A motherboard, also known as a mainboard or logic board, is the main printed circuit board. It is sometimes called “mobo” (a one-time nickname derived from MOdular DIgital BOard).
The modern motherboards contain integrated circuits with microprocessors memory blocks, including ROM, RAM, and Flash Memory. Since they are all interconnected by buses on the motherboard, information can be transferred between different system components.
The design of a motherboard impacts the performance of the whole system. Older systems were often built around certain brands of microchips like Intel or AMD – nowadays, most people opt for chipsets designed to work with multiple brands, but at some point, this was not the case.
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The motherboard has a significant effect on system stability. It often contains an advanced GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), which controls the computer’s display output, as well as sound cards for audio control.
Other standard components include USB ports for connecting peripherals such as mice and keyboards to the computer, hard drive sockets for attaching storage drives, and expansion slots that can take graphics or network cards.
Motherboards come in all shapes and sizes but are usually designed to fit into several industry-standard form factors. These form factors determine how many expansions slots there are available, what size power supply must be used, etc.
The two most common motherboard types are ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) and Micro ATX. If you’re buying a pre-built PC, chances are the case will be designed to accommodate one of these two types.