#13 | 17:31 |
Monday February 6, 2006
Monday February 6, 2006
We explain the anatomy of a motherboard. Includes an overview of components such as RAM, processors, graphics cards and more.
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Motherboard - control center of the computer
CPU - central processing unit
New Pentium processors from Intel use a pinless design that must be clamped into place.
Without a heatsink to remove heat, a CPU might melt, or even explode. They can reach well over 100 degrees C.
Just remember to use fans on the case too, to prevent the heat from the CPU from damaging your other components.
RAM - Random Access Memory
In our tests, adding RAM invariably boosted system performance, sometimes as much as 30 percent
Typically located next to the CPU
Modern systems use DDR or DDR2 memory. Older systems used SDRAM. They are incompatible with each other.
SDRAM has two "key" notches.
DDR and DDR2 has one notch each but they're in slightly different places
Fair amount of pressure is necessary to install RAM (memory)
**Note** Your motherboard may not recognize RAM sticks over a certain size, so check your specs!
Optical Drive = CD or DVD.
Hard Drive - connects to motherboard with a cable
IDE - ability to connect two devices to the same cable
Serial ATA - can only connect one device
Serial ATA and IDE cables only carry enough power to move data back and forth, not to power drives themselves
See Episode _ for more Hard Drive information
WARNING! If you're chaining two hard drives with different transfer speeds, data corruption may occur
Each component inside your computer uses a certain amount of energy, which is measured in watts
Power supplies have a Watt rating, which should be higher than the total Wattage needed by your components
ATX power connectors have been on motherboards since 1995. Older motherboards will be different.
24-pin ATX connectors are used by new Intel and AMD motherboards with PCI Express onboard.
4-pin12V connector has appeared on motherboards, since the introduction of the Pentium 4 processor.
Almost impossible to not connect correctly
The third power connector (AXL) appeared on the first Pentium 2 boards. Most new boards don't need it
Electrostatic discharge may not feel all that powerful to your finger, but it's enough to fry your RAM or CPU
Graphics (Video) Card
AGP - connectors are the color brown.
PCI Express - connectors are typically black
PCI slots are older and slower than the newer PCI Express cards, and they are incompatible with each other
Battery - saves the date and time when the computers shuts-down.
- If your system is over 5 years old, you can often fix flakiness problems with a $3 CD-2032 battery.
- Remember, though; if you remove the battery, you'll need to reset your BIOS configuration again!
- Graphics capabilities are often built into boards featuring PCI Express, but they're not always implemented
- Integrated audio and video are an inexpensive choice, but performance is worse than with add-in cards
- Plugging a PCI Express graphics card into the motherboard disables the built-in graphics connector
- Microsoft's PC'97 System Design Guide specified standard color coding for commonly-used connectors.
- The PC'98 specification recommended that ISA be removed from motherboards altogether. It was, soon after.