Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Personal Computer System Components Part 1

Identifying Components of Motherboards
  • Motherboard - the spine of the computer
    • a.k.a. system board or planar board
    • Connects together all the other components of  a PC
  • Two major types of system boards
    • Nonintegrated - all the major assemblies are installed as expansion cards
      • These are difficult to find nowadays.
    • Integrated - most of the components that were previously installed as expansion cards are now integrated into the circuitry of the motherboard.
      • Integrated motherboards are cheaper to produce but expensive to repair as the whole motherboard must be replaced when one component breaks.
System Board Form Factors
  • ATX - Advanced Profile Extended
    • The processor and memory are at right angles to the expansion cards and are in line with the fan, allowing the processor to run cooler.
    • This is the primary motherboard in use today.
  • microATX
    • Uses the same component placement design as ATX motherboards but has a smaller footprint.
    • Has fewer memory modules, headers, expansion slots, integrated components, and chassis bays.
    • Was designed for lower wattage power supplies.
  • LPXe
    • Lack formal standardization and its riser card interfaces varied from vendor to vendor. 
    • Was popular in the 1990s until the advent of the Pentium II processor and the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP).
    • Was inadequate at cooling and accommodating high pin counts.
  • NLX - New Low-Profile Extended
    • Uses riser cards to place the expansion slots sideways on the motherboard so that the reduced vertical space of the low-profile case is used optimally.
    • Was designed to replace LPX but never became as widely used as LPX was.
  • BTX - Balanced Technology Extended
    • Was designed by Intel.
    • Was met with resistance by customers who foresaw ever rising prices and manufacturers who was increased research and development expenses  and greater potential profit loss.
    • Lined up the components that produced the most heat between air intake vents and the power supply's exhaust fan and used a passive heat sink to cool the CPU and other components.

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