What is the Motherboard? The Best Guide for Beginners

.While it’s difficult to say that one component of a PC system is more significant than the rest, the motherboard might rank among the most significant.

What is a motherboard, though, and why is it crucial for your computer? Here is all the information you need to know about your motherboard. If you have any more queries that aren’t answered here, tweet us.

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What is a motherboard?

All of your computer’s parts can communicate with one another thanks to the motherboard, which also enables interaction between the CPU and GPU, and other crucial components.

Additionally, it offers connectivity with other essential parts, such as the hard disc and RAM. Even peripheral devices, like a keyboard or mouse, can connect to it.

The motherboard, which keeps the device operating and connects all the computer parts to make the PC usable, can be thought of as the computer’s backbone if the CPU is its brain.

What types of motherboards are there?

Motherboards exist in a variety of shapes, and to work, they must be compatible with the components you select.

Custom-built and often created for each laptop, motherboards are utilized in laptops.

Since desktop PC motherboards will need to function with several different PCs and components, they are typically less particular. Fortunately, they will adhere to a set of architectural guidelines, making it easy to know where to put things like your RAM or GPU.

Nevertheless, not every component will function with every motherboard, with CPUs typically posing the greatest compatibility challenges. You can’t just plop an Intel Core chip into an AMD-compatible motherboard, and you should also be aware of the CPU generation.

Hard drives and graphic cards can be used with many different motherboards, but CPUs must fit into the motherboard’s specific CPU socket and be compatible with the chipset.

Download third-party software like Speccy to view your internals if you want to see what CPU is compatible with your motherboard.

To get a better understanding of what is available, make sure to look at our list of the finest motherboards.

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The contents of a motherboard

To help you understand what you’re working with, we’ll go over each component that can be found on a desktop PC motherboard. The same will be true of laptop motherboards, but since they are created to order and have different layouts and designs, we’ll solely concentrate on desktop PC motherboards in this article.

1. CPU (Central Processing Unit)

The CPU (or processor) is located here. To prevent the CPU from overheating, many modern computers have sizable cooling devices on top of it. Which often take the form of a block of metal with fins and a fan. The socket is made so that the CPU can only be inserted correctly.

2. RAM (memory)

Many desktop PCs feature two or four RAM slots, with extra slots allowing for the installation of more RAM. The only component of the motherboard that consumers may often change in laptops is the RAM.

RAM modules are long and thin, and they can only fit one way since the slots inside the ridge match the notches on the module. As earlier models won’t fit, this also makes it simpler to only attach appropriate RAM to the board.

3. Slots for expansion

Users can add additional PC components, like a graphics card or sound card, using expansion slots. PCI Express and the no longer supported PCI are the two basic categories of expansion slots.

Given that all motherboards have built-in sound and that many CPUs already have integrated graphics, you might discover that you seldom use your expansion slots. However, to attain high performance, gamers will probably want to use specialized graphics cards.

4. Connectors for storage

Storage connectors are used with mechanical hard drives, SSDs, and optical storage devices as DVD writers.

Connectors come in two varieties: the slower SATA2 and the quicker SATA3. Traditional mechanical hard drives and optical drives can operate at full speed with SATA2, but SSDs require SATA3 to do so. SATA3 connectors will function properly with SATA2 devices while SATA3 devices inserted into SATA2 connectors might operate at a slower speed.

5. A mouse and keyboard connections for PS/2

Some versions of keyboards and mice still use the outdated PS/2 port. Which is still found on some modern motherboards, even though the majority of keyboards and mice now connect through USB.

6. Visuals (monitor connectors)

You will connect your display to these ports if your CPU has integrated graphics. Use the ports on the back of your dedicated graphics card if you have one (see the section above on expansion slots).

There are various ports available for motherboards, including DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and occasionally the more traditional VGA. Although it won’t transfer sound, a DVI port can be used with an HDMI display and vice versa by utilizing inexpensive adaptors. You’ll still need a port that matches the one on your monitor.

7. USB ports

Almost everything that plugs into your computer from the outside, such as keyboards, mouse, printers, and gaming peripherals, uses some type of USB connection.

Modern motherboards have USB-C ports, which are more and more common as a result of Thunderbolt 4 capability in USB-C. Thunderbolt 4 adaptors handle up to two 4K displays simultaneously and offer data transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s.

8. Network port 

While wired network ports are not always present on laptops, they are still fairly popular on desktop PCs. Instead of using wireless, network ports use an Ethernet (network) cable to establish a physical network connection to your internet.

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