Types of motherboard | Components of Motherboards

Types of motherboard and components
Types of motherboard and components

The Motherboard can be said to be the heart of every computer or other electronic devices so there is the need to have the knowledge of types of motherboard.

It is the printed circuit board (PCB) present in any electronic devices which holds the major components of the device like the central processing unit(CPU), memory(RAM) and also provides the connectors for other important peripherals like BIOS, SATA and IDE Slots, Expansion Slots (Video, Audio, PCI cards etc.).

Motherboard is the main component of PC, Mobiles Phones, Tablets, Laptops and this makes it to be large so as to perform its basic function

This basis function is to hold the important electronic components of the system including the Storage units and central processing unit and helps in maintaining some kind of bridged connection between other internal components of the system

A Motherboard photo: pixabay.com

Having the full knowledge of the functions of the motherboard components is very import for individuals or people who want to design their own PC or maintain one or other devices motherboards.

This is true since it is the largest part of PC and most important too and the knowledge of its functions of the component will help you to design your own motherboard.

This article will help you understand the motherboard and its relevant in the computer system.

The types of Motherboards in the electronic market lets discuss the types of Motherboards.

Different Types of Motherboards

  • AT Motherboard
  • ATX Motherboard
    • Micro-ATX Motherboard
    • Mini ITX Motherboard
    • E-ATX Motherboard
  • LPX motherboard

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Now let us look into the types of Motherboard one after the other

AT Motherboard (Earliest types of motherboard)

An AT Motherboard are the oldest of Motherboards with dimension of tens of centimetres (13.8 × 12 inch).

The AT Motherboard dimension makes it difficult to fit in mini desktops or for new drives to be installed in them. This type of Motherboards are used in the 80’s.

AT here means Advance Technology which indicates that the PC board contain advance technology power connectors which uses six pin plugs and sockets.

ATX Motherboard

ATX Motherboard photo: Wikipedia.com

The ATX Motherboard is another type of Motherboards which has a full meaning Advanced Technology Extended. This is developed by intel in the mid -90’s and it is an improvement on the former AT Motherboard type.

The ATX type motherboard is improved in its interchangeablity of its connected parts and also has a smaller motherboard which allows for other installation like case fans, water cooling setups, tall heat sinks and all that other cooling units.

Dimensions of a full-size standard ATX board are 12 x 9.6 inch other smaller motherboards are derived from ATX including micro-ATX, FlexATX, nano-ITX, mini-ITX.

Other improvement of ATX over AT Is

  • More power phases for cleaner and more stable power.
  • More clearance around CPU socket to accommodate those huge after-market heatsinks.
  • Wider gaps between expansion slots for better graphics cards cooling.

Micro-ATX types of Motherboard

The Micro ATX Motherboard is smaller than the major ATX having a dimension ranging from 9.6 x 9.6 inch to 9.6 x 8.1 inch depending on brand. 

Most modern ATX motherboards have a maximum of seven PCI or PCI-Express expansion slots, while micro ATX boards only have a maximum of four.

Micro-ATX motherboard has many advantages over the main ATX type Motherboard as you can see below

  • It is coincise and smaller than ATX motherboard which sports more ports and slots than ATX.
  • Budget Motherboard compared to other ATX or ITX motherboard

Other types of motherboard

Mini ITX Motherboard:

Mini ITX is one of the types of Motherboard with 6.7 x 6.7 inch in dimension which is quite smaller than any usual Motherboard. It is also a low-power motherboard form factor. It was designed and developed by VIA Technologies in 2001. 

These are boards are mainly used in small form factor (SFF) computer systems. Mini-ITX boards because of their low power consumption design can be cooled easily.

Also, this design makes them to be used always in home theater PC systems or systems whereby thefan noise can eliminate the quality of cinema experience.

Some of the features and advantages of Mini ITX Motherboard type are seen bellow

  • The smaller size and fan-less cooling which enables it to low power consumption.
  • Mini ITX board can be used in any cases which are designed for main ATX, Micro-ATX and other ATX variants if desired.

E-ATX Motherboard

E-ATX means extended ATX Motherboard type and its bigger in size when compared to normal ATX Motherboard but here the size doesn’t matter as it has many features and uses which other typical motherboard type don’t have.

