Motherboard Functions, Types & Parts

What is the motherboard?

In computing, the motherboard, mainboard, motherboard, or motherboard (English:  motherboard ) is the main integrated circuit card of the computer system. The other components that make up the computer are attached.

Therefore, it is a fundamental part of it and is located inside the CPU housing, where it has outlets to the outside that allow the connection of different peripherals and accessories.

On the motherboard, there are also essential elements of the system, such as the microprocessor, the RAM, the expansion slots, or the auxiliary integrated circuit (Chipset). Inside it, also, the BIOS firmware is installed, system software that allows regulating and testing the elementary functions of the hardware and acts as a support for loading the operating system.

Motherboards are manufactured based on standard dimensions, known as formats, to ensure they fit inside the CPU shells. These formats have changed over time and with new technologies, and their latest version is known as DTX (2007). Many companies prefer to ignore these formats and manufacture their motherboards as they please, in what is known as “proprietary formats.”

There are different types of motherboards, although the market seems to be grouped around all trends: motherboards that use AMD microprocessors (Advanced Micro Devices Inc.), or those that use Intel microprocessors (Intel Corporation). There are also multiprocessor boards that can host 2, 4, or more processors simultaneously, which translates into enormous data processing power.

Motherboard functions

Arguably, the motherboard is the central nervous system of the computer.

The motherboard is the place of integration and contact between the various components of the computer system.

It is the main and largest module, where the data arising from the microprocessor is distributed, and the instructions are transmitted either to memory, information storage systems, or peripherals.

Arguably, it is the computer’s central nervous system, the place where its minimal and indispensable operations are carried out.

Motherboard types

Motherboard Functions, Types & Parts
The monoprocessor boards house a single microprocessor installed at a time.

Motherboards are usually classified according to the number of microprocessors they can hold at the same time. Thus, we will talk about:

  • Monoprocessor motherboards. Those that are arranged to house a single microprocessor installed at the same time.
  • Multiprocessor motherboards. On the contrary, those that can have several microprocessors installed (2, 4, and even 8 simultaneously), thus accumulating their joint power.

Parts of the motherboard

Motherboard Functions, Types & Parts
The chipset manages the transfer of information.

The components of a motherboard are as follows:

  • Power connectors power. The different cables and devices provide the board assembly with the necessary voltages so that its various parts operate stably and continuously.
  • CPU socket. Called socket is the receptacle of the microprocessor (or several), which connects it to the rest of the system through the motherboard’s front bus.
  • RAM slot. The slots ( slots ) of the RAM ( Random Acess Memory- or Random Access Memory) serving to accommodate modules of such processing memory. They are usually arranged in pairs and have certain specifications that define the type of RAM modules that can be used on the computer. 
  • Chipset. It is a series of electronic circuits that manage the transfer of information between the various parts of the computer, such as the processor, memory, secondary storage units, etc. It is generally divided into two different sections:
    • North Bridge ( northbridge ). Interconnects RAM, microprocessor, and graphics processing unit.
    • SouthBridge ( southbridge ). Interconnects peripherals and secondary storage devices, local or external.
  • Other components. The motherboard also has other elements such as the system clock, the factory pre-programmed BIOS, the internal or front-side bus of the Chipset (in disuse) and the CMOS, a small form of memory to preserve the minimum data of the equipment, such as its settings, time and date.

How do I know which is my motherboard?

The most traditional method of finding out which is the motherboard of a computer is to open the CPU case and simply look at the largest card in which all the others are inserted.

But there are simpler and less invasive methods, especially if we are not experts in the field and we are afraid of putting the system at risk, or if our computer is a laptop or other small format that would not be easy to take apart. There are two ways to do it without resorting to the screwdriver:

  • With Windows 10.  A native tool of the Operating System called msinfo32 is used. We will have to press Windows + R to open the command run, write “msinfo32” and press accept. A window will open containing a “System Summary.” Just click on it to access the information we are looking for.
  • With other applications. There are third-party programs such as CPU-Z that can help us investigate the contents of our computer and often have free download versions

Debbie Lentz

Accomplished Global Supply Chain executive with significant experience in the consumer products and retail industries with large brand name firms in the public and private sectors. Strategic and operational, drives change and creates efficiencies through integration of end to end process improvement focused on enhancing the customer experience and fostering company growth. Collaborative leader with high integrity who builds talented, results-oriented teams.

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