What is Motherboard? And its various components

motherboard illustration

The motherboard is the most crucial component of a computer. The other names for the motherboard are the mainboard, system board, or printed wired board (PWB). All of those major components that are very important for the functioning of a computer is connected and attached to the motherboard. Like the processor, RAM(Random Access Memory), expansion slots and so on.

In this blog post, we will focus on various important components of Motherboard. So without any further delay let’s see the components of the motherboard. And they are:

Motherboard and its components
A labeled ASRock K7VT4A Pro Mainboard. ( image credit: wikipedia.org)

Central Processing Unit ( CPU ) :

The Central Processing Unit is the brain of the computer system. Its task is to execute the program instructions. Moreover, it is also responsible for carrying out logical and mathematical calculations. Sometimes, the CPU is also referred to as the main processor or central processor.

Random Access Memory ( RAM ):

RAM is responsible for holding all the active data and programs. Such that when the CPU needs any data, it can directly access it from the RAM. The main point to note about RAM is that it is a volatile memory of the computer. So when the power is off it loses its content. Also, RAM is much faster for reading and writing data as compared to the Hard disk drive.

BIOS (Basic Input / Output System ):

BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. Its main task is to help the computer in its booting process. In fact, BIOS is a Read-Only Memory (ROM) that contains software which is usually low-level software. It establishes a connection between the computer hardware and the software.

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CMOS battery:

All motherboards contain a small block of memory created from the CMOS RAM Chip. It is used along with the CMOS ( Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor ) battery to keep few things updated. Such as Time/Date of the system, system settings, CPU information, RAM size etc. This stops the reconfiguration of the computer system.

Cache Memory:

So now let’s see what is a cache memory? The Cache memory is a special kind of high-speed memory. It is even faster than the normal RAMs of the computer. It enables the CPU to get the information at a faster speed on demand. There are mainly three types or I should say three levels of cache memory.

The first one is Level 1 cache (or L1 cache) is the fastest among all the memories. It is built into the processor die. The size of the L1 cache usually comes in the range of 2 KB to 64 KB. Then comes the Level 2 Cache( or L2 cache), it is less fast than the L1 cache memory.

It is also built into the processor. And the size of the L2 cache ranges from 256 KB to 512 KB. And at last, comes the Level 3 cache (or L3 cache). Its size typically comes into the range of 1 MB to 8 MB. Moreover, the L3 cache is slower than L1 and L2 cache memories. So now let’s know about the Chip-sets.

Chip-sets:

A computer motherboard has mainly two Chip-sets and they are:

Northbridge: The Northbridge is also termed as memory controller. It is responsible for controlling the transfers that occur between the processor and the RAM.

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Southbridge: The Southbridge is also known as expansion controller or input/output controller. Its main task is to control the communications that happen between slower peripheral devices.

Moreover, in modern motherboards, the Northbridge Chip is integrated completely into the CPU and the functions of the southbridge are carried out by the Platform Controller Hub.

I/O Ports:

The connections between CPU and peripheral devices are usually done from the Input / Output ports. Generally, there are two methods of performing Input-Output processes. The first one is MMIO ( Memory-Mapped I/O) and the second one is PMIO (Port Mapped I/O).

PCIe:

PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, which is the advanced version of traditional PCI slots on the motherboard. It is an interface standard that is mainly used to connect High-speed components to the motherboards. And those components can be a Graphics Card, a Wi-Fi card and so on. The PCIe slots come in varieties of physical configurations such as  x1, x4, x8, x16, x32.

Conclusion:

So I have covered the main components of the motherboard in this post. Let me know in the comments section what you think about this topic. Thanks for reading the post, and also share this post with your friends and family. See you in the next post.

Featured Image credit: Edited from Mom vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

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