The E-ATX is mainly used for gaming. This motherboard can be extended to have large memory and more CPU cores.

The advantages of E-ATX Motherboard can be seen below

  • It has a lot of PCI slots and DIMM slots
  • These boards have inbuilt wifi, sound cards, onboard troubleshooting features and powerful VRM
  • Maximum of 128 GB ram can be installed in this motherboard

LPX Motherboard (Advance types of motherboard)

The low profile extension motherboards (LPX) types of Motherboard, were created after the AT boards in the 90’s. Looking carefully you will notice that the main difference here is that the input amd output ports in this board type are built at the back of the system.

This design use of a riser card was also made for the placement of some more slots. But these riser cards also posed a problem that the air flow was not  proper.

Some low quality LPX boards didn’t have real AGP slot and are merely connected to the PCI bus. These and under effect led to the extinction of this motherboard system and was replaced by the NLX.

Motherboard Components

The Motherboard is made up of many components which have different role they play in the PC. This motherboard components are

  • Power Connectors
  • SATA Connectors
  • IDE connector
  • BIOS
  • CMOS Battery
  • RAM(memory) slots
  • Expansion Slot
  • CPU Socket

Now let take time to look into the motherboard components one-by-one.

Power Connectors

This power connectors are mounted on the motherboards to receive power coming from the SMPE. this connectors are

AT connector: It consists of 2 number of 6 pin male connectors and is found on old types of motherboards.

ATX connector: which is the latest in power connectors are either 20 or 24 pin female connectors. Found in all the latest types of motherboards

SATA connector

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is a system bus interface that connects the host bus adapters to the mass storage device like the hard disk drives, optical drives, and solid-state drives.

SATA have 7-pin connectors and they are more faster than IDE interface. The basic I/O interface of the motherboard is given below

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IDE connector

The Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) connectors are used to interface disk drives. It has a 40-pin male connector which is used to connect IDE hard disk drive and a 34-pin male connector which connects to Floppy Disk Drive.

Note: The position and function of all this motherboard components are dependent on the types of motherboard.

BIOS

Basic Input Output System (BIOS) is a motherboard component that is in Integrated chip form. This integrated chip contains all the data and settings of the motherboard which a designer can modify by entering the BIOS mode from your computer.

CMOS Battery

The Complementary Metal Oxide Semi-Conductor (CMOS) battery is a 3.0 Volts lithium type battery. This battery is responsible for storing the information in the BIOS.

RAM(memory) slots

The single in-line memory module (SIMM) slots were built in earlier motherboards, up to 486-boards. The SIMM supports 32-bit bus.

The DIMM is a Double inline memory module (DIMM) slots are the latest RAM slots which run on a faster 64-bit bus. The DIMM  which are used on Laptops boards are SO-DIMM. 

Expansion Slots

Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) slots is a 16- bit bus and the oldest expansion slots in the history of motherboards. These slots are present in AT boards and are identified by black color.

Furthermore, the usual display cards or sound cards were usually installed in these slots.

Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) slots supports 64-bit high-speed bus and is one of the important motherboard components today and is vastly used to install add-on cards on the motherboard.

PCI express (PCIe) supports full duplex serial bus and are the latest and the fastest component of the motherboard to support add-on cards.

Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) slot runs on a 32-bit bus and is specifically used to install a latest graphics card. PCIe and AGP can be used to install high-end gaming display cards.

CPU Socket (Component)

CPU Socket photo: Wikipedia.com

The CPU socket Main Motherboard component and it is used to install the processor on the Motherboard. Some important sockets in the CPU are briefly explained below.

Socket7: It is a 321 pin socket that supported older processors like Intel Pentium 1/2/MMX, AMD k5/K6, and Cyrix M2.

Socket370:  It is a 370 pin socket that supports Celeron processors and Pentium-3 processors.

The Socket 775: It is a 775-pin socket that supports Intel dual-core, C2D, P-4 and Xeon processors.

Socket 1156: Found on latest types of motherboards, it is an 1156-pin socket that supports latest Intel i-3, i-5, and i-7, processors.

Socket 1366: The socket is of 1366 pins and supports latest i-7 900 processors.

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