How Computers Work – Part 2 – The Motherboard – I [Mega Series]

Almost everything on your computer goes through the motherboard, including pictures of your colleague’s ugly dog before they go across the web. Despite looking extremely complex, a motherboard serves one simple function: It links all the components connected to your computer to each other so they can communicate and give you everything you see in the screen. This is one of those pieces, just like the PSU, which prevent your computer from becoming a large paper weight.


Parts of The Motherboard

At least with only the PSU and motherboard, your computer can send a beep code through the internal case speaker when it notices nothing else is connected to it.


Your motherboard consists of a south bridge, a north bridge, the CPU socket, the RAM bus, the peripheral component bus, and the drive connector buses. If all of these things look confusing, that’s because they are, and there’s no easier way to list the names. We’ll go a little deeper into the function of each of these pieces a little later.


Form Factors


Your motherboard has to fit inside the computer’s body, which means it has to have certain dimensions and a compatible shape. Due to these constraints, a motherboard has to have a certain form factor. This tells you whether the motherboard fits in the case or not. An ATX computer case, for example, can fit a motherboard with an ATX form factor or anything smaller, such as MicroATX. The only thing you need to remember here is that the form factor is equivalent to the dimensions of the motherboard. Any questions?! No? Let’s move on, then.


How the Motherboard Works


The motherboard’s workings can be related to a nervous system for your computer. It carries messages from one point to another and serves as a railway for every signal. That’s why you see all those little lines leading from one part of the board to another. All the juice that flows to the motherboard comes from a thick “trunk” cable leading in from the power supply. Along with other components connected to it, the motherboard transforms the DC electrical signal into information.


In the next part of this series, we’re going to talk about the individual pieces of the motherboard. Stay tuned!

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