Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope

Onboard may refer to any of the following:

Illustration: A motherboard and two discrete adapters (expansion cards), and a motherboard with onboard adapters.

1. Alternatively called integrated, onboard hardware is embedded into a circuit board. With a computer, onboard often refers to a device, like a sound card, network card, GPU (graphics processing unit), or WLAN (wireless local area network), integrated into the motherboard. Unlike expansion cards, users cannot remove these components from their computer. However, they can be disabled through software or CMOS setup or are automatically disabled when an expansion card is added to the computer.

Where are the connections for onboard devices?

With computers, onboard device connections are all on the motherboard's back panel. The picture below shows a motherboard with onboard audio and the audio jacks on the back panel. In the example, there is no connection for a monitor because the motherboard does not have onboard video.

Back panel on motherboard

What is an onboard computer?

An onboard computer is one or more computers that are part of another device. For example, a car can have many different onboard computers that help monitor and control its electronic features.

Should I use "onboard," "on-board," or "on board" in my writing?

When describing a computer or computer component that is part of another circuit board (as explained above), both "onboard" and "on-board" are correct. For example, "onboard sound card" and "on-board sound card" correctly describe a sound card on the motherboard. However, "on board" (with a space) should never be used when describing anything to do with computers.

Computer Hope chooses to use "onboard" on all of its pages for the sake of consistency.

2. The term onboarding is introducing a new device in a network.

3. With a job or new employee, onboarding is the process a company takes to introduce a new person to the company. A company's onboarding process may include granting access, introducing its systems, explaining its rules and culture, and anything else that makes an employee productive.

Built-in, Business terms, Hardwired, Integrated, Motherboard terms