What is a Motherboard

Gamers and enthusiasts understand the importance of motherboards and the role they play in elevating the online experience. The motherboards come with complex yet compact designs with PCIe support, power systems, cooling solutions, and even sound boost features, etc. So a competent gaming motherboard will enable you to unleash the full potential out of the processor and get consistent performance out of your build.  

But it is necessary to choose a motherboard wisely so that you can enjoy stable output performance and an enhanced gaming experience. An incompatible and underperforming motherboard will ruin your build and affect the ability of your PC to carry out even simple tasks. That is why people need to understand how a motherboard works, what are the basic components of the motherboard, and some buying tips so that they can make a wise consumer choice.

If you are also unfamiliar with the motherboard then you have come to the right place. Because I will be explaining everything you need to know about motherboards here. Without further ado let’s get started.

What is a Motherboard?

A motherboard is the main circuit board for the PC system. It is also called a logic board or main board. It is the biggest PC component that controls and establishes the connection between all the components of the PC. A motherboard provides power and links RAM, ROM CPU, GPU, and all other hardware components to carry out commands and deliver the desired output. They are available in different sizes and layouts in the market i.e. ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX.  

Many consider Motherboard to be the backbone of the computer system because of the central role it plays in communication and connectivity. They are found in all kinds of computers i.e. desktops, laptops, and elaborate enthusiasts Computer systems. It is impossible to run a computer without a motherboard.

How Do a Motherboards Work?

The motherboard connects main hardware components and external peripheral devices with each other. Without a motherboard, the GPU, hard drive, CPU and all other computer components won’t be able to interact and work together to deliver output. A motherboard has expansion slots to deliver power and connect the hardware.

A motherboard commonly has memory slots for RAM and Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) to connect hard drives. They also come with Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) that connects video cards and network cards. In addition, there are power supply connections, PCIe slots, and M.2 slots. In addition, Video cards are accommodated by Accelerated Graphic Port (AGP) and Universal Serial Bus connects the peripheral devices. 

So when all the devices are plugged in and the computer is turned on, the motherboard supplies power to all the computer components. Plus it allows all connected devices to interact and work together through it to carry out commands. 

Motherboard Form Factor

Motherboard Size Comparison

Motherboards are divided into different form factors depending upon their size, layout, design, the number of mounting ports or slots, etc. The most common form factors are ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. 

ATX

ATX (short for Advanced Technology eXtended) Motherboard is a full-size spacious motherboard. It has more expansion slots and ports to connect different types of hardware. They are ideal for premium enthusiasts and gaming builds as they have ports for coolers, bigger power supplies, most memory slots, and fans.

Micro-ATX

Micro-ATX motherboards can offer almost the same performance as the ATX motherboards. But they are smaller in size than ATX motherboards and that is why they have fewer I/O slots than ATX motherboards. The smaller size is achieved by adjusting the design of the motherboard and reducing I/O slots. This also helps in reducing the cost.

Mini-ITX

The Mini-ITX motherboard is the smallest form factor that is ideal for smaller builds and computer systems. They are a good choice for people who want to build a high-quality PC in the cramped space of their apartment. Such motherboards tend to get hot easily but an elite cooler can solve this problem in an instant.

Components of a Motherboard

Of course, you don’t need to tear your motherboard apart and examine your motherboard. But it is important to familiarize yourself with crucial components of the motherboards. The important components of the motherboard are: 

CPU Socket: The CPU socket is a socket that connects a processor with a motherboard. Make sure the CPU socket of your motherboard is compatible with the processor of your choice. 

Memory Slots: The Memory Slots are basically RAM slots. An average motherboard can have 2 or 4 memory slots. High-end motherboards can even have 8 Memory slots and supercomputers can have up to 32 slots.

Storage Drives (M.2/SATA): Motherboards often have multiple M.2 slots and SATA interface to make most of the hard drives and run commands smoothly. 

North Bridge: In motherboards, North Bridge is a chip that is responsible to link Southbridge with the CPU, graphic controller, and RAM. It is also larger than South Bridge.

South Bridge: South Bridge is a single chip that acts as a peripheral controller. It manages the I/O ports, drives, and other peripheral hardware

Chipset: It is an electronic chip that controls the flow of data between the CPU, RAM, and other hardware components. Keep in mind that different chipsets are compatible with different motherboards.

Audio and Networking Controllers: The motherboard comes with audio and Networking Controllers that help regulate and boost audio signals and network speed for enhanced user experience.

PCIe Slots: PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed interface for connecting GPUs, RAID cards, or SSDs. They come in the configuration of x1, x4, x8, x16, and x32. The higher the number of configurations, the higher the bandwidth capacity.

All Motherboard Brands

It is important to buy motherboards from well-known brands that have a history of producing sturdy motherboards that have stood the test of time. It is better not to buy from unknown and fraudulent brands, instead go for the budget option of the following brands: 

  1. ASUS.
  2. MSI.
  3. Gigabyte.
  4. ASRock.

Things to consider while buying a motherboard

Look out for the following things while buying a motherboard; Brand, PCIe support, power design, thermal cooling, chipset, form factor M.2 slots, memory slots, and even the aesthetics. You will be able to make a wise decision if you consider all these factors along with the pros and cons of each motherboard.   

AMD VS Intel: Both AMD and Intel have different chipsets for different generation motherboards. Intel motherboards usually have LGA 1700 or LGA 1200 sockets and AMD uses AM4 sockets for most of its motherboards

PCIe 4.0 vs PCIe 5.0: Each new generation of PCIe is faster than the previous one. This is true for PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 too. The PCIe 4.0 can transfer data at the speed of 16 GT/s and PCIe 5.0 can transfer data at the speed of 32 GT/s. So PCIe 5.0 is faster.

Final Verdict

A motherboard is indeed the backbone of the computer. This hardware component plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the PC runs efficiently and sufficient power is supplied to all components of the PC. That is why it is important to do proper research and familiarize yourself with motherboards before investing in one. Hopefully, now that you know everything about motherboards, you can make a better consumer choice. Good luck

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Mehak Sohail
Mehak Sohail

Mehak Sohail has tested a lot of CPU Coolers and Memory kits for us, and she's good at writing on them. Her articles are worth reading when you have to buy a liquid or air cooler for your build.

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