What is the motherboard?

We explain what the motherboard is and its main functions. In addition, the types that exist, their parts and how to identify it.

  1. What is the motherboard?

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

It is, therefore, a fundamental part of it and is located inside the CPU housing, where it has outputs to the outside that allow the connection of different peripherals and attachments.

In the motherboard there are also essential elements of the system, such as the microprocessor, RAM , expansion slots or auxiliary integrated circuit (chipset). In its interior, likewise, the BIOS firmware is installed , system software that allows to regulate and test the elementary functions of the hardware and serves as support for the loading of the operating system.

The motherboards  are manufactured based on standard dimensions , known as formats, to ensure that they fit inside the CPU shells . These formats have changed over time and new technologies, and its latest version is known as DTX (2007). Even so, many companies prefer to ignore these formats and manufacture their motherboards at will, in what is known as “proprietary formats.”

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

  1. Motherboard Functions

It could be said that 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 instructions are transmitted to memory, information storage systems, or peripherals.

It could be said that it is the central nervous system of the computer, the place where its minimum and indispensable operations are carried out.

  1. Types of motherboard

The monoprocessor plates house a single microprocessor installed at a time.

The motherboards are usually classified according to the amount of microprocessors they can accommodate at the same time. Thus, we will talk about:

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

The chipset manages the transfer of information.

The components of a motherboard are as follows:

  • Power supply connectors . The different cables and devices that provide the board with the necessary voltages so that its various parts operate in a stable and continuous way.
  • CPU socket . Called  socket , it is the receptacle of the microprocessor (or several), which connects it with the rest of the system through the front bus of the motherboard.
  • 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 in 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 graphic processing unit.
  • South bridge ( southbridge ) . Interconnect peripherals and secondary, local or external storage devices.
  • Other components . The motherboard also has other elements such as the system clock, the factory preprogrammed BIOS, the internal or front Chipset bus (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.
  1. How to know what my motherboard is?

The motherboard is the largest card in which the others are inserted.

The most traditional method to find out which is the motherboard of a computer is to open the CPU case and simply look at the larger 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 to put the system at risk, or if our computer is a laptop or other small format that would not be easy to disassemble. There are two ways to do it without resorting to the screwdriver:

  • With Windows 10 . A native operating system tool called msinfo32 is used. We must press Windows + R to open the execute command, type “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 be used to investigate the contents of our computer and that often have free download versions.

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