What is a Motherboard? – Definition, Function

What is a Motherboard? - Definition, Function

A motherboard is the main circuit board in a PC. The CPU and all other components of your computer connect to the motherboard.

The motherboard controls communication between these parts, offering a home for ports, slots, and controllers.

It’s sometimes called a system board, logic board, or mobo (if you’re interested in shortening its name).

Motherboard Functions

The motherboard contains several slots for connecting various hardware components and provides connections for peripherals, including the monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

All data passes through it before being processed by the CPU and sent to other computer parts.

The motherboard is essential for operating a computer, without it you would have no way of communicating with the machine or receiving information.

You wouldn’t even be able to see anything on your screen if there weren’t some connector between those two devices (where HDMI cables come into play).

The motherboard also features card slots that permit users to expand their computer’s capabilities.

For example, some people might wish for more powerful graphics processing than what comes standard with their purchase.

So they could install a graphics card in one of these slots (provided there’s room left over after filling up all necessary ports)!

In addition to these hardware-related functions that make up most modern motherboards (and therefore, how we will refer to them from now on).

Some manufacturers include additional features like wireless networking capabilities or even built-in sound cards, which can replace external ones used by many gamers today.

Although not usually included on motherboards due mainly due to cost concerns rather than technological limitations-a future versions may contain such functionality.

Motherboard Parts

Let’s take a look at some of the most common parts that you’ll find on the motherboard:


The socket is where your CPU fits into the motherboard. It’s typically located in the center of a motherboard, with all other components surrounding it.

The size and shape of this port vary depending on which type of processor you’re using (Intel or AMD).

Northbridge and Southbridge

Northbridge and southbridge are two chips connected through a data connection called PCI Express (PCIe), which handles communication between your computer’s CPU, memory controller hub, input/output control hub (both known as chipsets), and graphics card.

You need both north- and southbridges if you want PCIe compatibility.

However, if you don’t have an integrated GPU (iGPU) or onboard video output capability on your motherboard—in other words, no graphics card installed—then only one chipset will suffice for your needs.

RAM Slots

These can be found near the front left corner of most motherboards—about halfway down from the top edge towards the bottom right side in typical ATX form factor boards-and hold sticks containing volatile memory storage space used by programs running on the computer systems when they need quick access information stored elsewhere within hard drive storage device but cannot load necessary files due to limited bandwidth limitations imposed by SATA controllers which limit transfer speeds between drives connected over bus interface cable connection paths used inside chassis enclosure units housing internal components.


A chipset is typically made up of three pieces: northbridge (which connects directly to RAM), southbridge (which connects to various slower devices such as USB ports), and BIOS chip itself containing basic instruction sets needed by all computers).

Some motherboards also have embedded controllers like Realtek High Definition Audio Controller or Intel Management Engine Interface Controller.

This help manages specific tasks like sound input/output while allowing other hardware components such as CPUs to receive power without having many connections taking place between them simultaneously.

Motherboard Structure

Motherboard Structure

The motherboard is the backbone of your computer, connecting all vital parts like CPU (Central Processing Unit), RAM (Random Access Memory), and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).

It also includes ports for connecting peripherals like a mouse or keyboard.

In short,

The motherboard provides a home for all of these parts to interact with each other.

A typical modern ATX PC motherboard will have several distinct components:

  • CPU socket
  • System memory slot
  • Slots for additional expansion cards
  • Power connectors or pins
  • Chipset heatsink/fan (HSF)
  • Batteries

Some motherboards use two. There are two types: CMOS battery and BIOS chip.

The CMOS battery keeps date/time information for your system and makes sure that your password is enabled when you turn on your system.

The BIOS chip contains instructions that tell the motherboard how to operate.

A simple program installed onto the computer is called an application; this can be anything from Photoshop to Microsoft Word.

How To Find The Best Motherboard?

When searching for the best motherboard, you should consider many different factors.

The first thing to keep in mind is what you will use your computer for. Suppose you’re going to be using your PC mainly for playing video games.

In that case, you’ll need to make sure that the motherboard can support a good graphics card with high-end graphics processing.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be doing regular tasks (such as schoolwork or working from home), there’s no need to worry about getting a board that supports high-end graphics cards—even a lower-end board will work fine.

Other things to consider are what type of RAM and CPU you want on your computer (these should be compatible) and how much storage space it has.

You also have to make sure that everything fits into one case! If something doesn’t work well or at all, it’s not worth getting because it’ll take up too much space inside your PC tower and cause problems later on down the road.

It would be best if you also decided how much money you want to spend on this part of building your computer before making any purchases.

Some boards cost more than others based on their features. In contrast, others may seem like they have everything but don’t when compared with another product from another brand that could do better at less than half its price point, if not even less expensive!


With its central role in your PC, the motherboard is a key component.

You can choose to go with a standard ATX board or a microATX one depending on the size of your case, and there are dozens of options no matter what you need.

Further Reading