A motherboard, also known as the "main board," is the central circuit hub that allows connection between all components and peripherals attached to the computer. It also allows all the components such as CPU, graphics card, hard drive and the memory to receive power from the attached power supply.
Motherboard Form Factors
The shape and layout of the motherboard is called its form factor. The form factor acts as a standard for defining the motherboard. It determines the power supply, the type of case and the place where individual components will fit. The most popular motherboard form factor in domestic and industrial computers is ATX as it reduces the size of the motherboard greatly.
Components of the Motherboard
The motherboard contains a few integrated components situated on board such as the chipset, the CMOS, the BIOS and the system bus. The motherboard also contains numerous sockets and ports including Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE), Universal Serial Bus (USB) and the memory or RAM slots.
Functions of the Motherboard
A motherboard controls the flow of external data through the ports such as the USB and the IDE and guides the data to the hard drives. The main function of the motherboard is to hold the microprocessor chip e.g. Intel Pentium 4, Intel Celeron and AMD Athlon. Also, almost all the components that help in the function of the computer are either parts of the motherboard or are plugged into it.