A term that many of us have heard relating to computers but that may not be well understood is the so-called motherboard. This is in fact the main component inside of your computer, whether it is a desktop system or a laptop. Its name comes from the fact that all of the other internal components are attached to it, including the CPU or central processing unit, the disk drives (CD or DVD and hard drive) as well as any other computer peripherals that are connected through either a port or an expansion slot. It is generally a large rectangular board that features a vast array of integrated circuitry.
The motherboard also houses the chip set, which acts as a bridge between the CPU and other system components, including the computer’s main memory. The computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory) is attached to the motherboard as well. Another important element attached to this central hub is the BIOS, or Basic Input Output System. This part of your computer’s hardware handles what is known as boot firmware as well as your system’s power management. Its tasks are handled by your computer’s operating system.
Another feature housed by the motherboard is something called an Internal Bus. These connect your CPU to a variety of internal components as well as to the expansion cards on your computer for sound and graphics.
Closely related to these Internal Buses is something called an External Bus Controller. As the name implies, these provide support ports for all external peripherals such as printers, scanners, and other devices attached externally to your computer. These can also be attached to your USB and Firewire ports. They expand your computer’s capabilities, allowing you to do a variety of tasks such as video editing, text publication, image capture, and graphic design.
Your computer motherboard keeps your system humming at full capacity. Computers give people the freedom to create, to work, and to play in ways never before imagined.