What is it?

The motherboard serves to connect all of the parts of a computer together. The CPU, memory, hard drives, optical drives, video card, sound card and other ports and expansion cards all connect to the motherboard directly or via cables.

The motherboard can be thought of as the "back bone" of the computer.

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Also known as...

mainboard, mobo, MB, system board, logic board

Important facts...

Motherboards, cases and power supplies all come in different sizes called form factors. All three must be compatible to work properly together.

Motherboards vary greatly in respect to the types of components they support. For example, each motherboard supports a single type of CPU and a short list of memory types. Additionally, some video cards, hard drives and other peripherals may not be compatible. The motherboard manufacturer should provide clear guidance on component compatibilities.