Motherboard Components 101

If you ever took an Information Technology class in your life, then the word motherboard should not be foreign to you. Many regard it as the central nervous system of a computer and just like what the analogy suggests, without the central nervous system, the human body would seize to exist and so without the motherboard in full-swing operation, that computer would seize to be useful! But is that all we are able to tell off hand about a motherboard? Considering that it is such an essential component of a computer system and more importantly, so prevalent in many households, shouldn’t the average Joe be able to tell how it looks, its basic functions and capabilities? Yes!

But the average Joe has no idea where to start to learn about the motherboard, and the search engines all prove to be much ado about nothing! So what’s the next option? Well, how about our great little crash course that you have already started, which might I add is on the house! So let us take you from the dungeons of “No Computer Knowledge”, to a place where terms like CPU, RTC and RAM all seem like a part of your native vocabulary!

So what’s the first thing a computer dummy would need to know about a system’s motherboard components? Well, a definition of a motherboard would be helpful! Certainly, it is the main circuit board of a computer which comprises of many components, mainly the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) and the chipsets. Additionally, there exist sockets, memory chips and a clock generator that all work hand in hand in the daily operation of one’s computer system. A bit flustered with the above mentioned terms? Why would you when these all will be explained in a jiffy!

But first it should not be mistaken that the motherboard is limited to only computers, as it is also found within electronic devices such as stop-watches, mobile phones as well as clocks! Yes, I know what you’re saying now; all motherboards and more importantly, motherboard components are not the same size due to the devices in which they are placed! See, you’re learning already!

Now, back to our regular programming, the CPU or as it is more commonly known, the processor (like in those Dell ads, ‘the Intel processor’), is a key component of a computer system that contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions. In essence, the CPU performs mathematical and logical operations through the ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) and the CU (Central Unit) regulates the activities of the system. Additionally, the motherboard uses the CPU to communicate with the rest of the system. Follow? I know you would!

Moving right along to the BIOS, as introduced earlier, is another critical constituent of the motherboard that controls the operation of the system. It is responsible for booting up one’s computer while it also initializes the hardware, making sure it is working and ready for use. In lament terms, the BIOS is in charge or starting up one’s computer. Another main component, include the chipsets. As they are grouped in pairs, they carry out different functions as the north-bridge links the microprocessor with very high speed devices such as graphic controllers and the south-bridge links the microprocessor with low speed buses such as the PCI, APM and the real time clock. Notwithstanding all this, the interface, which is another motherboard component, allows the average Joe to connect instruments such as hard drives and peripheral devices including printers, microphones and cameras!

Well that is all the time we have for today but I trust that this lesson proved beneficial and an eye-opener to the many average Joes in internet land!

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