What is a Motherboard? Definition, types, components, and functions

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Written By Aditya Sharma

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A motherboard is a circuit board that contains electrical components and allows them to communicate with one another.

A motherboard is a circuit board that is used in general-purpose computers. This board can be found in personal computers, smart TVs, and smart monitors, as well as other similar devices.

It allows communication between electrical components as well as house components such as memory, CPU, and memory. It is typically made of copper and fiberglass.

This article will explain the functions and components of a motherboard.

What Is A Motherboard?

The motherboard is the most important printed circuit board in a computer's chassis. It distributes electricity and facilitates communication between the central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), and any other components of the computer’s hardware. Many motherboards work with different models and sizes of computers.

The IBM PC motherboard was the first to include a CPU and some card ports.

Compaq was the first to use a motherboard that wasn't based on an IBM design. The new architecture was powered by an Intel CPU. Compaq's success inspired other companies to follow suit, even though some in the industry considered it risky.

In the 1990s, however, Intel held a significant market share in personal computer motherboards. Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International are the top companies in this industry. Asus is however the world's largest motherboard manufacturer, while Intel remains one of the ten most prominent motherboard manufacturers.

Different Types Of Motherboards

To fully understand their function and purpose, we must first be familiar with the different types and specifications of motherboards.

1. Advanced Technology (AT) Motherboard

Because of their larger dimensions, these motherboards cannot be used with smaller computers. It is more difficult to install hardware drivers if the motherboard has a larger size.

These motherboards include six prongs as well as sockets and plugs to provide power connections. Because of their difficulty in recognizing these connections, users often have trouble connecting or operating the power connections. These motherboards were very popular in the 1980s, and they have been made ever since.

2. ATX Standard Motherboard

ATX is an improved version of the AT motherboard Intel created in the 1990s. Its initials signify "advanced techno extended" and the name ATX stands for "advanced technical." It is smaller than AT and allows components to be interchangeable. The connection elements have seen significant improvements.

3. Micro ATX Motherboard

These motherboards are measured in millimeters and measure 244mm wide. Manufacturers might have different sizes. The Standard ATX motherboard has fewer ports and slots. This motherboard is smaller.

This motherboard is best suited for users who don’t require additional connections or subsequent upgrades (e.g. more RAM or GPU) or aren’t looking to have extra connectivity.

You can install the motherboard in any case with enough space for 244mm x 244mm. It can be installed in larger cases that support Standard ATX or eXTEND ATX motherboards.

4. eXtended ATX Motherboard

The dimensions of this motherboard are 344x330mm. Different manufacturers may have different dimensions. This motherboard supports a single or dual CPU configuration and up to eight RAM slots.

You also have more PCIe slots (where the e stands to express) and PCI slots. These slots can be used for PCI card support in many applications. This software can be used on both workstations and servers. All eATX motherboards are spacious enough to be used as desktop computers. Because of the large area, airflow is possible and components can be attached.

5. Flex ATX Motherboard

These ATX Form Factor mainboards don't have the same popularity as their ATX Form Factor counterparts. These ATX Form Factor mainboards have the smallest size in the ATX family. These mainboards are lightweight and compact, but they come at a very affordable price. The modified version of mini ATX that Intel created Flex ATX between 1999 and 2000 was Flex ATX. It is the standard for motherboards.

6. Motherboard Low-Profile Extended, (LPX).

Two major improvements have been made to this version over the previous versions. First, the input and output ports were moved to the rear. The second was the addition of a riser to the device, which gives it more slots and makes it easier to attach components.

The AT motherboard can implement some of these functions. The AT motherboard does not have an AGP port. It can only be connected to PCI. The new, low-profile extended boards (NLX) have solved these issues.

7. BTX Motherboard

Balanced technology extended (abbreviated BTX) was developed to address the emerging technologies' needs. These technologies are more power-intensive and produce more heat. Intel stopped making BTX boards in the middle of the 2000s to concentrate on low-power CPUs.

8. Pico BTX Motherboard

Pico boards are smaller than standard motherboards and so their names refer to the small size of these boards. The BTX's top half is shared. There are however two expansion slots. It is designed specifically for digital applications and has a unique half-height (or riser) card.

9. Mini ITX Motherboard

The ITX motherboard is only available in a small size. This motherboard is now smaller than its predecessors. It was designed in 2000 and measures 17 x 17 cm.

Because of its faster cooling and lower power consumption, it is mainly used in small-form-factor computers (SFF). Because of its low fan noise, the motherboard is highly recommended for home theater systems. It will increase the system's overall performance.

