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Alternatively referred to as the mb, mainboard, mboard, 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 chassis. It allocates power and allows communication to the CPU, RAM, and all other computer hardware components.

Motherboard overview

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.

Computer motherboard

Motherboard components

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.

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.

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 in its documentation.

How does a motherboard connect to a computer case?

A computer motherboard connects to a desktop computer case using standouts and once attached to the case all other devices connect to it or an inserted expansion card.

What was the first motherboard?

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.

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.

Also see: Backplane, Form factor, Motherboard terms, Northbridge, Southbridge, Standout