Terms You Need to Know when you buy a motherboard

PC motherboards are challenging to purchase. People who shop for motherboards—whether as an upgrade component or for a project to construct a PC from the ground up—are a smart group who feel comfortable taking their PC(personal computer) apart and putting it back together. If you are building your PC you must know how to connect a power supply to the motherboard

However, the terminology used to describe motherboards can be confusing, and some of it can even baffle seasoned PC builders. For maintenance purposes, you might be wondering to clean a motherboard.

However, novice purchasers and builders must have some prior knowledge before making a motherboard purchase. As there are Terms You Need to Know when you buy a motherboard.

20 Terms You Need to Know when you buy a motherboard: (PDF)

A complementing motherboard is usually the next item you choose for your setup after choosing a CPU(Central Processing Unit). One of the most intricate computer parts is the motherboard, so when you buy one, consumers frequently struggle to understand its specifications and phrases. 

Terms You Need to Know when you buy a motherboard

1. Form Factor:

The term “form factor” refers to the size and configuration of a certain desktop motherboard. You need to know which of the common board form factors the PC case accepts in order to be certain that a certain board will fit inside.



The basic input/output system (BIOS) is a long-standing piece of firmware that controls your computer before it boots up and enters the operating-system environment. The outdated BIOS, which had a number of built-in limitations, was modernized in the twenty-first century as UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

Before your computer wakes up and enters the operating-system environment, it is controlled by a long-standing piece of firmware known as the basic input/output system (BIOS). The obsolete BIOS, which had some inherent restrictions, was modernized as UEFI(Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) in the twenty-first century (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

3. I / O Shield:

I / O Shield - Terms You Need to Know when you buy a motherboard

The I/O shield is a square-shaped metal plate with potentially sharp edges that fits into a void on the rear of your computer casing.



MOSFET(metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect The transistor, a kind of field effect transistor, is used in computer motherboards to control voltage. MOSFETs are distinguished by their low strength design, frequently indicated by the letters RDS (on), which results in less heat being produced.

5. PWM Fan Header (PWM fan plug):

PWM Fan Header

The computer fan is connected through a four-pin connection. The motherboard typically includes a fan and proportional plug, therefore more fans are needed the larger the motherboard.

For that, you must understand How to connect RGB( Red Green, and Blue) Fans to the Motherboard in order to update the motherboard driver and test the motherboard. 

6. Slot DIMM:

Dual In-line DIMM Memory Modules are the sort that accepts the system’s RAM system through slots on the motherboard (often two or four), and have twice as many mainboard data lines as SIMM. Memory is secured in place by sliders on either one or both sides.

7. PCI Express x16, x8, x4 and x1 slots:

Video cards, TV tuners, and other motherboard-based components can be installed in PCIe slots, which are expansion slots on the motherboard.

8. SLI and CrossFireX:

SLI and CrossFireX refer to a motherboard’s capacity to employ several graphics cards and function fluidly in order to boost graphics performance. Scalable Link Interface, the standard that supports Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, while CrossFireX supports AMD Radeon cards, is what SLI stands for. These cards must often share the same graphics processor.

9. USB plug:

USB plug

The USB Header, which has two types—USB 2.0 and USB 3.0—of pin connectors, is one type found on the motherboard. These connections are used to join wires within the computer case so that the USB connector can be hooked into the front of the chassis (font panel).

10. Front-panel plug (Front-Panel Header):

A network of pins on the motherboard that receives wires from the computer case makes up the front end of the chassis. Some of these pins will be color-coded or labeled.

11. Chipset:


The word “chipset” refers to the motherboard silicon that serves as a controller and a path between various computer subsystems.

12. AC ’97 and HD Audio (Audio accessory connector on the front of the chassis – Audio Header Font):

A cable with a 10-pin plug connector connects the inside of the case to the headphone and microphone jacks used in the majority of computer enclosures. This connector plugs into a battery—now known as an “HD audio” plug—on the motherboard.

When switching between these two connectors, the motherboard’s “AC” 97 connectors malfunctioned.

13. Serial ATA

The common interface for discs in home and office PCs is called Serial ATA, or SATA for short. Hard drives, SSDs, and optical drives all use it.

14. ATX 24-pin power supply plug

A motherboard connector is ATX 24 pin. ATX power connectors were divided into 20 batteries and 4 batteries at the time of the mid-2000 changeover.