10. Mini STX Motherboard

Initially, Intel 5x5 was the name of the motherboard now known as the Mini-STX. It stands for extended mini-socket technology. In 2015, the motherboard was introduced. It measures 147 x 140 millimeters. It measures 5.8 inches in length and 5.5 inches wide. The name 5x5 is misleading.

Mini-STX boards measure 7 millimeters from front to back, making them more rectangular. This contrasts with smaller form factor boards such as the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) and the mini-ITX, which are more rectangular.

What Is The Working Principle Behind A Motherboard?

When your computer is powered on, the power supply transfers electricity to the motherboard.

  • Data buses are data buses that transport data between chipset parts and travel between the southbridge and northbridge sections.
  • The northbridge component provides data connections to RAM and the CPU. The northbridge component is responsible for data connections to the CPU and RAM.
  • Depending on the card, data is written to RAM and copied to/moved to an expansion card.
  • The southbridge component controls the data connection to the basic output system (USB), the Universal Serial Bus (USB), and the PCI bus.
  • Your computer will start when signals are sent to the BIOS. SATA data "awakens" hard- and solid-state drives, as well as optical drives, by sending it data.
  • The SATA stores information that provides power to the sound and network cards, as well as the video card.
  • The rest of the components communicate with each other via an electrical signal, which acts as a hub. These data buses pass through the microchip's northbridge or southbridge elements.
  • These data buses then branch to other components like the CPU, RAM, or PCIe.

The bus will communicate information using a programming language (1, 0). The motherboard interprets signals from components and converts them into a language the other component understands. Modern computing systems can do this in fractions of a second, with very little delay between the input and the output.

12 Key Components Of A Motherboard

Let's look at the major components of a motherboard.

1. Connectors For Keyboard/Mouse

To allow users to connect their keyboards and external mice to computer motherboards, two separate connectors will be required. These connectors enable the computer to send and get instructions. There are two types of keyboard and mouse connectors. The PS/2 (for a PS/2) and USB (for a USB). The personal system/2 (PS/2) connector, a mini DININ plug with six pins that connect the keyboard and mouse to an IBM-compatible computer, is a mini DININ plug. Other computers can use the USB port to connect the keyboard and mouse.

2. Universal Serial Bus (USB)

The USB interface allows computers to be connected to other devices, such as phones. Users can connect peripheral devices such as scanners and pen drives to the motherboard via the USB port. It allows data transfer between the device and the computer as well as other devices. It allows users to connect peripheral devices to their computers via USB without the need to restart the computer. There are many types of USB: USB AUSB-BBB BBBB, USBmini, micro-U, SB, and USB-C.

3. CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) is commonly referred to as the brain and heart of a computer. The CPU controls all functions of a computer. There are many kinds of CPUs, each with its slot on the motherboard. A CPU can have either one or multiple cores. One core of a CPU can only perform one task. CPUs with multiple cores can do multiple tasks simultaneously.

4. RAM

The RAM slots link random access memory (RAM) to the motherboard. RAM is used temporarily to store files and programs that can be accessed via the CPU. Increased RAM capacity allows computers to store and process more programs and files. This increases performance. After the computer is turned off, its RAM content is deleted. The Standard for a computer is two RAM slots. Four RAM slots are available on some motherboards, which allow them to expand their memory.

5. Basic Input/Output Systems (BIOS)

Your BIOS contains the firmware of firmware on your motherboard. It includes instructions for what to do when the computer is turned off. It is responsible for initializing the hardware and loading the operating system. The BIOS allows the operating systems of computers to communicate with input devices such as a keyboard or mouse.

Some motherboards have either the legacy BIOS or the modern extensible firmware interface (UEFI) replaced. EFI and UEFI allow the computer to start quicker, provide more diagnostic and repair tools and offer a more efficient interface between the operating system components of the computer and it.

6. Chipsets

The interaction between the CPU and the other components of the chip is controlled by the chipsets. The chipsets control how much memory can go on a motherboard and what connectors.

The first is the northbridge chipset. The speed at which components communicate to the CPU is controlled by the northbridge. It controls the processor, AGP Video sl. ot and RAM.

The second list includes the southbridge chipset. The rest of the components connected to the computer are managed by the southbridge chipset. This includes communication between processor and expansion ports such as USB ports.

