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Im trying to understand a Motherboard

  1. Aug 13, 2010 #1

    I hope you are all good. I am just trying to get my head around how a motherboard works. I appreciate this isn't that simple a topic but just to get started what are the main components. A CPU? RAM? How does RAM store its data? I'd quite like to maybe get a discussion going around the motherboard just so we can all explore it and get to understand :-)


  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2010 #2
    A motherboard largely exists to connect all the components of a computer together. Neither the CPU or RAM are typically part of a modern PC's motherboard. What is or isn't part of a motherboard can be quite variable. As an example, both sound cards and network cards used to be separate parts that plugged into a motherboard. Whereas, today, motherboards have sound and network cards integrated.

    A simple motherboard wouldn't have much integrated. The BIOS (basic software needed start the PC) and chipset (interfaces the various components) are usually integrated. Beyond that, almost every other component may or may not be integrated. It would mainly be a collection of sockets which allow other components to be installed and linked together.

    PC motherboards are broken up into a northbridge and southbridge. Both of these are hubs which link together various components; the two bridges are then linked to each other. The northbridge can be thought of as connecting the fast components (CPU, RAM, GPU). The southbridge connects all the input/output components (PCI, ports, onboard network/sound/graphics).
  4. Aug 14, 2010 #3
    Thanks! I see. What about the CPU? How does it go about processing data? I know it works in binary but what are its components and how do they work together? What about multi-core machines?
  5. Aug 14, 2010 #4
    I was going to say, "Let wiki be your guide", but their "Central Processing Unit" page seems to assume that you already understand what it's trying to tell you. A slightly better start might be:
    Mostly for the two diagrams at the beginning, and the "concepts" section. Then follow some of the links to see if you can make any headway. There _must_ be some good basic resources on-line, but I haven't the patience to look for them. Hopefully someone else can do better....
  6. Aug 14, 2010 #5


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