Computer components

A guide to the technical side of computers

The motherboard

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What is the motherboard?

The motherboard is at the bottom of the computer and gives power to the CPU and RAM. Also, it allows other components to communicate with each other.Alternatively referred to as the mb, mainboard, mobo, mobd, backplane board,base board, main circuit board, planar board, system board, or a logic board on Apple computers. 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.

Below is a graphic illustration of the ASUS P5AD2-E motherboard and some basic explanations of each of the major portions of the motherboard. Clicking on the image below gives you a larger more detailed version of the picture below.

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What does a moherboard do?

A Motherboard is the spine of your PC, it is the link between all the different components inside your computer. One of the major functions of a motherboard is to act as the “hub” to which other computer devices connect. A board can come in many formations to fit different needs and budgets.

The Motherboard itself is a printed circuit board that allows the CPU, RAM and all other computer hardware components to communicate with each other.

There are huge variations in Motherboards from design, cases, power supply, size (Form Factor) and compatibility.

A motherboard from one manufacturer will support a single type of CPU and a few different types of memory. Other peripherals like video cards, hard drives and other components may not be compatible.

What is a motherboard?


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What is the CPU

Also known as central processing unit, the CPU handles all instructions received from hardware and software running on the computer.A central processing unit (CPU) is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output operations specified by the instructions. The term has been used in the computer industry at least since the early 1960s.

The form,design, and implementation of CPUs have changed over the course of their history, but their fundamental operation remains much the same. Principal components of a CPU include the arithmetic logic unit (ALU), which performs arithmetic and logical operations, and the control unit(CU), which fetches instructions from memory and decodes and executes them, calling on the services of the ALU when necessary.

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What does the CPU do?

Also known as a microprocessor, a CPU is the brains of a computer. To be more specific, a CPU fetches program instructions from RAM (input), interprets and processes it (execution) and then sends back the computed results so that the relevant components can carry out the instructions.

A CPU is a complex integrated circuit made of silicon. A modern CPU can have billions of microscopic transistors mounted on it. The CPU is typically enclosed by a metallic heat spreader which allows for better heat dissipation.

How a CPU Works