The Mother Lode of Information on Your Motherboard
The motherboard is the most essential portion of a computer. Without a motherboard, a computer will not function at all. The motherboard is responsible for how everything connects and runs within a computer.
When shopping for a computer motherboard, research extensively to determine how well the board will work for the system. The motherboard holds the main power supply for the computer system, the processor, the memory, the hard drive, the optical drives, and the PCI slots which allow for additional components to be added to the system such as graphics cards, and TV tuner cards.
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Many of today's motherboards come with integrated sound and or graphics cards, though these cards may be purchased and added to the system with available PCI slots. The motherboards also come with PS/2 ports in order to connect the keyboard and mouse, though some motherboards are switching to USB connections for these peripherals. Integrated network cards for high-speed internet connections are also common. Sometimes, these integrated parts of the motherboard can stop functioning and the PCI slots must be used to compensate for their failure.
Each motherboard will have a series of connectors which will determine the types of hard drives and optical drives that may be connected to the system. There are two different types of connections—IDE or SATA. Careful attention must be paid to the connectors on the motherboard to ensure the correct types of drives are purchased.
Motherboards have a maximum amount of RAM that can be supported. Some motherboards hold a maximum of 4GB, whereas other, more expensive boards will hold up to 32 GB. People who wish to run large programs will need to consider the RAM the motherboard holds before purchasing one. Once the maximum RAM has been added to the system, a person will need to upgrade their motherboard to support more information. The RAM is a very important factor to consider when building a system as it will have a major impact on what programs can be installed and run on the system.
A careful match must be made between the motherboard and processor, as each motherboard will have a socket for the processor, but certain processors are made to support certain sockets. Many of today's motherboards support dual core or quad core processors, and older boards will not support them. The processor is another major factor to consider while building a computer because it will dictate how well the computer performs overall.
Every part the computer requires to run and function correctly is attached to the motherboard. It is controlled by a battery that looks like a large watch battery. If this battery goes out, the computer will not function, though these batteries may be replaced inexpensively.
Motherboards come in different sizes and configurations, so when building a computer from scratch, the size of the computer case must also be considered. If the motherboard will not fit in the case, it is easier to find a case that it will fit in than to get another motherboard.
When installing a motherboard, be sure to discharge all static electricity and leave all power disconnected. Firmly screw the motherboard into the case and follow the manual instructions to connect the other components to the computer. A few different things may cause the system to refuse to boot, so it is essential the motherboard be installed with care.
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