Anatomy Of A Motherboard

You might have a desktop PC at work, school, or home. You might use one to work out tax returns or play Harga Motherboard medan the latest games; you might even be into building and tweaking computers. But how well do you know the components that make up a PC? Take the humble motherboard — it sits there, quietly keeping everything running, and rarely gets the same attention as the CPU or graphics card.

Motherboards are remarkably important though, and full of really cool technology. So let’s go all Grey’s Anatomy, and dissect the motherboard — breaking down its various parts and seeing what each bit does!

A simple overview to start with…

Let us begin with the main role of a motherboard. In essence, it serves two purposes:

Provide electrical power to the individual components

Provide a route to allow the components to communicate with each other

There are other things a motherboard does (e.g. holds the components in place, or provides feedback as to how well everything is functioning) but the aforementioned aspects are critical to how a PC operates, that almost every other part that makes up the motherboard, is related to these two things.

Nearly every motherboard used in a standard desktop PC today will have sockets for the central processing unit (CPU), memory modules (nearly always a type of DRAM), add-in expansion cards (such a graphics card), storage, input/ouputs, and a means to communicate with other computers and systems.

Standard motherboards initially differ in terms of their size, and there are industry-wide standards that manufacturers tend to adhere to (and plenty of others that don’t). The main sizes you’re likely to come across are:

Standard ATX – 12 × 9.6 inches (305 × 244 mm)

Micro ATX – 9.6 × 9.6 inches (244 × 244 mm)

Mini ATX – lima.9 × lima.9 inches (150 × 150 mm)

You can see a far Jual Motherboard more comprehensive list on Wikipedia but we’ll just stick to standard ATX for simplicity, because the differences generally lie in the number of sockets available to be powered and connected; a bigger motherboard permits more sockets.

But what exactly is a motherboard?

A motherboard is simply a big electronic printed circuit board, with lots of connectors to plug things into and hundreds, if not thousands, of feet of electrical traces that run between the various sockets. Theoretically, the board isn’t needed: you could connect everything together by using a huge mass of wires. The performance would be terrible, though, as the signals would interfere with one another, and there would be notable power losses by using this method, too.

We’ll begin our breakdown by using a typical ATX motherboard. The image below corresponds to an Asus Z97-Pro Gamer and its appearance, features, and functions can be found in dozens more like it.

The only persoalan with the picture (other than the motherboard being quite… umm… well, used) is that there are a lot of visible components, making it trickier to spot everything clearly.

Let’s strip it all away and look at a simplified diagram to begin with (below).

Distributor Motherboard medan That’s better, but there is still a lot of sockets and connectors to talk about! Let’s start near the top, with the most important one of all.

Wiring up the brains of a PC

The diagram Supplier Motherboard medan has a structure labelled LGA1150. This is the name used by Intel to describe the socket used to hold many of their CPUs. The letters, LGA, stand for Land Grid Array, a common type of packaging technology for CPUs and other integrated circuits.

LGA systems have lots of little pins in the motherboard, or in a socket on the board, to provide power and communications to the processor. You can see them in the picture below:

The metal bracket holds the CPU in place but it’s getting in the way of seeing the pins clearly, so let’s move it to one side.

Remember the name for this? LGA1150. The number is for how many pins there are in this socket. We’ll explore the connections for a CPU in another article, but for now we’ll just point out that motherboards for other CPUs will have more or fewer pins.

In general, the more capable the CPU (in terms of number of cores, amount of cache, etc), the more pins will be found in the socket. A large number of these connections will be used to send and receive data to the next important feature on a motherboard.

Big brains need big memory

The sockets or slots that are always the closest to the CPU are those that hold DRAM modules, aka system memory. These are connected directly to the CPU and nothing else on the motherboard. The number of DRAM slots depend mostly on the CPU, as the controller for the memory is built into the central processor.

In the example we’re looking at, the CPU that fits into this motherboard has 2 memory controllers, with each one Toko Motherboard medan handling 2 sticks of memory – hence there are 4 sockets in total. You can see that, on this motherboard, the memory sockets are colored in way to let you know which ones are managed by which controller. They’re commonly called memory channels, so channel #1 handles two of the slots and channel #dua handles the other two.

For this particular motherboard, the colors of the slots can be a little confusing (and it certainly confused this author!): the two black slots are actually one each for the two memory controllers (and same for the grey ones). So the black slot closest to the CPU socket is channel #1, and the next black one is channel #dua.

It’s colored like this to encourage you use the motherboard in what is called dual memory channel mode – by using both controllers at the same time, the overall performance of the memory system is increased. So let’s say you had two RAM modules, each one 8 GB in size. No matter what slots you put them in, you’ll always have a total of 16 GB of available memory.

However, if you put both modules into both of the black slots (or both of the grey slots), the CPU will essentially have double the routes possible to access that memory. Do it the other way (one module in each color) and the system will be forced to access the memory with just the one memory controller. Given that it can only manage one route at a time, it’s not hard to see how this doesn’t help performance.

This CPU/motherboard combination uses DDR3 SDRAM (double data rate version tiga, synchronous dynamic random access memory) chips and each socket holds one SIMM or DIMM. The ‘IMM’ part stands for Inline Memory Module; the S and D refers to where the module has one side filled with chips or both sides (single or dual).

Along the bottom edge of the memory module are lots of gold plated connectors, and this type of memory has 240 of them in total (120 each side). These provide the power and data signals for the chips.

A single DIMM of DDR3 SDRAM. Image: Crucial

Bigger modules would allow you to have more memory, but the whole setup is limited by the pins on the CPU (almost half of the 1150 pins in this example are dedicated to handle these memory chips) and space for all of the traces or electrical wires in the motherboard.

The computer industry has stuck with using 240 pins on memory modules since 2004 and shows no signs of changing any time soon. To improve memory performance, the chips simply run faster with each new version released. In the example we’re looking at, the CPU’s memory controllers can each send and receive 64 bits of data per clock cycle. So with two controllers, the memory sticks will having 128 pins dedicated to transferring information. So why 240 pins?

Each memory chip on the DIMM (16 in total, 8 per side) can transfer 8 bits per clock cycle. That means each chip needs 8 pins, just for data transfers; however, two chips share the same data pins, so only 64 of the 240 are data ones. The remaining 176 pins are required for timing and reference purposes, transmitting the addresses of the data (location of where the data is on the module), controlling the chips, and providing electrical power.

So you can see that having more than 240 pins won’t necessarily make things better!

RAM isn’t the only thing that’s hooked up to the CPU

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