There are primarily two types of motherboards, AT motherboard, and ATX motherboard. AT motherboards are older, and not commonly used now a days. The AT and ATX motherboards differ in the form factor. Full AT is 12" wide x 13.8" deep, and Baby AT is 8.57" wide x 13.04" deep. Full-ATX is 12" wide x 9.6" deep and Mini-ATX is 11.2" wide x 8.2" deep. Other major differences include power supply connector, and keyboard connector. AT has 5-pin large keyboard connector, where as ATX has 6-pin mini connector. Similarly, AT has single row two connectors +/-5V, and +/-12V, whereas ATX motherboard has double row single connector providing +/-5V, +/-12V, and +3.3V.
A typical ATX PC motherboard with constituent components is given below:
The important constituent components of an ATX Motherboard are given below:
Mouse & keyboard
Power supply plug in
1. Mouse & keyboard: Keyboard Connectors are two types basically. All PCs have a Key board port connected directly to the motherboard. The oldest, but still quite common type, is a special DIN, and most PCs until recently retained this style connector. The AT-style keyboard connector is quickly disappearing, being replaced by the smaller mini DIN PS/2-style keyboard connector.
You can use an AT-style keyboard with a PS/2-style socket (or the other way around) by using a converter. Although the AT connector is unique in PCs, the PS/2-style mini-DIN is also used in more modern PCs for the mouse. Fortunately , most PCs that use the mini-DIN for both the keyboard and mouse clearly mark each mini-DIN socket as to its correct use. Some keyboards have a USB connection, but these are fairly rare compared to the PS/2 connection keyboards.
2. USB (Universal serial bus):
USB is the General-purpose connection for PC. You can find USB versions of many different devices, such as mice, keyboards, scanners, cameras, and even printers. a USB connector's distinctive rectangular shape makes it easily recognizable.
USB has a number of features that makes it particularly popular on PCs. First, USB devices are hot swappable. You can insert or remove them without restarting your system.
3. Parallel port: Most printers use a special connector called a parallel port. Parallel port carry data on more than one wire, as opposed to the serial port, which uses only one wire. Parallel ports use a 25-pin female DB connector. Parallel ports are directly supported by the motherboard through a direct connection or through a dangle.
4. CPU Chip : The central processing unit, also called the microprocessor performs all the calculations that take place inside a pc. CPUs come in Variety of shapes and sizes.
Modern CPUs generate a lot of heat and thus require a cooling fan or heat sink. The cooling device (such as a cooling fan) is removable, although some CPU manufactures sell the CPU with a fan permanently attached.
5. RAM slots: Random-Access Memory (RAM) stores programs and data currently being used by the CPU. RAM is measured in units called bytes. RAM has been packaged in many different ways. The most current package is called a 168-pin DIMM (Dual Inline Memory module).
6. Floppy controller: The floppy drive connects to the computer via a 34-pin ribbon cable, which in turn connects to the motherboard. A floppy controller is one that is used to control the floppy drive.
7. IDE controller: Industry standards define two common types of hard drives: EIDE and SCSI. Majority of the PCs use EIDE drives. SCSI drives show up in high end PCs such as network servers or graphical workstations. The EIDE drive connects to the hard drive via a 2-inch-wide, 40-pin ribbon cable, which in turn connects to the motherboard. IDE controller is responsible for controlling the hard drive.
8. PCI slot: Intel introduced the Peripheral component interconnect bus protocol. The PCI bus is used to connect I/O devices (such as NIC or RAID controllers) to the main logic of the computer. PCI bus has replaced the ISA bus.
9. ISA slot: (Industry Standard Architecture) It is the standard architecture of the Expansion bus. Motherboard may contain some slots to connect ISA compatible cards.
11. AGP slot: If you have a modern motherboard, you will almost certainly notice a single connector that looks like a PCI slot, but is slightly shorter and usually brown. You also probably have a video card inserted into this slot. This is an Advanced Graphics Port (AGP) slot
12. CPU slot: To install the CPU, just slide it straight down into the slot. Special notches in the slot make it impossible to install them incorrectly. So remember if it does not go easily, it is probably not correct. Be sure to plug in the CPU fan's power.
13. Power supply plug in:
The Power supply, as its name implies, provides the necessary electrical power to make the pc operate. the power supply takes standard 110-V AC power and converts into +/-12-Volt, +/-5-Volt, and 3.3-Volt DC power.
The power supply connector has 20-pins, and the connector can go in only one direction.