Exploring the Motherboard and Busses
The motherboard represents the logical foundation of the computer. Everything that makes a computer must be attached to the motherboard. The major components of a motherboard include I/O port cluster, memory slots and expansion slots, and mass storage interfaces. All of these components work together to make the computer run as efficiently as possible.
The integrated I/O port cluster can be located in as many as three different places. All motherboards feature a rear port cluster, and many motherboards also have additional ports on the top of the motherboard that are routed to header cables accessible from the front and rear of the system. The most recent motherboard include serial (COM), parallel (LPT), PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, USB 2.0, Ethernet, audio, FireWire, VGA, and HDMI ports. Integrated ports provide efficiency when it comes to performance and ...view middle of the document...
Until recently, most motherboards included two or more EIDE/PATA host adapters for PATA devices such as hard disks, CD or DVD drives, tape backups, and removable-media drives. Most current systems now have only one EIDE/PATA host adapter, as the industry is transitioning away from EIDE/PATA to SATA inter- faces for both hard disk and DVD drives. Most recent systems have anywhere from two to as many as eight SATA host adapters. Each host adapter controls a single SATA drive, such as a hard disk or rewritable DVD drive. SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) is a more flexible drive interface than PATA (ATA/IDE) because it can accommodate many devices that are not hard disk drives. The fastest versions of SCSI are comparable in speed to today’s SATA. However, SCSI systems are usually used in servers and power workstations, as opposed to regular PCs.
Upgrading the motherboard will give some performance improvement to a computer system, but depending on what is connected to the motherboard results in the performance of the system. Having upgraded the motherboard and not the components themselves can hinder the improvement in the performance. Although an upgraded motherboard may offer more ports or slots, the devices that are used end up making a considerable difference. For example having a motherboard that provides three PCI slots will not improve video quality if only one low grade video card is being used.
A bus is a distinct set of conductors carrying data and control signals within a computer system, to which pieces of equipment may be connected in parallel. Some busses include the front side bus, memory busses, and high speed I/O busses. The different types of busses carry data to their designated destinations to make for a smooth computing process. All of the busses are connected to the motherboard and cannot be replaced individually. It is better to replace an entire motherboard rather than try to fix a single bus. 64-bit busses are now available but 32-bit busses should also be available for compatibility with processors and systems. Many older processors are only compatible with 32-bit busses. If a processor is 64-bit compatible it is also 32-bit compatible, but 32-bit processors are not compatible with 64-bit processors.