Computer Systems and Server Systems Building and Maintenance

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"The motherboard can be thought of as the "back bone" of the computer." This quote is from the article Motherboard. Inside the system unit contains the motherboard. The motherboard is the "glue" of the computer. It connects the CPU, memory, hard drive, optical drives, video card, and sound card together. The front of the motherboard are peripheral card slots. The slots contain different types of cards which are connected to the motherboard. The left side of the motherboard contain ports. The ports connect to the monitor, printer, keyboard, mouse, speakers, phone line, and network cables.

Realtimeclock on a Motherboard

Like many of the components of computers, motherboards have not always been as advanced as they are today. Motherboards on early PCs did not have many integrated parts located directly on the board. Instead, most of the devices, such as display adapters and hard disk controllers, were connected through expansion slots. As technology advanced, more and more devices were built in directly to the board itself. At first, this began to create problems as manufacturers began to find that if one of the devices on the motherboard was faulty or in some way damaged, that the entire motherboard must be replaced. This led manufactures to change the design in a way that allowed them to remove faulty parts easily and replace them, especially parts that are growing and changing so quickly, such as the RAM or CPU. Today, a motherboard comes equipped with many parts working in conjunction with each other. One can find anything, from back up batteries, keyboard and mouse connectors, to cache memory chips, in close proximity to the CPU. The computer is able to do tasks faster as its components continue to be closer to one another. The advancement of technology has allowed for these parts to become smaller and more powerful, allowing more surface area on the motherboard to fit more devices. It is common today to find even audio and video components built into it as well. With technology moving as fast as it is, one may wonder what a motherboard will be capable of containing in the near future.

Expansion Cards

An expansion card, also known as an expansion board, adapter card, or accessory board, is a printed circuit board that can be inserted into an expansion slot on the motherboard to add functionality to a computer system. [10] The three most common expansion cards are the audio card, graphics card, and network card. Each type of expansion card has a self-explanatory name and all serve the same purpose of adding functionality to the computer. The audio card is responsible for producing sound that is then transferred to speakers or headphones. Commonly audio cards are built onto the motherboard, however, they can be purchased separately. The graphics card turns the data produced by a CPU to an image that is able to be seen on a computer's display. Along with the audio card, graphics cards are commonly built onto the motherboard, yet graphics card that produce higher resolution images can be bought separately. Lastly, the network card is an expansion card that connects the computer to a computer network. This allows for a computer to exchange data with the computer network through a commonly used number of protocols called IEEE 802.11, popularly known as wireless LAN or Wi-Fi. [11]


The central processing unit, also known as the CPU, is responsible for executing a sequence of store information called a program. The computer needs the CPU in order to function correctly. It is known as the brains of the computer where the calculations occur. The microprocessor and the processor are two other names for the central processing unit. The Central processing unit attaches to a CPU socket on the motherboard. A common CPU is called the multi-core CPU. This specific type of CPU is efficient because it allows computers to work on more than one task at a time because the singular processor can run multiple instructions on the different cores at the same time. Also, these multi core CPU's experience less over heating than the original CPU which causes much less problems to the computer.