots for solid state drives like M.2 drives. Furthermore, power supply connections are also integrated into the motherboard design to provide adequate energy to all connected components.
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