Part of the Hardware glossary:

A motherboard is the physical arrangement in a computer that contains the computer's basic circuitry and components. On the typical motherboard, the circuitry is imprinted or affixed to the surface of a firm planar surface and usually manufactured in a single step. The most common motherboard design in desktop computers today is the AT, based on the IBM AT motherboard. A more recent motherboard specification, ATX, improves on the AT design. In both the AT and ATX designs, the computer components included in the motherboard are:

  • The microprocessor
  • (Optionally) coprocessors
  • Memory
  • basic input/output system (BIOS)
  • Expansion slot
  • Interconnecting circuitry

Additional components can be added to a motherboard through its expansion slot. The electronic interface between the motherboard and the smaller boards or cards in the expansion slots is called the bus.

This was last updated in May 2006
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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