How Computers Work – Part 2 – The Motherboard – I [Mega Series]

Parts of The Motherboard

At least with only the PSU and motherboard, your computer can send a beep code through the internal case speaker when it notices nothing else is connected to it.

Your motherboard consists of a south bridge, a north bridge, the CPU socket, the RAM bus, the peripheral component bus, and the drive connector buses. If all of these things look confusing, that’s because they are, and there’s no easier way to list the names. We’ll go a little deeper into the function of each of these pieces a little later.

Form Factors

Your motherboard has to fit inside the computer’s body, which means it has to have certain dimensions and a compatible shape. Due to these constraints, a motherboard has to have a certain form factor. This tells you whether the motherboard fits in the case or not. An ATX computer case, for example, can fit a motherboard with an ATX form factor or anything smaller, such as MicroATX. The only thing you need to remember here is that the form factor is equivalent to the dimensions of the motherboard. Any questions?! No? Let’s move on, then.

How the Motherboard Works

The motherboard’s workings can be related to a nervous system for your computer. It carries messages from one point to another and serves as a railway for every signal. That’s why you see all those little lines leading from one part of the board to another. All the juice that flows to the motherboard comes from a thick “trunk” cable leading in from the power supply. Along with other components connected to it, the motherboard transforms the DC electrical signal into information.

How Computers Work – Part 1 – The Power Supply [Mega Series]

How the Power Supply Works

The computer needs a type of adapter that will convert this current from AC to direct current (DC) – a feasible type of electrical supply for the motherboard and components attached to it. Here comes the power supply to the rescue. This simple box converts the evil AC to good, holy and pure DC, which is then distributed to each individual component on the computer that requires it. Although the motherboard gets a nice fat slice of the juice, smaller cables from the power supply also lead to the hard drives, certain expansion cards, and your tongue, if you have the ambition for that.

Each component receives a certain voltage from its dedicated cable. You see, the motherboard can’t provide power to all the components connected to it through the big fat cable it gets from the PSU. Certain components, such as the hard drives and CD DVD burners, need a certain amount of dedicated amperage and voltage that cannot be shared with anything else. In fact, most of the cables on your computer that look like colorful intestines are dedicated power cables for storage components, peripheral drives, and expansion cards.