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Motherboard and Its Types

Motherboard is the main printed circuit board in general-purpose computers and other expandable systems. It holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of system such as CPU, Memory and provides connectors for other peripherals.



Motherboard provides connectivity between the hardware components of computer, like CPU, Memory, Hard Drive and Video Cards. There are multiple layers of Motherboards, designed to fit different types and size of computer.


Features

  1. Motherboard varies greatly in supporting various types of components.

  2. Motherboard supports a single type of CPU and few types of memories.

  3. Video cards, hard disks, sound cards have to be compatible with the motherboard to function properly.

  4. Motherboards, cases, and power supplies must be compatible to work properly together.


Functions

  1. The backbone of every personal computer on which CPU, RAM, hard disk, etc are installed.

  2. Transmitted the proper power supply to all essential components of the computer.

  3. Allows proper communication among all parts of the computer.

  4. Provide slots for external peripherals.

  5. Managing the data flow or traffic of information.

  6. BIOS also dwells on the mainboard. However, BIOS controls various electronic components within the main computer system.


Types of Motherboard


1. Standard-ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended)



The Standard ATX is a specification used to outline motherboard configuration and dimensions to improve standardization.


This was first released in July 1995 by Intel. The First version was 2.01 in February 1997, then 2.03 in May 2000, 2.1 in June 2002 and 2.2 in February 2004.


The Standard ATX or Full-ATX, is 12" wide x 9.6" deep (305 x 244 mm). Its COM port, LPT port, PS/2, and USB are mounted directly on the motherboard. The image below is an example of the ATX form factor.


Four RAM slots

Two or three PCIExpress x16 slots

A handful of PCIe x4 and x1 slots

A handful of SATA and USB connectors (for both internal and external storage)

Space for at least one M.2 SSD

Front panel audio and power connectors


Features:

  • It is a digital ignition, that is, it has a button instead of a mechanical switch like its predecessors.

  • Some models integrate a rear mechanical switch to avoid unnecessary consumption of electrical energy, preventing the standby state during which they consume minimal amounts of electricity.

  • These types of sources are integrated from the Intel® Pentium MMX microprocessor equipment to the equipment with the most modern microprocessors.

  • The shutdown of this type of sources can manipulate with software.



Advantages:

Below is a list of all of the advantages ATX motherboards have over other types of motherboard form factors.

  1. The ATX motherboard includes advanced control facilities, where the BIOS program continually checks the CPU temperature and voltages, the cooling fans RPM, etc. If overheating occurs, the PC shuts down automatically.

  2. The ATX motherboard has a stacked I/O connector panel mounted on the motherboard.

  3. On a socket 7 ATX motherboard, the socket is placed a further distance from the expansion slots, allowing for long boards to be placed in easier.

  4. ATX 2.01 includes a single keyed, Molex internal power supply connector which cannot be placed improperly. However, its standby voltage needs to be greater than 720 mA. While the Molex power connector allows for 5v and 3.3v, we recommend only a 3.3v be used.

  5. Relocation of the memory and the CPU allows for better ventilation and easier installation.

  6. Power management is now possible with proper BIOS support.

  7. The PC can also be turned on by a modem or network signal, as the power supply is controlled by the main board.

  8. The computer cannot be turned off as the computer boots. However, if the computer freezes as it is turning on you can turn off the computer by holding the power button for five seconds.


Disadvantages:

  1. The price of the ATX motherboard is high because of the advantages they offer.

  2. Large size of the motherboard is the major matter of concern (size 305 x 244 mm)

  3. If you want to buy extra PCIe, RAM slots or some of the other features, They have to increase the budget. Especially, gamers and professional video editor require extra RAM slots and PCIe etc.


Micro-ATX

M-ATX is same as Standard - ATX, just slightly smaller. The Size of the M-ATX is 244 x 244 mm. It supports all of the same processors and graphics cards as ATX motherboards, as well as four RAM slots, but typically cuts back on a few additional features to help save space.


They also have fewer PCIExpress x4 and x1 slots, fewer USB and SATA connectors, and may have a reduced number of M.2 drive mounts as well. Most M-ATX boards will typically have a maximum of two PCIExpress x16 slots, with the second mounted very close to the bottom edge of the board. This makes it hard to fit dual graphics cards in most cases designed with M-ATX boards in mind.


Mini-ITX

Mini-ITX is the next step down in size from M-ATX, and the next step-up in terms of space and cost saving. Mini-ITX motherboards measure just 170 x 170mm, and represent the smallest standard motherboard size available.


2. LPX Motherboard (Low Profile EXtended)



A low-profile PC motherboard for slimline cases, introduced in 1997 by Western Digital. Unlike boards for desktop and tower cases that hold the expansion cards perpendicular to the board, cards plug into a riser card on the LPX and are parallel with the board. Having a 9" width, the Mini LPX version decreased the length from 13" to 11".


