MotherboardThe main purposes is controlling the power
MotherboardThe motherboard is the most essential part of a computer, it is a circuit board that connects all the computer components together and as such is the base of a computer and some refer to it as the heart of a computer. All hardware is connected via the motherboard one way or another.One of its main purposes is controlling the power flow to each component as most of the power goes straight to the motherboard to be distributed, a small exception exists for higher end components that require a bit more power! A GPU or sound card for example will still receive power from the motherboard but can also get power directly from PSU cables.More specifically the Northbridge is known as the memory controller HUB which sends data from the CPU via the front side bus to RAM using the memory bus or to a GPU on the high speed graphics bus. Other small tasks and data communications are done by sending data to the southbridge (I/O controller hub) data can be sent to the SATA drives from here or to PCI devices like sound cards using the PCI bus. USB, Ethernet and CMOS memory are also managed using the southbridgeThe motherboard is also what enables features on a case to work! An example being the buttons in a computer that allows you to turn on or reset the PC, these are connected directly to the System Panel Connectors. Other examples are flashing lights on the case when the Sata connectors are transferring data, that is also part of the System Panel Connectors and even small things like sound that beep to motherboard issues.
I have attached a labeled motherboard I created to give a visual representation of where to find some parts on a motherboard.BIOSBios (Basic Input Output System) is firmware which controls input and output operations. The BIOS handles the basic functions of a computer like the booting sequence and keyboard controls. We can also use the BIOS to configure the components in our computers. Examples being adjusting the clock speed of our memory, boot priority, component voltage as well as fan speeds and a lot more!Every modern computers motherboard contains BIOS software and is independent from any OS (Operating System) because it is actually part of the motherboards hardware and does not rely on the OS software and because of that the BIOS can run regardless of what OS you have installed or even if there is not one installed at all! The bios is actually used to help a person install an OS.
The BIOS has a lot of other very important roles and it does it well because it’s built in firmware. The motherboard handles the POST boot (Power On Self Test) which insured that the hardware is all running correctly and prevents mistakes from breaking hardware, it also can help an engineer diagnose problems with components in a computer. All information for controlling the BIOS is stored on a ROM chip (Read-Only Memory) to assure stability and prevent the BIOS being easily corrupted and stop the system from being affected if a problem does occurProcessorThe processor of a computer is also known as a CPU (Central Processing Unit). A CPU is kind of like the brain of a computer, we feed instructions to the processor and then it carries out the tasks using arithmetics. The processor works using 1’s and 0’s also known as binary.
A processor can’t understand words or letters, every letter is represented by a number, whereas when use a keyboard we may think we are sending letters to the computer but the Processor is actually just receiving numbers and converting it to the letters we see!There are 2 types of CPUs Intel and AMD their chipsets and architecture varies greatly! Motherboards need to have the right socket type to fit the right kind of CPUs, if you want newer CPUs then you need a new motherboard so that the CPU fits and an Intel socket is not compatible with an AMD CPU and vice versa. CPUs are covered in small golden pins that fit into the motherboard CPU socket, this is where data is transferred.Most CPUs these days have multiple cores which allows them to execute more instructions and work on tasks a lot easier by spreading workflow between multiple cores instead of having a single core needing to finish every task. This is very handy especially when running multiple programs as it won’t slow down the program if it’s on it’s own thread.
Of course with this increase performance we also have a lot more heat generated.Because CPUs have to do such intense tasks, they get hot really fast! That is why the back of a CPU has a metal plate which you apply thermal paste, it has a high level of conductivity so it can draw the heat from the CPU and transfer it to (Usually Copper) pipes that lead up to a grate where a fan can suck air out of the surrounding to dissipate the high levels of heat. People can also use liquid to absorb the heat and transfer it away from the CPU into a tank where it is cooled and cycled, this is called (Liquid Cooling)PSUThe PSU also known as (Power Supply Unit) Is one of the most essential parts of the computer, it is plugged directly into the mains via a kettle lead into its IEC socket and draws the power into the computer. The PSU has the important job of converting the AC current into something the computer can use, DC current.
