What is a motherboard?

And what is it used for?

Motherboards are:

The motherboard is a printed circuit board that is the foundation of a computer, located at the bottom of the computer case. It allocates power to the CPU, RAM, and all other computer hardware components and allows them to communicate with one another.

Motherboard components

Below is a listing of links that describe each of the above mentioned motherboard components in additional detail.



  • 3-pin case fan connectors
  • Back pane connectors
  • Heatsink
  • 4-Pin (4P) Power connector
  • Inductor
  • Capacitor
  • CPU Socket
  • Northbridge
  • Screw hole
  • Memory slot
  • Super I/O
  • Floppy connection
  • ATA (IDE) disk drive primary connection
  • 24-pin ATX power Supply connector
  • Serial ATA connections
  • Coin cell battery (CMOS backup battery)
  • RAID
  • System panel connectors
  • FWH
  • Southbridge
  • Serial port connector
  • USB headers
  • Jumpers
  • Integrated circuit
  • 1394 headers
  • SPDIF
  • CD-IN

Motherboard form factors

As computers advanced, so have motherboards. Below is a listing of the various motherboard form factors and additional information about each of these form factors including ATX the most commonly used motherboard form factor today:


  • AT
  • ATX
  • Baby AT
  • BTX
  • DTX
  • LPX
  • Full AT
  • Full ATX
  • microATX
  • NLX

Since there is a motherboard, is there a fatherboard?

No, there is no such thing as a fatherboard when talking about a computer. However, there is such a thing as a daughterboard.