Exploring Motherboards, the Heart of the Desktop Computer

Among all the components in a desktop computer setup the motherboard is probably the most essential. It consists of a large, flat circuit board inside the computer to which all the other parts are connected. Think of it as the heart of the computer, as it gives life to all the other components of the machine. The ports and sockets in a motherboard allow peripheral devices such as the keyboard and mouse and output devices like monitors and printers to communicate with the system. Principally it houses the microprocessor which is regarded as the brain of the computer.

Dell SystemBoard for PowerEdge servers

Dell PowerEdge Motherboard

For any component to work, it has to connect to the motherboard so it can communicate with the system. Unlike the components of laptop computers, most desktop motherboards share the same dimensions—one can name the type of motherboard simply by analyzing the form factor of the circuit board. What factors should one consider when thinking of buying a motherboard for a desktop computer?

You cannot simply buy a new motherboard and stuff it into the computer casing expecting it to work as flawlessly as the original one. To get the most out of the motherboard you plan to buy you must be familiar with the different components of a motherboard. Knowledge of the working parts of the motherboard will allow you to find hardware that is compatible with your current setup.

There are two main parts in the motherboards classified according to immovability. For instance, Dell motherboards have “onboard” parts soldered directly into the circuit board. These also include integrated components such as microchips and sockets. Then there are plug-in components that can be detached at will and designed to allow upgrades of personalized Dell parts and components.

There are instances where plugins are so popular that newer motherboard iterations have fully integrated them in the design. Some companies manufacture motherboards for home use, sporting only the most essential ports. Others, like the Dell PowerEdge motherboard, are tailored for enterprise-grade machines that can do billions of instructions per second.

Thus it is best to ascertain that your machine is compatible with the motherboard you have eyed for a while. Practice the helpful habit of checking official documents on the Internet for next-generation models of the same motherboard brand. For instance, the PowerEdge motherboards mentioned earlier are only compatible with a line of servers manufactured by Dell (also called PowerEdge). Thus purchasing Dell computer parts would not work on a tower-mounted Lenovo ThinkServer but would function perfectly with Dell systems.

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