How Computers Work – Part 3 – The Motherboard – II [Mega Series]

The CPU Socket

There’s not much to say here, except maybe the fact that this part of the motherboard houses the central processing unit (CPU). Almost every circuit in the motherboard leads here, and some of them even have the privilege of sitting right next to it. The CPU socket allows the processor to connect to the motherboard, and there might be different ways of doing this:

The Pin-Grid Array
The Land-Grid Array
And The Ball-Grid Array

Each of these arrays house all the contacts on the processor that are essential to its function. You probably now understand why you pay an IT guy to stare at your computer’s innards. If you didn’t, have a look at…

The Peripheral Bus

Just like the name implies, the peripheral bus is a system that transports signals between peripheral components and the processor, much like a public transportation system, especially when it turns into an old dysfunctional heap of metal. Your peripheral bus houses all the expansion cards on your computer. They could include network cards (NICs), display adapters (graphics cards), and anything else the motherboard didn’t come with. Normally, a motherboard has all these things, but sometimes you want to expand its capabilities.

Simpler Explanation

The peripheral bus is basically where you connect your sound card, your network card, or any other kind of card that has to connect to the inside of your computer. You know that place where you connect things near the bottom of your computer? That’s basically where the cards sit. Each of them has a metal faceplate in the front that contains the external connectors to the devices you use.

In-Depth Explanation (Geek Talk)

The bus consists of slots, and before you call me a pervert, there are different flavors of bus slots, depending on how old your motherboard is: ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) – really old, PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) – practically every motherboard has this, PCIe (Perihperal Component Interconnect Express) – found in newer motherboards, and AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) – replaced by PCIe x16.

There’s a lot of material on each of these, and I’m going to try to sum them up:

ISA – The oldest type of expansion slot, known to house basically any expansion card back in the day of the dinosaur computers. This was used for networking, sound, gaming, graphics, and many more other practical uses.

PCI – This kind of expansion slot quickly replaced ISA as the new standard for computer systems, and had basically the same uses. Communication was much faster and the cards were smaller.