In this modern-day and age, almost everything is powered by computers. It is quite incredible that from simple computing machines, high-tech computers now provide automation in several industries such as manufacturing. Even homes are now powered by computers and your smartphones are likewise compact computers. One concept remains the same, though, and that is the fact that computers depend on their motherboards.
Functions of a Motherboard
The motherboard is the main circuit board of the computer that includes the central processing unit, or CPU, memory, sound cards, as well as other peripheral components. In layman’s term, the motherboard is responsible for talking to the other hardware parts of the computer to ensure that the entire unit will be usable and deliver the functions expected of it such as being used for work or entertainment. There is a slight difference between the specifications of motherboards to suit different purposes. Typically, high-end motherboards have more advanced capabilities compared to midrange motherboards, but both can be incorporated in computers intended to be used for gaming. The main difference between the two is that some specifications may fall short, but other features will surely compensate for it. Nevertheless, the overall task of a motherboard in a computer can be so demanding that it needs to be cooled off by mini fans to prevent it from overheating.
Components of a Motherboard
- Central Processing Unit
The central processing unit or the CPU of a motherboard is the overall processor of the circuit. It is the unit responsible for fetching data from other parts of the computer, decoding it, and executing program instructions as needed. It is also the unit that is responsible for executing the necessary algorithms for mathematical calculations.
- Random Access Memory
The random access memory, or RAM, are the components of the motherboard that store dynamic data temporarily. The RAM makes it easier for the CPU to access the data it needs because it doesn’t have to fetch batches of data from the hard disk directly. However, the contents of the RAM are lost once your computer is turned off. This is because the RAM is usually volatile, which is different from flash memory or hard disks that retain the data even after the computer is powered off.
- Basic Input/Output System
The basic input/output system, or BIOS, is a read-only memory consisting of low-level software that controls the system hardware. Simply put, it acts as an interface between the operating system of your computer and the hardware. These can sometimes be referred to as device drivers because they encompass the codes needed to control the keyboard, the display screen, the disk drives, and a number of other hardware functions.
- Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor Random Access Memory
Complementary metal oxide semiconductor random access memory, or CMOS RAM, is powered by a CMOS battery which remains on even if your computer is turned off. This is because CMOS devices require very little power in order to operate. Nevertheless, the CMOS RAM stores basic information regarding the configuration of the computer, such as the RAM size, the system date and time, the serial and parallel port configuration, as well as the plug and play information.
- Cache Memory
The cache memory is also a RAM, but it is more high-speed, thereby, it enhances the overall computer performance. Optimal performance is attained through the cache memory because the information needs to be accessed is preloaded from the main memory of the computer in this component. This makes it easy for the processor to access the data and information it needs to be able to function.
- Expansion Bus
The expansion buses are merely input and output slots that provide an avenue for the CPU to be accessed by other peripheral devices such as expansion boards. These buses transport signals such as data, power and control signals, as well as memory addresses. The most common expansion bus is the PCI, while other types of buses include ISA and EISA.
A computer has two main chipsets namely the NorthBridge, as well as the SouthBridge. The NorthBridge, which is also known as the memory controller, manages the transfer of information between the processor and the RAM. On the other hand, the SouthBridge, which is also known as the expansion controller, manages the communication between the peripheral devices.
Motherboards power computers, even the most advanced ones. While it is true that the circuitry may be optimized by using smaller components, or more advanced electronics, how a motherboard runs a computer remains the same. Without a motherboard, there won’t be a functional computer.