Motherboard Basics

What is a motherboard?

A motherboard is basically a piece of board with printed circuits on them. It holds the processor, chipset, RAM, Graphics/Video card etc.. In short, a motherboard is a central hub for all the computer components as they are all connected to it. A computer cannot work without a motherboard.

A Typical Motherboard
A Typical Motherboard


Motherboards come in different sizes. The most common ones are ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards.

ATX - 12" x 9.6"

An ATX Motherboard

Micro-ATX - 9.6" x 9.6"

A Micro-ATX Motherboard

There are no major differences in terms of fuction or specifications between different-sized motherboards. An ATX board normally contains more expansion slots or more spaced-out hardware than Micro-ATX boards.

Due to the difference in case size, it is strongly recommended / compulsory for you to select and purchase your motherboard before buying the system case. Refer to Case Selection for more specific details.

Choosing A Motherboard

Motherboards generally look the same, but you have to take note of the components they have / support. The major component that divide the line of motherboards is the processor. There are two major processor companies:

- AMD a chipmaker of Athlon / Athlon 64 products
- Intel a chipmaker of Pentium / Core Solo / Core Duo products

Each company produces their own processors with specific technologies. However, it will be unfair to compare the performance of processors in this article.

These two companies use different sockets to hold their processors. Newer sockets support faster speeds and newer technologies.


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