The illustrated Guide to Motherboards

illustrated Guide to Motherboards

So, how are the components connected. What are their functions, and how are they tied together to form a PC? That is the subject of Click and Learn. So, please continue reading...

History of the PC

Computers have their roots 300 years back in history. Mathematicians and philosophers like Pascal, Leibnitz, Babbage and Boole made the foundation with their theoretical works. Only in the second half of this century was electronic science sufficiently developed, to make practical use of their theories.

The modern PC has roots back to USA in the 1940's. Among the many scientists, I like to remember John von Neumann (1903-57). He was a mathematician, born in Hungary. We can still use his computer design today. He broke computer hardware down in five primary parts:

  • CPU
  • Input
  • Output
  • Working memory
  • Permanent memory

Data exchange - the mainboard

It is a printed circuit board, on which multiple chips, ports (plug ins), and other electronic components are mounted. In the PC,
data are exchanged continuously between these components. Therefore it is important to understand each component, its
connections and characteristics. All data exchange is done on the system board, which thus is the most important component
in the PC. So, now we will start with a more technical evaluation of the system board.
The mainboard components
The PC is built around the main, system or mother board (all meaning the same). This board is so essential for the PC,
because it holds the CPU and all its connections. Let us see, what you can find on it:
  • ROM-chips with BIOS and other programs
  • CMOS, storing system setup data
  • The CPU
  • L2-cache
  • Chip sets with I/O controllers
  • An illustrated Guide to Motherboards
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) mounted in SIMM or DIMM chips
  • Cards to connect with keyboard and mouse
  • Serial and parallel ports
  • Connectors to disk drives and EIDE drive (hard disk, CD-ROM etc.)
  • Slots for expansion cards
  • Jumpers to adjust voltage, system bus speed, clock, etc.
  • Contacts to reset HD activity, speaker, etc.
I want to describe many of these gismos and components on the following pages.
Use the manual
If you are interested in the system board and the technical aspects of the PC, the system board manual is an essential tool.
With patience, you can find much information there. It is especially valuable, if you understand the system board principles
(clock factor, bus speed, etc.).
For example, you can read how to set jumper switches to utilize some options.
I have connected a PS/2-mouse to the special AUX-port. It is a small connector on the system board, where I can connect a
mini DIN connector. In that way, I have connected the mouse, without occupying any COM ports. In this situation, I have to
reset a jumper switch. My manual tells me it is JP18: