Parts of a Motherboard and Their Function

Updated on March 22, 2017
Patkay profile image

Patrick is a dedicated writer who wishes to make the world better by informing individuals who seek more knowledge.

The Parts of a Computer Motherboard

Some of the major components of a motherboard.
Some of the major components of a motherboard.

The main printed circuit board in a computer is known as the motherboard. Other names for this central computer unit are system board, main board, or printed wired board (PWB). The motherboard is sometimes shortened to Mobo.

Numerous major components, crucial for the functioning of the computer, are attached to the motherboard. These include the processor, memory, and expansion slots. The motherboard connects directly or indirectly to every part of the PC.

The type of motherboard installed in a PC has a great effect on a computer's system speed and expansion capabilities.

Major Motherboard Components and Their Functions

A labeled ASRock K7VT4A Pro Mainboard.
A labeled ASRock K7VT4A Pro Mainboard. | Source

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Also known as the microprocessor or the processor, the CPU is the computer's brain. It is responsible for fetching, decoding, and executing program instructions as well as performing mathematical and logical calculations.

The processor chip is identified by the processor type and the manufacturer. This information is usually inscribed on the chip itself. For example, Intel 386, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) 386, Cyrix 486, Pentium MMX, Intel Core 2Duo, or iCore7.

If the processor chip is not on the motherboard, you can identify the processor socket as socket 1 to Socket 8, LGA 775 among others. This can help you identify the processor that fits in the socket. For example, a 486DX processor fits into Socket 3.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory, or RAM, usually refers to computer chips that temporarily store dynamic data to enhance computer performance while you are working.

In other words, it is the working place of your computer, where active programs and data are loaded so that any time time the processor requires them, it doesn't have to fetch them from the hard disk.

Random access memory is volatile, meaning it loses its contents once power is turned off. This is different from non-volatile memory, such as hard disks and flash memory, which do not require a power source to retain data.

When a computer shuts down properly, all data located in RAM is returned back to permanent storage on the hard drive or flash drive. At the next boot-up, RAM begins to fill with programs automatically loaded at startup, a process called booting. Later on, the user opens other files and programs that are still loaded in the memory.

Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System. BIOS is a "read only" memory, which consists of low-level software that controls the system hardware and acts as an interface between the operating system and the hardware. Most people know the term BIOS by another name—device drivers, or just drivers. BIOS is essentially the link between the computer hardware and software in a system.

All motherboards include a small block of Read Only Memory (ROM) which is separate from the main system memory used for loading and running software. On PCs, the BIOS contains all the code required to control the keyboard, display screen, disk drives, serial communications, and a number of miscellaneous functions.

The system BIOS is a ROM chip on the motherboard used during the startup routine (boot process) to check out the system and prepare to run the hardware. The BIOS is stored on a ROM chip because ROM retains information even when no power is being supplied to the computer.

Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor Random Access Memory (CMOS RAM)

A CMOS battery.
A CMOS battery.

Motherboards also include a small separate block of memory made from CMOS RAM chips which is kept alive by a battery (known as a CMOS battery) even when the PC’s power is off. This prevents reconfiguration when the PC is powered on.

CMOS devices require very little power to operate.

The CMOS RAM is used to store basic Information about the PC’s configuration for instance:-

  • Floppy disk and hard disk drive types
  • Information about CPU
  • RAM size
  • Date and time
  • Serial and parallel port information
  • Plug and Play information
  • Power Saving settings

Other Important data kept in CMOS memory is the time and date, which is updated by a Real Time Clock (RTC).

Cache Memory

L2 cache on an old motherboard.
L2 cache on an old motherboard.

Cache memory is a small block of high-speed memory (RAM) that enhances PC performance by pre-loading information from the (relatively slow) main memory and passing it to the processor on demand.

Most CPUs have an internal cache memory (built into the processor) which is referred to as Level 1 or primary cache memory. This can be supplemented by external cache memory fitted on the motherboard. This is the Level 2 or secondary cache.

In modern computers, Levels 1 and 2 cache memory are built into the processor die. If a third cache is implemented outside the die, it is referred to as the Level 3 (L3) cache.

Expansion Bus

PCI slots.
PCI slots.

