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What is Motherboard?

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In a computer system, the motherboard is a main printed circuit. It is also called the main circuit board or mainboard. It includes several components on a single platform. It allows communication between the RAM, ROM, hard drive, and other computer hardware components. The motherboard is also called the backbone of a computer. 

History of the Motherboard: The first motherboard was used in an IBM computer in the year 1981. Later, IBM also introduced the full AT motherboard in 1984. After that, in 1985 the Baby AT motherboard was introduced and quickly filled by western digital, in 1987 and the LPX motherboard was introduced. In July 1995, the first version of the ATX motherboard was released by Intel. Later, Intel also introduced the microATX motherboard. As time passes motherboards become more advanced in technology. In days, the advanced version of ATX is used. 

Some special features of the motherboard:

  • Motherboards significantly support various components of a computer.
  • It supports a single type of CPU along with different types of memory.
  • It is also responsible for compatible power supplies and allows everything works correctly together.
  • Other devices like a sound card, graphics card, network card, different adapters, and peripherals are also compatible with motherboard. If they are not, then they will not work properly.

How a motherboard is connected to the computer: A motherboard connected to a desktop computer case using standouts. These standouts are made with lite metal or plastic screws and these standouts prevent the motherboard from touching the case of the computer. If the motherboard keeps in touch with the computer case then some defects can arise in the motherboard. 

The components of motherboards

Following are the components of a motherboard:

  • heat sink
  • parallel port
  • capacitor
  • back pane connectors
  • northbridge
  • southbridge
  • jumpers
  • IC (integrated circuit)
  • PCI slot
  • memory slot
  • USB headers
  • super I/O
  • serial port connector
  • serial ATA connections
  • system panel connectors

Now let us discuss each component one by one: 

1. Heat Sink: A heat sink is used to maintain the required temperature of the processor and other components to work properly because most of the components are made with semiconductor material. We know that semiconductor material varies their resistant as changes in temperature. As usual heat sink made using aluminum and copper alloy. There are two types of heat sinks available: active heat sinks and passive heat sinks.

2. Parallel Port: A parallel port was used for old printers. It has a 25-pin female DB connector. These multiple ports were used to send and receive data collection in a single go. 

3. Capacitor: A capacitor is a two-terminal electrical device that is used to store energy electrostatically in an electric field. It is also known as condensers. 

4. Back Panel Connectors: Like its name, it is the back portion of the motherboard that allows connecting peripherals such as to monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. 

5. Northbridge: It is an integrated circuit that is directly connected to the memory, AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port), and CPU interface. This integrated circuit has a chipset that is responsible for connected components with it. Or in other words, northbridge is used to providing a communication channel between the CPU and the external devices.

6. Southbridge: It is also an IC on the motherboard, used as an I/O controller, and hard drive controller. 

7. Jumpers: Jumpers are small metal connectors to close off an electrical circuit. It is used to flow electricity to some regions of the circuit board.  

8. Integrated Circuit: The integrated circuit is a small chip that is used as an amplifier, timer, oscillator, and it is also used in computer memory. 

9. PCI Slot: PCI Slot stands for peripheral component interface slot. It is used to add internal components to a desktop computer. 

10. Memory Slot: A memory slot is used to insert RAM into a computer system. Usually, a motherboard consists of two or four memory slots.

11. USB Headers: It is a collection of pins that are used to connect additional USB ports to the computer. 

12. Super I/O: It is also an integrated circuit that is used on the mothers of PC.

13. Serial Port Connector: It is an interface to receive or transmit one-bit data on a computer system. 

14. Serial ATA Connections: The serial ATA was introduced to replacement of parallel ATA. It can provide 1.5Gbps of performance to every drive. 

15. System Panel Connectors: It is also known as panel connectors that are used to control the power button, reset button, lock button, and case speaker of a computer system. 

Sample Questions

Question 1. What is a motherboard?


A motherboard is the main circuit board that provides an interface to connect several components on a single platform. 

Question 2. Name the main components of a motherboard. 


A motherboard contains several components but these are some most important components of a motherboard:

  • heat sink
  • parallel port
  • capacitor
  • back pane connectors
  • northbridge

Question 3. What is the difference between northbridge and southbridge?


These are the following differences between northbridge and southbridge. 



It is attached towards the north of the motherboard.It is attached towards the south of the PCI bus of the motherboard.
It is directly connected to the CPU.It connected through northbridge to the CPU.
It manages communications between the CPU and other parts of the motherboard. It manages the I/O functions.
It communicates faster than southbridge. It communicated slower than northbridge. 
It is large in size.It is small in size.

Question 4. What is the PCI slot?


PCI Slot stands for peripheral component interface slot. It is used to add internal components to a desktop computer. 

Question 5.  Name any five major motherboard manufacturers?


These are five major motherboard manufacturers:

  • Aigo
  • AMAX Information Technologies
  • Antec
  • AOpen
  • Dell
  • Asus

Question 6. What is a USB port in the motherboard?


USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is used to connect peripherals and other devices to the motherboard. 

Last Updated : 24 Jun, 2021
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