What is a mother board?

As can be seen by the above picture, the CPU chip is usually in the shape of a square or rectangle and has one notched corner to help place the chip into the computer properly. On the bottom of the chip are hundreds of connector pins that plug into each of the corresponding holes on the socket. Today, most CPU's resemble the picture shown above; however, Intel and AMD have also experimented with slot processors that were much larger and slid into a slot on the motherboard. Also, over the years there have been dozens of different types of sockets on motherboards, each socket only supports so many different processors, and each has its own pin layout.

Some facts about the motherboard!

What is the function of the motherboard?

A motherboard is a printed circuit board that is home to all the components necessary to make your computer run. Included among those components is the microprocessor, the brain of the whole machine. These also include a variety of input/output, or I/O, plugs and ports. The biggest plug of them all connects the motherboard to the power supply. This allows the motherboard to supply various different DC voltages to devices on the board, as well as powering onboard devices like the video card and the sound card as well as peripheral devices such as the DVD player, memory card reader and most importantly the USB ports found on the front and back of your computer.

What is on the motherboard?

The motherboard is made up of many different components that are affixed permanently in the manufacturing process. These are electronic components such as capacitors, integrated sound and video cards, and expansion slots to add other functionalities like wireless communications.

In addition, it contains a myriad of I/O plugs for such devices as your hard drive, CD/DVD player, additional hard drives and the connectors for the front-mounted on/off switch and your USB ports.

The back of a computer's motherboard is more revealing than the front. There, you will find I/O plugs that allow you to attach printers, scanners, microphone, speakers, and network connectors. All the ports on the rear of the computer are hardwired onto the back of the motherboard, while the connections from the front panel are all via thin wires that need to be plugged into receivers on the motherboard.

How are my hard drives connected to the motherboard?

Older-model computers utilized ribbon cables, about two inches wide, to connect the optical drive and your hard drives to the motherboard. Those had the disadvantage of severely restricting airflow within the closed case, causing the microprocessor to operate at excessively high temperatures, which led to a shortened lifespan.

More modern computers are connected via SATA cables, thin red cables less than 1/2 inch wide, which function much faster and allow "hot swapping," or plugging in and disconnecting devices while the power is on. New motherboards are equipped to handle as many as four SATA-connected devices at once. That would allow a user to have a CD/DVD player plus three hard drives connected and interacting with each other flawlessly.