An expansion bus is an input/output pathway from the CPU to peripheral devices and it is typically made up of a series of slots on the motherboard. Expansion boards (cards) plug into the bus. PCI is the most common expansion bus in a PC and other hardware platforms. Buses carry signals such as data, memory addresses, power, and control signals from component to component. Other types of buses include ISA and EISA.

Expansion buses enhance the PCs capabilities by allowing users to add missing features in their computers by slotting adapter cards into expansion slots.

Chipsets

A chipset is a group of small circuits that coordinate the flow of data to and from a PC's key components. These key components include the CPU itself, the main memory, the secondary cache, and any devices situated on the buses. A chipset also controls data flow to and from hard disks and other devices connected to the IDE channels.

A computer has got two main chipsets:

  • The NorthBridge (also called the memory controller) is in charge of controlling transfers between the processor and the RAM, which is why it is located physically near the processor. It is sometimes called the GMCH, for Graphic and Memory Controller Hub.
  • The SouthBridge (also called the input/output controller or expansion controller) handles communications between slower peripheral devices. It is also called the ICH (I/O Controller Hub). The term "bridge" is generally used to designate a component which connects two buses.

Chipset manufacturers include SIS, VIA, ALI, and OPTI.

CPU Clock

The CPU clock synchronizes the operation of all parts of the PC and provides the basic timing signal for the CPU. Using a quartz crystal, the CPU clock breathes life into the microprocessor by feeding it a constant flow of pulses.

For example, a 200 MHz CPU receives 200 million pulses per second from the clock. A 2 GHz CPU gets two billion pulses per second. Similarly, in any communications device a clock may be used to synchronize the data pulses between sender and receiver.

A "real-time clock," also called the "system clock," keeps track of the time of day and makes this data available to the software. A "time-sharing clock" interrupts the CPU at regular intervals and allows the operating system to divide its time between active users and/or applications.

Switches and Jumpers

  • DIP (Dual In-line Package) switches are small electronic switches found on the circuit board that can be turned on or off just like a normal switch. They are very small and so are usually flipped with a pointed object, such as the tip of a screwdriver, a bent paper clip, or a pen top. Take care when cleaning near DIP switches, as some solvents may destroy them. Dip switches are obsolete and you will not find them in modern systems.
  • Jumper pins are small protruding pins on the motherboard. A jumper cap or bridge is used to connect or short a pair of jumper pins. When the bridge is connected to any two pins, via a shorting link, it completes the circuit and a certain configuration has been achieved.
  • Jumper caps are metal bridges that close an electrical circuit. Typically, a jumper consists of a plastic plug that fits over a pair of protruding pins. Jumpers are sometimes used to configure expansion boards. By placing a jumper plug over a different set of pins, you can change a board's parameters.

NOTE: You can check the jumper pins and jumper cap at the back of an IDE hard disk and a CD/DVD ROM/Writer.

Parts of a Motherboard

Did you get what you were looking for in this hub?

See results

© 2011 Patrick Kamau

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      oliveciara046 @gmail.com 

      13 hours ago

      So interesting and useful

    • profile image

      soujanyakattajiwar@gmail.com 

      7 days ago

      I'm understanding the CHM concepts and motherboard parts........so nice nd good....thank you patrick kamau......

    • profile image

      rea 

      10 days ago

      nice and soo helpfull

    • profile image

      SedRick_lEaRnS 

      2 weeks ago

      Nice and its helpful

    • profile image

      OKAFOR JONATHAN 

      2 weeks ago

      NICE ONE....TOO UNDERSTANDABLE.....THANK YOU PATRICK.....GOD BLESS YOU

    • profile image

      Richard Cornell 

      2 weeks ago

      It was too long ago what you talked about was current, but as life goes on what was treasure once is now land fill. So will be all that you wrote about.

    • profile image

      aisha 

      2 weeks ago

      thanks for this

    • profile image

      ritik jain 

      3 weeks ago

      Thanks for mother bord diagram

    • profile image

      surendran 

      3 weeks ago

      mother board

    • profile image

      Mustapha S Charles 

      3 weeks ago

      Subject understood, but is there any PC that has an optional operating system as alternative? as i just had from some one that it is there.

