Alternatively referred to as the mb, mainboard, mobo, mobd, backplane board, base board, main circuit board, planar board, system board, or a logic board on Apple computers. The motherboard is a printed circuit board that is the foundation of a computer, located on the back side or at the bottom of the computer case. It allocates power to the CPU, RAM, and all other computer hardware components. Most importantly, the motherboard allows hardware components to communicate with one another.
The first motherboard is considered to be one used in the IBM Personal Computer, released in 1981. At the time, IBM referred to it as a "planar" instead of a motherboard. The IBM Personal Computer and the motherboard inside it would set the standard for IBM-compatible computer hardware going forward.
Below is a picture of the ASUS P5AD2-E motherboard with names of each major component of the motherboard. Clicking on the image below gives you a larger more detailed version of the picture below.
Below are links to pages with more details for each of the above mentioned motherboard components. Links are listed in clockwise order going from the top-left corner of the image. Components not listed above or found on other motherboards are listed in the next section.
- Expansion slots (PCI Express, PCI, and AGP)
- 3-pin case fan connectors
- Back pane connectors
- Heat sink
- 4-Pin (P4) power connector
- CPU Socket
- Screw hole
- Memory slot
- Super I/O
- Floppy connection
- ATA (IDE) disk drive primary connection
- 24-pin ATX power Supply connector
- Serial ATA connections
- Coin cell battery (CMOS backup battery)
- System panel connectors
- Serial port connector
- USB headers
- Integrated circuit
- 1394 headers
Other motherboard components
Below is a listing of other motherboard components that are not shown in the picture above or were part of older computer motherboards.
- Cache memory
- Dip switches
- Game port and MIDI header
- Internal speaker
- Keyboard controller
- Network header
- Obsolete expansion slots (AMR, CNR, EISA, ISA, VESA)
- Obsolete memory slots (SIMM)
- Onboard LED
- Parallel port header
- PS/2 header
- Serial port header
- Screw hole aka mounting hole
- Voltage regulator
- Voltage regulator module (VRM)
Motherboard form factors
As computers advanced, so have motherboards. Below is a listing of the various motherboard form factors and additional information about each of these form factors including ATX, the most commonly used motherboard form factor today.
How many connections, ports, or slots are on a motherboard?
There is no set standard to how many connections, ports, or expansion slots are on a motherboard. The best method of determining how many connections, ports, or slots are available for your computer or motherboard is to look up the specifications for your motherboard.
Since there is a motherboard, is there a fatherboard?
No, there is no such thing as a fatherboard when talking about a computer. However, there is such a thing as a daughterboard.
- Steps for installing a computer motherboard.
- Computer motherboard manufacturers and related links.
- Computer motherboard help and support.