Previously we talked about how RAM works in your computer. This week, we take a closer look at the Motherboard.

Many of us know that our computers work, but have you ever wondered how? In this episode of “How your computer works,” we are going to become a little more familiar with the Motherboard.

What we call the motherboard, mainboard, mb, Logic Board, or simply the “mobo”, is basically the “backbone” of the computer.  Just like the human spine makes us into complex vertebrates, the motherboard turns all those loose parts into a proper computer.

The many slots, sockets, and ports are where the things that plug into your computer to make it “compute” are all connected. Let’s take a look at some of the components that make your Mother Board so vitally important.



1. CPU (processor) socket

This is where the CPU, or processor, plugs in. In desk top computers, little guy is hidden by the cooling unit that sits on top of it, but underneath all that metal and various fans, sits this shiny little plaque. Basically, this is where the brains of the entire operation calls home.

2. RAM (memory) slots

These long thin modules are the seat of the computers “go” power.  There can be between two to four of these slots. Of course, more slots means more RAM, and More RAM means more power. But remember even a NASCAR can only go so fast. In most laptops RAM is the only up-gradable part of the motherboard. For more about how RAM works see our blog, “How your Computer works. Part One: Ram”.

3. Expansion slots

While many of these slots are never used in most office or student desktops they are still offered on motherboards as optional slots. Many Motherboards come with what are called “on-board” chips; mostly sound or graphics, but these integrated chips may not be enough for what you want to do. You might be into playing the occasional video game; so perhaps want a better graphics card, one of these slots is where you would place that beefy new graphics card.

4. Storage Connectors

Simply put, this is where things like your hard drive, solid state drive, or optical (DVD, Blu-Ray, CD/Writer) drives connect.

5. PS/2 Ports

Remember those old keyboard and mice that had the round connectors? This is where they plug in if you still use those. Of course, these days most of us use USB keyboards and wireless mice. However, these “legacy” ports are still commonly seen, if rarely used.


Without this connection you would never get to see what your computer is trying to display. This is where you monitor plugs in so you can see where you’re going and what you’re doing. Your motherboard might also have a DVI port and/or a HDMI port.

7. USB Ports

The ultra-versatile USB port can be used to connect mice, keyboards, cameras, cell phones, external hard drives, and some specialty equipment like GPS units and even microscopes. There are so many things you can use these ports for!

8. Ethernet Port

Sometimes wireless just isn’t enough. This port allows you to connect directly to your modem or router, giving you the fastest internet possible.

9. Audio Plugs

Plug your headphones into this port to rock out to your tunes without annoying everyone else in the house. You can even plug in external speakers to this port if you really want to rock out.

This is just a brief overview of your motherboard, but it will help you to begin to understand how vitally important to your computer the Motherboard really is.

If you want to learn more, feel free to contact the experts at Cyber Express in Boardman. We’re always happy to help!