What does a motherboard do?


Quick Answer

A motherboard links the different components within a computer to allow communication between all the hardware components. It holds the system memory, expansion slots, networking systems, audio, input/output systems and the central processing unit. The motherboard is the central component of a computer, and the computer can not run without it. There are huge variations in motherboards in terms of size, design, compatibility, cases and power supply.

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Full Answer

Motherboards are classified by the type of processor that they are compatible with. The socket used to hold the CPU is the most important feature of the motherboard because the kind of CPU that is compatible with a particular motherboard determines the overall character of the board. Motherboards have limits on the amount of RAM they support, which is another defining characteristic. A chipset connects the microprocessor to the motherboard. All computer components communicate with the CPU through the chipset. The motherboard has connectors that are used to connect the card readers, hard drives, speakers, microphones, network cables, keyboards, monitors, DVD drives and other components. These devices are important for the functioning and productivity of the computer. Motherboards also feature a high-speed graphics slot, such as PCIe or AGP, that is used to support graphic adapters and other expansion cards.

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