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Computer motherboard, what is it for and what does it look like

The computer motherboard is that foundation on which all the components of the system unit are built.

The role of the computer motherboard cannot be overestimated. After all, it depends only on her. Will you be able to expand the functionality of your PC in the future or not? Increase the amount of RAM, put a more efficient graphics card? Will the further expansion (“upgrade” – upgrade) of the entire system allow the presence of additional, initially unused, slots and connectors? It’s like the foundation of a house: make it not high quality and, over time, the structure may collapse.

The motherboard is a multi-layer “pie” of single-layer (single or double-sided) printed circuit boards. Each of the layers represents such a separate board. Layering, first of all, is needed to combat cross-talk and interference caused by the signal lines (tracks) of the board, close to each other. To increase this distance and isolate the signal lines of one layer from another, this “sandwich” was invented. Each layer is separated from each other by special fiberglass gaskets (adhesive) and after that the whole thing is pressed into a special furnace.

Graphically, the internal structure of the product can be represented approximately like this:

As a bonus, the overall mechanical strength of such a structure also increases. The number of individual layers in modern branded products can reach up to ten, or even more! After that, an almost finished motherboard on both sides is covered with a dielectric protective varnish of the desired color, dried, drilled in it the necessary holes for fasteners, installation of connectors and other components, the holes are metallized at the edges and the product is almost ready! Of course, after that you need to install the connectors themselves and the entire elemental base of the electronic components, solder them, quality control, perform comprehensive testing under load, but this process is clearly shown in the video under the article, so I see no reason to describe it once again.

Note: a printed circuit board or PCP (Printed Circuit Board) is a dielectric plate on which electrically conductive tracks are formed chemically or mechanically. They can be formed both by the classical method of etching them on the board, and using laser engraving technology.

Since we are primarily interested in high-quality computer motherboards, let’s turn our attention to the full-size motherboard from the manufacturer Asus. A large number of elements and expansion slots located on it allows us to hope for a good upgrade prospect, and a high-quality elemental base of components and wiring the board – for a long term of its operation.

Let’s, as usual, go through all the designations in order and find out what components the computer motherboard consists of:

CPU socket (socket where the computer processor is installed)
two slots for PCI Express video cards are indicated (in expensive motherboards, you can install two discrete graphics cards at the same time)
four slots for DDR2 standard memory
computer motherboard chipset north bridge
motherboard chipset south bridge
cooling radiators for processor power circuits (power phases)
four USB outputs (output to the back of the computer)
built-in sound card outputs
3.5 floppy disk interface (drive) FDC controller
four SATA outputs for connecting hard drives
three PCI slots for connecting additional expansion cards (TV tuner, network or sound card, video capture card, etc.)
BIOS battery
four-pin 12-volt processor power connector
24-pin connector for connecting a power supply and supplying voltage to the motherboard
two slots for connecting hard drives or CD-DVD-ROMs of the old model “IDE”
microcircuit itself “BIOS”
Let us dwell with you on the most important points requiring separate comments. In the image we clearly see the cooling system in the center, with copper tubes diverging from it. The central radiator covers the “northern” circuit board chipset. It includes such important components as a built-in video card, a memory controller and a system bus controller (now these elements are actively transferred to the CPU) and, of course, supports the interface of interaction with the “southern” microcircuit.

The names “north” and “south” bridge indicate only the geographical location of these elements relative to the PCI slots (north – above or south – below). The microchip of the south “bridge” is also covered by a radiator. As a rule, it contains the controller of the computer’s built-in network card, USB bus, integrated sound, is responsible for the operation of the PCI bus, various sensors on the board, etc.


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