    • profile image

      manjare 

      4 weeks ago

      very very very nice

    • profile image

      robinson 

      5 weeks ago

      It gave the much needed info

    • profile image

      suraj mishra 

      6 weeks ago

      Very nice

    • profile image

      sammy 

      7 weeks ago

      It's nice bro very helpful

    • profile image

      Deepak singh 

      2 months ago

      Very good

    • profile image

      komalpreet 

      2 months ago

      very easy function. good

    • profile image

      Nana Kofi Arhin 

      2 months ago

      Wow, there was nothing left out to explain, good work done, simple and very clear

    • profile image

      Eunice 

      3 months ago

      Well explained. Thanks

    • profile image

      priya 

      3 months ago

      wow superb explaination of motherboard by showing practical way ... thanks patrick for tthis video .

    • profile image

      Lisah Charuma 

      3 months ago

      Very beneficial.... Simple, short and precise, just what i was looking for.... Thanx

    • profile image

      Manjula SN 

      3 months ago

      Hey dude, Thank you for giving very good informations.

    • profile image

      cristan what is the meaning of AGP? 

      3 months ago

      wahats is the meaning of PCI and SATA?

    • profile image

      Hardip Jogi 

      3 months ago

      Great info everything is explained very nicely easy to understand it helped so much cleared all my doubts. Thanks

    • profile image

      gagiya 

      3 months ago

      practically better and nice

    • profile image

      NOORYLAIN 

      3 months ago

      I LIKE THIS...BECAUSE IT WAS IN FULL DETAIL

    • profile image

      chidimma miracle 

      3 months ago

      i needed the combined functions of the mother board.

    • profile image

      lallu kumar yadav 

      3 months ago

      very nice

    • profile image

      Tadiwa Moyo 

      3 months ago

      Thanks your notes are really beneficial

    • profile image

      jayrosedelapena@gmail.com 

      4 months ago

      I really like it! Its very detailed. It really helps me a lot for my tomorrows exam for NCII.Thank you for this @Patrick. Wish me luck!

    • profile image

      Anisha 

      4 months ago

      Good

    • profile image

      Snehal 

      4 months ago

      Very nice

    • profile image

      spartelous 

      4 months ago

      Thank you so much! I appreciate this! what a wonderful site.

    • profile image

      Husain Ali 

      4 months ago

      Very useful nice

    • profile image

      Al 

      4 months ago

      fantastic site

    • profile image

      Pandit Abhishek Pandey 

      5 months ago

      Fantastic video

    • profile image

      iftikhar 

      5 months ago

      can we connect CCTV camera directly in mainbord of computer. or analog video source . and in which points we do that in computer hardware ?? is this possible??

    • profile image

      Martin Seth 

      5 months ago

      Thank you Patrick even though am still going to go through the process but the information was of great help .God bless.

    • profile image

      Aiku Samoka 

      5 months ago

      I found this Useful !

    • profile image

      insider 

      5 months ago

      No, no, no. I needed the PCI in this!

    • profile image

      David Ngobi 

      5 months ago

      The article is so informative, precise and concise, thank you so much!

    • profile image

      gaurav 

      6 months ago

      It is so informative & I got job for reading this article......so thank you so much

    • profile image

      kritika 

      6 months ago

      Awesome!!

    • profile image

      Gabriel 

      6 months ago

      Thanks i have got what i was looking ...i got knowledge about the c system

    • profile image

      Tasawar Iqbal 

      6 months ago

      Very informative and interesting. . . . . .

    • profile image

      machaah 

      6 months ago

      i am happy to see what i was looking for in this website

    • profile image

      nano 

      6 months ago

      superb video

    • profile image

      sheela 

      6 months ago

      it was soo helpful

    • profile image

      leela 

      6 months ago

      nice video......

    • profile image

      islok kumar 

      6 months ago

      this is great

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      6 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hey sardar, what information were you looking for?

    • profile image

      sardar 

      6 months ago

      no information about what i was looking

    • profile image

      sssamuel 

      6 months ago

      Nice write up.

      Helped me in my assignments

    • profile image

      yuvraj kalaskar 

      7 months ago

      im very happy for this blog it gives good informaton I'll score 10 pointer

    • profile image

      gladys 

      7 months ago

      good for computer system servicing study helps me alot thanks..

    • profile image

      samtie 

      7 months ago

      thanx so much

    • profile image

      ANESU 

      7 months ago

      This site is so helpful ,

    • profile image

      Muhammad Zaheer 

      8 months ago

      Best topic coverage. Good and very informative...

