The Computer Motherboard Building Blocks

The motherboard provides the foundation for the personal computer. Every piece of hardware, from the CPU to the expansion card are directly or indirectly plugged onto the motherboard. The motherboard contains the wires—called tracks—that make up the buses of the system. It holds the vast majority of the ports used by the peripherals, and distributes the power from the power supply. Without a motherboard, you literally have no PC.

A motherboard is a very complicated circuit board with a number of components installed on it for example, BIOS (Basic Input and Output System) and provides slots to install RAM (Random Access Memory), PCI hardware devices, AGP graphic cards and a slot for the processor. Motherboard also connects all components to the CPU and provides power to them. It contains a bus systems to transport the data between the components. This bus system can be 32 or 64-bit wide. Bits width designates the amount of data transported within one clock cycle. Therefore, a 64 bit wide bus would transport more data than 32 bit wide bus.

The main building blocks of a typical motherboard are:

  • CPU, the processor or central processing unit
  • RAM, the random access memory
  • ROM, the read only memory or BIOS chip
  • Interfaces
  • Buses
  • Slots and Ports

Before we drill down into these topics, we will first focus on the architecture on which a motherboard is designed.