The PSU then distributes the power accordingly to each component via the motherboard and in some cases directly to components that have external sockets to accept extra current to function correctly. The PSU also uses resistors and is the first line of defence against a power surge as it controls the current and voltage to ensure that it doesn’t blow any fuses on the main computer components.Different power supply units can maintain different levels of power! We measure this in “Watts” but one amatuer mistake is to buy a cheap power supply that claims to give a lot of Watts because in most cases it simply means the power supply can go up to that amount sometimes but not always and this inconsistency causes many issues with computers, if your computer needs 680 watts and you buy a cheap 700w PSU you may notice performance drop or the computer freeze under heavy load as the PSU may hit 700w but it may vary between 600-700 which causes massive problems on the system as you end up missing power requirements.HDDHDD (Hard Disk Drive) is a component that can store data permanently.
A HDD works by spinning multiple disks and having a small magnetic pen which changes the magnetization on parts of the disk and this is also to do with computers working off 1’s and 0’s, parts of the drive are either magnetized or they’re not and so the HDD can read data by picking up on these to generate data.One big flaw of a HDD is the fact that because it uses moving parts to function, it is easily damaged! Dropping or banging a HDD while it is functioning may knock the pen and scratch the disk, this can damage the disk and in a lot of cases damage the pen! Causing it to constantly damage the HDD as it functions. A HDD is very sophisticated and fragile.For storage devices work they need to communicate to the motherboard and this is done via SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) which provides an interface for the optical drives between themselves and the motherboard. SATA is designed using small thing cables to transfer data and have a more consistent flow of data thanks to them having their own independent bus on the otherboardSSDAnd SSD is a lot like a HDD in its purpose but the way it functions is slightly different, unlike a “Hard Disk” the SSD a (Solid State Drive) has no moving parts and functions a lot like RAM because it uses a type of memory called “Flash memory” but unlike RAM which loses all data when it loses power the SSD memory can retain data even if it loses power.
An SSD is far superior because a HDD needs to spin the plate and use a reading needle and has to wait for the disk to spin to the right location to read it however an SSD uses a grid of cells to quickly read and write data and they are separated into what are referred to as pages. Pages are then piled together to create blocks which helps with accessing data swiftly.Unlikes a HDD thought an SSD loses performance as it gets olders and the reason why is that the SSD can only write to Empty blocks where as a HDD can write anywhere! So if you have a new SSD then there are a lot of places it can write to but an SSD that is old needs to find a block with enough pages that are marked as “unused” and then find out which pages it needs to keep, reset every single page in the block to blank, rewrite the pages in the fresh block and then fill the fill all the remaining pages with the new data it wants to store! This means that after you’ve filled your SSD up it will need to go through this process every single time you need to store new data.An SSD also has a finite amount of writes before it can no longer function and the reason for this is that because it needs to reset the cells and every time the cell reset the resistance increases slightly which means it requires more voltage to push to these cells, eventually the voltage required will become too high and basically be unable to write to these blocks anymore and that is why an SSD has a limited life and also why fresh SSDs do perform better.RAMRAM is actually one of the most well known parts of a computer which stands for (Random Access Memory) and there is a lot of misunderstanding of the purpose of RAM to people new to computers as the industry has pushed to market more memory as a good thing in a computer either though it’s fairly useless past a point if it’s not being used “Which it rarely is being used”So RAM is a volatile memory storage which we directly connect to the motherboard to read and store data but only while powered and the main purpose of it is to load programs and store the information so it doesn’t need to constantly be retrieved but the time to retrieve data is always the same and the rate that the RAM can pass the data will in turn affect how fast a program can run. A very good example of how RAM works is this : You start a game and the map is huge! You’re going from house to house is its own level, now if we go into a room and want to fetch from the HDD it is significantly slower and we can prevent this by storing the level data into RAM once we have loaded it and this means when we have finished in the house we can exit the door and instead needing to load the world again, we simply fetch the data from the RAM and remove the requirement of loading it again, this helps significantly with game performance, we also store a lot of small things into RAM, like calculations done by the processor can be stored there, so if you have health and get hit, the CPU needs to calculate how much life you have to be able to retrieve that later the CPU stores it into RAM, same for your score, money and any other variables that the game requires (Even your save file itself).It’s important to note that data store in RAM can only be accessed in the power cycle it was stored in, once the computer powers down all that data is lost and that actually is one of the things that makes RAM really good for what it does as it means that we don’t degrade it over time by needing to flush the cells and that is why RAM retains its performance very well compared to most components.One thing that affects memory is the Cache memory, this essentially is the buffer between the CPU and RAM as inside the CPU there is an internal cache and the motherboard has external cache, the cache holds data the CPU will need and this means a reduction in wait states so it can execute instructions a lot faster without needing to wait for RAM