Motherboards Made Easy
What's a Motherboard all
about? - The basics.
Tutorial ... "Inside Your
PC - Motherboard"
When you open up a computer case you see a large printed circuit board
underneath all the other components.
This circuit board is the motherboard, and its function is to provide power and
connections to all the other components of the computer. The motherboard (or
mobo as it is sometimes called) has various sockets for inserting stuff like
video or audio cards. It also has a socket for the Central Processor Unit
(CPU), and this socket determines what kind of CPU can be used in the
Motherboards are usually classified by their CPU socket. When shopping for a
motherboard you will see Socket A, Socket 478, or Socket 775 for example.
The different types of sockets use different pin layouts for accepting the CPU.
You cannot fit a Socket A CPU into a Socket 478 motherboard. At least not
without breaking it:-) When you see a name like Socket 478 or Socket 939, the
number refers to the number of contacts that the CPU has.
Socket A (also called Socket 462) was the most popular type of layout for AMD
processors until recently. It is gradually being replaced by Socket 754 and
Socket 939. Socket 478 is a common layout for Intel processors such as the
Pentium 4. Intel is gradually introducing a new socket layout called Socket T
(also called Socket 775 or LGA 775).
Chipsets are the intermediary between the CPU and the other components of the
computer and are divided into two parts--the Northbridge and the Southbridge.
The Northbridge is the faster of the two.It connects directly to the CPU
through the Front Side Bus (FSB). The Northbridge also connects directly to the
memory and the AGP graphics slot. The Southbridge connects to the PCI cards,
the USB ports and the hard drive.
Information from the CPU must first pass through the Northbridge to the
Southbridge and finally to the external components. Unlike CPUs, chipsets
cannot be removed from the motherboard. It's important that you consider the
chipset when buying a CPU/motherboard combination. CPUs are optimized for
certain chipsets, so you should choose a motherboard with a chipset that
complements the CPU.
All aboard! Computer data needs a way to travel from one component to another.
Like many people, data takes a bus. Huh? Buses connect the various parts of the
motherboard to the CPU through the chipset. The speed of the bus determines how
fast data can reach the CPU. The speed is measured in megahertz (MHz) and is an
important factor in computer performance.
The Front Side Bus (FSB) connects the CPU to the Northbridge so the speed of
this bus is a very important specification of any motherboard. There is a broad
range of bus speeds on current motherboards--from about 200 MHz all away up to
Most motherboards will have two or three slots
for memory chips, but some have up to seven memory slots. The slots are
designed to accept memory modules with a certain number of pins, and it's
important to buy the correct type of memory module for your motherboard.
Modern motherboards are designed to accept Double
Data Rate (DDR) memory, which is twice as fast as regular memory because it can
be accessed on both the up and down cycles of the CPU. DDR2 is even faster than
DDR, and is quickly becoming the standard for computer memory. Time to give
your brain cells a rest:-)
Article by Joe Robson, founder of the outrageously successful Newbie Club at http://newbieclub.com See his
other sites listed at http://www.joerobson.com
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