7. Cooling Fans

The heat generated by the electric current between components can cause a computer to become slower. If heat is not controlled, it can damage computer components. Cooling your computer will improve its performance. Cooling fans increase airflow, which decreases heat. Cooling fans are available for some elements, such as video adapter cars.

8. Adapter Cards And Expansion Slots

Adapter cards are embedded into a computer's motherboard to enhance its functionality. Examples of adapters include sound and video. The expansion slots allow users to install compatible adaptecardsrd. You can use the expansion slots to install compatible adapter cards.

9. CMOS Battery

The CMOS battery is a small round-shaped, compact device that can be found on every computer’s motherboard. It powers the complementary oxide semiconductor chip (CMOS). The CMOS chip can keep BIOS information and settings even when the computer is off. The CMOS battery lets the user skip having to reset BIOS settings like boot order or date.

10. Storage Devices

Storage drives can be used to store and retrieve data from media discs, or they can be used permanently. You can either install storage devices on your computer as hard drives or attach them to removable drives using USB ports. Primary storage drives for computers are hard drives (HDD and SSD). SSDs can perform more tasks and are faster than HDDs. You can also store data on compact discs and optical drives.

11. Front Panel Connectors

Front panel connectors connect the light-emitting devices (LEDs) on a case's back to the hard drive, power switch, reset button, and internal speaker for testing. Many USB and audio devices include LED lights.

These connectors are typically connected to small pins on the motherboard. Depending on the motherboard model, the layout of these pins may vary.

12. Connector For Power

The power connector provides an electric supply that allows the computer to function as intended. The 20-pin power connector converts 110V AC power into +/-12, +/-5, and 3.3-VoltDC power.

A Motherboard’s Functions

Here are seven functions a motherboard can perform.

1. Manages Data Flow

The BIOS component of the motherboard ensures that operating systems can interact and process instructions using input and output devices. This makes sure that the computer receives data as it is intended. It allows data transfer between devices through its USB ports. It ensures that processors have access to the RAM information, which improves efficiency.

2. Conserves Resources

The motherboard connects all the connections to the computer, saving time, money, and energy. Manufacturers can use the motherboard to connect all components necessary for a computer's operation. Consumers can save time and effort by not having to manually assemble or link parts. The cost of individual parts can be expensive as they need to be transported and incurred additional costs.

3. Optimizes Power Distribution

The motherboard provides optimal power distribution and supply. The motherboard distributes and provides power optimally. The power supply is essential for computers to function. The motherboard is connected to a power supply via a power connector plug. The motherboard then converts the power into electrical energy that can be consumed by the computer. The motherboard distributes the electrical current evenly among all system components.

The motherboard is powered by integrated circuit technology. The circuits ensure that the computer is more energy-efficient by using less energy.

4. Communication Is Crucial

The motherboard allows communication between components. Sometimes, multiple components are required to communicate with one another and complete a task. In such cases, the motherboard's circuit technology allows communication between these components. The motherboard can depend on some components, such as the BIOS and CPU.

5. Enhances Performance

The motherboard enhances the computer's capabilities. The capabilities of a computer’s hardware can be enhanced by using motherboards. Motherboards can be used by computer users to increase the output of their computers. They add additional capabilities and functions, such as sound or video capabilities. You can connect peripheral devices such as printers to your motherboards. This allows computers to perform additional tasks such as printing documents. To increase their computing power, users can upgrade or expand factory-made motherboard parts such as memory slots or hard drives.

6. Reliability Increases

Reliable motherboards will increase the reliability of your computer. A high-quality motherboard provides a solid foundation on which the components of your computer can work. The motherboard must have integrated circuit technology and proper cooling. These elements enable it to effectively manage the computer's hardware by ensuring that each element functions as expected and communicates with all other components. A reliable computer can perform tasks efficiently which improves the user experience.

7. Enables Productivity

The motherboard reduces duplication and simplifies the work for computer users. The BIOS pre-installs modern computers. EFI, BIOS, and UEFI enable computers to start automatically without having to alter basic settings such as date and time. They also load operating systems into the memory. These motherboard components allow users to focus on more productive tasks.


Even miniature computers like the Raspberry Pi have a motherboard because they are so crucial in computing systems. They are responsible for controlling the entire operation of the computer and allowing other parts (e.g. the CPU, drivers, ports, etc.) to communicate with them. They allow them to communicate with them. They enable other parts (the CPU and drivers, ports, etc. ), to communicate with them. They allow other parts (the CPU, drivers, ports, etc.) to communicate with each other. Although it can be expensive to replace or make a new motherboard, it is one the most reliable components of a computer.

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