Motherboards, master of our computers
The computer is now a ubiquitous mainstay device that we use every day, without going into all of the component parts and their function, one of its best known and essential parts is the motherboard.
The Asus Accessories team would like to share its knowledge on the subject so that the motherboard will never be a mystery to you!
A short definition to start
The motherboard is the main element of a computer, and, like our brain, directs and gives orders to other parts. It holds together and allows communication between many of the crucial components of a computer and via connectors for input and output devices, including the central processing unit (CPU), RAM, keyboard, mouse, graphics card …
It is that is a large green rectangular card with printed circuits; known as a printed circuit board (PCB). You will notice the many wires and ribbon cables connected to it. The motherboard centralizes and processes all the data sent by the pc. It is the central connection hub in the infrastructure of your computer: without a motherboard your computer will not work!
To illustrate and better understand the importance of the motherboard, among its many roles it manages: data communication, control and monitoring, administration, management and distribution of energy, physical connection of components, synchronization, startup, configuration, launching software...
The Evolution of the motherboard
At its inception the motherboard was directly equipped with the fixed (welded)microprocessor, over the years the processor and the motherboard have become separate parts, allowing the motherboard to evolve independently with new features, more or less advanced, depending on the model (Wi-Fi, sound card, 4G ...).
Today , several manufacturers have a significant share of the global motherboard market, the first and certainly the best known is the global giant Asus, followed by Intel, NVIDIA, MSI or AMD each of which produce their own motherboards.
Note: No compatibility exists between Motherboards from different manufacturers, for example the Asus and Intel motherboards have a different design, each having dedicated and requisite processors.
The various types of motherboard
Several formats of motherboards have been manufactured over the years; initially, it was purely an issue of the available space (footprint -size / layout) in the computer which depended on its capabilities.
Four main formats (form factors) have remained and are currently used in today’s computers:- ATX: ergonomic format for better heat dissipation
The dimensions vary according to ATX type: ATX standard (305 x 244 mm), micro-ATX (244 x 244 mm), Flex-ATX (229 x 191 mm) or even mini-ATX (284 x 208 mm)
- BTX: newer format allowing, in addition to thermal dispersion, acoustic optimization
Three different formats are available: standard BTX (325 x 267 mm), micro-BTX with reduced footprint (264 x 267 mm) and pico-BTX extremely reduced footprint (203 x 267 mm)
- ITX: extremely compact format designed for mini PCs
Two main formats: mini-ITX (170 x 170 mm) and nano-ITX (120 x 120 mm)
- DTX: a much rarer form factor
Two formats available: standard DTX (248 x 203 mm) and Mini-DTX (170 x 203 mm)
The internal components of the motherboard
Now let's leave aside the history of the motherboard and its different form factors and go into a little more detail. What components and connectors are present on this printed circuit board (PCB) and what are the essential features to know?
On its printed circuit board, the motherboard has various elements such as the power supply connectors to supply electricity to the device, the chipset which is composed of various integrated circuits attached to the motherboard (processor, cache, RAM, expansion slots ..), clock, CMOS battery, BIOS (Bios is the basic software that allows the motherboard to perform its functions), etc.
The most recent motherboards also include a number of multimedia and network devices such as: network card, graphics card, sound card, controller card (daughter card); but also hard drives, read/write drives...
Here is a small ranking, in order of importance, and location of its components:- Microprocessor
- Memory cards (slots)
- Connector ribbon to reader / floppy disks
- IDE connector / AGP connector / PCI connector / ISA connector
- Power supply
- Fan connector
The internal and external ports of the motherboard
The motherboard also initiates communication (incoming /outgoing) with external or internal devices.
Internal: It can manage printers, data storage, hard disks, keyboards and the mouse with IDE, ATA, PS / 2, COM1 and LPT1 ports.
External: Various input-output connectors are available with motherboards such as USB ports (1.1, 2.0, 3.0, ...), RJ45 connector (LAN, Ethernet) which corresponds to a network card, VGA connector ( SUB-D15) and audio jacks (Line-in, Line-out, microphone).
Your motherboard therefore handles all the communication on your computer along with internal and external connections; it is the only pathway available.
How to choose a new motherboard?
There are two principal reasons to change a motherboard: increase the performance of the computer or replace a burnt out motherboard. Please heed the instructions to avoid damaging the new card or the computer.
A new motherboard should be selected based on your needs in terms of capacity, on the form factors (format) and on the compatibility with the processor.
You will need to ensure that the new motherboard is identical to the original motherboard (old) as pertains to these characteristics:Processor Slot
Bus speed (measured in MHz)
Serial number (e.g. HCMCKC033731, HAMCKC033575)
Motherboards with various capabilities are available on the market with prices ranging from 75 euros for a basic entry-level board up to 300 euros for gaming motherboards and other high end motherboards; it goes without saying that you should choose carefully!
How to install the new motherboard?
Depending on the reason for replacing your motherboard, the approach is somewhat different:
1st case: your motherboard is functional
- It is important to create a Windows Recovery DVD which lets you boot your system and easily access a number of recovery and troubleshooting tools AND you will need to have an operating system installation CD since the backup DVD may not be sufficient.
- If you are not a computer enthusiast, take pictures at every step as you disassemble and remove the old motherboard to ensure that you can reassemble correctly.
- The various connecting wires will sometimes have to be stretched or disconnected; you will need a soldering iron, insulating tape and connectors
2nd case: the motherboard is Out of Order
- First, have the old motherboard repaired by a professional.
- If it turns out that it is burnt out and unrepairable, you will have to order a new one from the same manufacturer. If you cannot find the exact same motherboard, you will need to select a different motherboard but please take every precaution to ensure compatibility.
- When you acquire a new motherboard, you should be able to preserve the processor (CPU) and the RAM; remember to write down the references of each to verify their compatibility with your new motherboard.
Asus Accessories, specialized in Asus accessories and components, and its team of professionals, hopes that the information they have provided will help you better understand the motherboard and the process involved in selecting and installing a new one.
Although, you will not find a motherboard directly referenced on our site; we can special order them for you.
Please feel free to contact our team for any additional information, questions, or concerns.