    • profile image

      Motisagar 

      8 months ago

      Really It's bro.. Thank you

    • profile image

      The Under Taker 

      8 months ago

      Really Good Job Patrick...

    • profile image

      julius 

      8 months ago

      thanks so much for simplifying to us the parts of motherboard and their functions keep it up

    • profile image

      Quentin 

      8 months ago

      Very Good Info Good Job could you make a website for other parts of the PC.

    • profile image

      Kalpana 

      8 months ago

      wonderful

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      8 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You are welcome BUNUNU and thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      KA'AFAR MUSA BUNUNU 

      8 months ago

      thanks for this assistant

    • profile image

      Anndrew Nyongesa 

      9 months ago

      good information indeed!!

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      10 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You are welcome poorna

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      10 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks Jean Karlo Rocher for the visit.

    • profile image

      Jean Karlo Rocher 

      10 months ago

      I don't have any comments

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      10 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You are much welcome EDWARD MULATI WEKALAO. Thanks

    • profile image

      EDWARD MULATI WEKALAO 

      10 months ago

      thank you for the response it added vast understanding to my informational need.i appreciate.

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      11 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Arnelgwapo, After creating your chart, right click on it and change the way Excel treats empty cells. To do this: Right click the chart and choose Select Data, Click Hidden and Empty Cells. Select how you want to show empty cells.

      You can also check this article for more information https://turbofuture.com/computers/How-to-get-Excel...

    • profile image

      arnelgwapo 

      11 months ago

      How to Get Excel 2007 and 2010 to Ignore Empty Cells in a Chart or Graph

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      11 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Magenta, it is easy to join hubpages, you can use my referal tracker https://hubpages.com/my/earnings/tracker/pkk

      or simply go to HubPages site and create account.

    • profile image

      Magenta Kumar 

      11 months ago

      Thank you for nice information about CPU and Motherboard

    • profile image

      alburnas mutua 

      11 months ago

      thanks for the information it was helpful

    • profile image

      Stephen 

      11 months ago

      This is good

    • profile image

      kirdip 

      11 months ago

      great informtion ...as i am student of class "10" of technical and it sector,,,,it really helped me in my exams and solvings the problems of parts of mother board....

    • profile image

      Young_imran 

      12 months ago

      Good and fyn.. We really appreciate this site, GOD bless U

    • profile image

      SYEDGanih was here 

      12 months ago

      Really nice

    • profile image

      sam 

      13 months ago

      Soo helpful

    • profile image

      bittu Choudhary 

      13 months ago

      Very very helpful for us, I can't explain

      Thanks a lot

    • profile image

      capstran ngeti 

      13 months ago

      It really interesting

    • profile image

      karan modi 

      13 months ago

      really....nice ...

    • profile image

      JONATHAN J-STAR 

      13 months ago

      WOW!THIS IS VERY HELPFUL

    • profile image

      eddy 

      14 months ago

      its very interesting and helpful

    • profile image

      14 months ago

      Thanks for this good job

    • profile image

      Moksha Jain 

      14 months ago

      It is very helpful and NYC to project

    • profile image

      Zebby 

      14 months ago

      Thanks so much Kamau, great stuff! I am doing A+ just started with Components of motherboard, your work was very helpful

      keep up the good job

    • profile image

      Maven udom 

      14 months ago

      thanks a lot for the inspiation

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      14 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You are much welcome Linslot sumo David and thanks for the visit. All the best.

    • profile image

      mamadou barry 

      16 months ago

      thank you for the informtion

    • profile image

      Bahath 

      16 months ago

      I'm glad to see this lesson.

    • profile image

      Welles Dark 

      17 months ago

      Thanks

    • profile image

      xx 

      17 months ago

      its really a helpful notes

    • profile image

      jinsigoshal 

      17 months ago

      it's good but need more information about other parts also

    • profile image

      bank 

      17 months ago

      am a computer science student on industrial training feeling my log book i was to rite a report on motherboard and bios and here i am so good to be here thanks bro God will make you bigeer

    • profile image

      Atom 

      17 months ago

      I am doing a repot on motherboards and this is very helpful

    • profile image

      Unknown 

      18 months ago

      thank you for helping me =)

    • profile image

      Happy 

      18 months ago

      Thanks Patt

    • profile image

      Enayat 

      18 months ago

      thanks for this article

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)