the heart of the computer
a.k.a. mainboard ties the parts in your computer together.
If the processor
is the brain of your computer, the main board's function is the nerves,
transferring the electronic impulses between the installed parts making them
work the way they're supposed to.
But you do not
need to know what makes the board work to successfully build your own
computer. It's all just plug and play really:)
The first glance
at a mother board (if you haven't seen one before) might scare you. Thousands of
transistors and other electronic thingies. Don't try to understand those,
because you really don't have to.
What you need to
know about a motherboard:
The computer processor brand, speed, FSB speed and socket type number it
supports. Match this information with the same information you
found out about your chosen CPU. A general rule: Find a motherboard that
supports higher standards of CPU and other equipment than those you
plan on buying, you might want to upgrade your computer later (trust me, you
The number of PCI card slots. When building a
computer, depending on your needs, you would need some PCI cards (sound cards,
network cards, fire wire/USB cards, scsi cards, to name a few). Building a
computer with a decent size, optimized for performance and upgrading
possibilities the mainboard should have 5-6 PCI slots.
RAM memory slots. The motherboard should support DDR-RAM memory chips. This is fast and stable memory technology. It should
support at least 2 gigabytes of RAM and have 3-4 memory slots. Make a note of
the speed of RAM and the number of pins on the ram chip that the board
supports, it is usually displayed as PCXXXX or XXXmHz where X is a number. The
number of pins is usually 184 but may vary. Keep track of this until you buy
the RAM - chips.
The mainboard should be clean of "integrated extras",
like integrated sound and graphics processors. You should get separate PCI
card interfaces for this. The more "integrated stuff" there is on the
motherboard, the bigger risk of interrupting the natural "flow" in the
circuits of the board when you put your computer to the max. Especially if you
build a recording studio and need full effect from your sound
interface, this is a big no-no. My recommendation: When building a powerful
computer, stay away from these "all-in-one" motherboards.
Form factor. The motherboard should be of an ATX
form, that's the large size of motherboards available. When in need for 5-6
PCI slots, the full ATX size is the most common (make sure the computer case
is ATX compliant too).
USB and PS/2 connectors for connecting
keyboard/mouse and other external equipment. This is generally not much to
think about since most, if not all, motherboards have these.
The motherboard is the one part where you shouldn't look too
much at the price. You usually get what you're paying for. Stick
with the well-known brands: Asus, Abit, MSI etc.
Browse Motherboards .
Compare. Be sure before you buy. This is
an extremely important part in your computer.
Need more information about motherboards?
out this motherboard buyers guide at Computer Adviser.com