Features:

  1. The size of the Motherboard is 9 inches by 13 inches which can fit in slim cases.

  2. Motherboard made use of riser card for extra components like expansion cards.

  3. Riser cards provided users with the ability, although limited, to maintain and upgrade their computers by installing expansion cards for features they needed.


Advantages:

  1. Save lots of space at a time when computers could get tail and bulky

  2. With the expansion cards lying parallel to the motherboard, the height of the PC components could be reduced significantly.

  3. the motherboard had enough lanes on the riser card to support two or three expansion cards with just the single slot that the riser card plugged into.

  4. You don't need to have multiple ports and slots on the motherboard itself.


Disadvantages:

  1. Due to the form factor’s implementation of a riser card, LPX motherboards were not friendly for home pc builders.

  2. Many components were being fixed into really small spaces, making the overall build cramped and difficult to work with, let alone maintain a neat-looking build.

  3. Air supply between the components was at times limited resulting in inefficient cooling.

  4. the limited expansion card slots meant that users who needed extra slots for additional expansion cards would be forced to get a motherboard with more slots.


3. BTX Motherboard (Balanced Technology EXtended)



Balance technology extended (BTX) is a form factor for motherboards that was initially intended to replace the 2004 and 2005 ATX motherboard. BTX is designed to decrease power needs and reduce heat. Furthermore, it employs enhanced technology that includes the serial advanced technology attachment (ATA), universal serial bus (USB) 2.0 and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) express. It is standardized by Intel and is not backward compatible with the ATX.


Features:

  1. An increased number of expansion slots

  2. Better electrical and thermal regulation

  3. Multiple system sizes and configurations

  4. Support for high-mass motherboard components

  5. Enhanced cooling capabilities with a straighter air flow path

  6. Reduced latency between the northbridge and southbridge

  7. Better component placement for back-panel input/output (I/O) controllers

  8. Reduced height requirements, which benefit system integration for blade servers and rack mounts


Advantages:

  1. The biggest advantage of the BTX board is that it focuses on airflow and delivers better cooling than ATX.

  2. The design, new component location on the board reduces latency.

  3. Efficient cooling provided by this form factor offers component durability as well as system stability.


Disadvantages:

  1. Though BTX offers utilities, it costs more than ATX.

  2. Intel has stopped developing this technology. Instead, they focus on reducing the power of the CPU, hence reducing heat and making ATX effective.


Pico BTX Motherboard

Pico BTX is a motherboard form factor that is meant to miniaturize the 12.8 × 10.5 in (325 × 267 mm) BTX standard. These motherboards share a common top half with the other sizes in the BTX line, but support only one or two expansion slots, designed for half-height or riser card applications.


4. ITX Motherboard(Information Technology EXtended)



ITX is a small motherboard form factor from VIA Technologies that was first introduced in November 2001 with the Mini-ITX. Later versions of ITX include the Nano-ITX released in March 2003, the Mobile-ITX released in March 2004, and the Pico-ITX released in April 2007. With the compact configuration of ITX motherboards, they are often used in low-cost small setups found in cars, network devices, set-top boxes, and other small computers. Below is a picture and comparison of all of the ITX motherboards from VIA.


A built-in audio, video, and Local Area Network or LAN connection

Two USB or Universal Serial Bus ports

An audio input and output slot

A serial and parallel port and

A Peripheral Component Interconnect or PCI slot that supports two devices with one riser card.


Features:

  1. It needs much less power supply, often less than 100 watts

  2. It uses x86 processor that needs less power to perform at high levels and

  3. The processor is soldered to the board and cooled by only a heatsink instead of a combination of a fan and a heatsink.


Advantages:

  1. This is most common form factor for home theater PCs because these computers have very low performance requirements. The system can run efficiently on low power CPU and graphics.

  2. It can fit inside the cabinet easily and will operate silently.

  3. Allow you to do computer tasks and will save energy at the same time.

  4. Beneficial for offices where space is a luxury.

  5. The average weight of motherboard is 8.8 to 15.4 pounds which will be helpful if you want to transport the system.


Disadvantages:

  1. They are not good for high clock speeds and do not have that raw processing power.

  2. The mini ITX boards will not be able to provide adequate support to those high-performing CPUs like Intel Extreme processors and others.

  3. This is due to the low phase power, less space available for a tower heat sink fan, and no room for ensuring a proper air flow within, which severely impairs the functionality of these components.

  4. You will have very limited upgrade or expansion options in your computer when you use a mini ITX motherboard. This is because this form factor of the motherboard comes with one single expansion slot only.



Computer Ports

A Computer Port is an interface or a point of connection between the computer and its peripheral devices. Some of the common peripherals are mouse, keyboard, monitor or display unit, printer, speaker, flash drive etc.


Click here to read more about Computer Ports :





Computer Components

All types of computers follow the same basic logical structure and perform the following basic operations for converting raw input data into information useful to their users.


Click here to read more about computer Components or Parts :





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