15. CPU power supply plug:

On a modern motherboard, the CPU power connector connects a Molex-type power supply, which is typically located next to the real CPU socket, using a 4-pin connector (split into 2 and 2) and 8 batteries (divided into 2 and 4).

16. CPU Socket:

The motherboard’s CPU Socket, which is square in shape, serves as the CPU’s foundation. Each type of processor socket must be compatible with the others.

17. Acceleration processor (APU):

The A and E-Series CPUs from AMD are referred to by this name since they provide graphics acceleration. It stands for Accelerated Processing Init and depending on when they were produced, these chips use AM4, FM2, and FM2 + sockets.

18. Capacitor:

These electronic parts, which are dispersed over a typical motherboard and used in a number of subsystems, primarily serve as “holding pens” for electrical charge.

19. CMOS, CMOS battery:

Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor, or CMOS, is a memory array on the system board that houses the BIOS and other settings and controls the system clock.

20. Debug LED:

The debug LED, which is frequently seen on high-end motherboards, is a very useful feature for both novice and experienced PC builders. If the computer cannot boot, it displays error codes on a (often two-digit) readout.

What Form Factor (ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ATX and Case Should a Motherboard Have?

The motherboard is one of the most crucial parts of a computer, which makes understanding motherboard testing all the more crucial. You must be well conversant with the 10 Motherboard Components And Their Function in order to achieve that.

One of the most important factors to choose when choosing a motherboard is its form factor, along with the CPU socket.

If you have a computer and need to replace the motherboard because a component failed or you want to upgrade it, unless you want to buy a new CPU and case, choose a motherboard with a socket that will fit your current CPU and fit in your current case.

Choose a motherboard for your new computer that will support the CPU you want and fit in the case you selected. The size of the case and the type of motherboard it supports are more crucial factors to take into account when picking a case than its appearance.

The following are the primary motherboard form factors you’ll employ while constructing a bespoke PC:

  • ATX: The majority of desktop computers use a form factor called ATX. It has a 12 inch length and a 9.625-inch width, and it has space for expansion cards and accessories.
  • Micro-ATX: This is two inches shorter and the same width as ATX. Because of this, it may fit into smaller cases but has fewer expansion slots.
  • Mini-ITX: These motherboards fit in compact cases because they are just 6.75 inches wide and 6.75 inches long, but there isn’t much room for expansion slots. One expansion slot could be given to you, or none at all.

Choose a case and confirm whether it is an ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX case. You can look for a motherboard that is compatible with the CPU socket you wish to utilize which is ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX.


A motherboard is a printed circuit board (PCB) that offers various connectors for components including the CPU, GPU, memory, and storage, and acts as a form of backbone for various components’ communication. 

Choosing a motherboard is a hugely important part of building a PC. What does a motherboard do? Therefore, this post will provide you with 20 phrases to understand before purchasing a motherboard.

The sort of CPU you need to employ is unaffected by the motherboard’s form size. You can use the same CPU with an ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX motherboard if it has the right socket.

More on Motherboard


Do you need to buy Windows 10 when getting a new motherboard?

You shouldn’t need to buy a new Windows 10 license if you first create a Microsoft Account for your computer before changing the motherboard. You shouldn’t need to activate it if you log in using your Microsoft account.

Why do you think a motherboard is important when deciding to buy a computer?

In addition to the CPU, motherboards can link a wide range of components, including graphics cards, sound cards, networking cards, storage devices, and connections, among many others.

What should we look for when purchasing a motherboard for a desktop?

Fully managed services to create provision- and maintenance-free serverless applications. It depends mainly on which processor generation the motherboard will support, how many memory slots, which PCI express generation it will support, whether it has an HDMI port, whether it has a DVI or VGA port, and how many SATA or USB ports it has, how much power it uses, and whether it has a LAN port, a sound card slot, or a video card slot.

How much RAM does a motherboard need?

To fulfil your memory needs, it’s also crucial to consider the motherboard’s total RAM support capacity and the number of RAM slots it has. If all your computer will be used for is video streaming, web browsing, and simple gaming, then this factor won’t matter. 

Still, if you play resource-intensive games or edit videos or photos, having the ability to add more RAM is essential.

How do you choose the best motherboard case?

Before making a choice, find out the exact dimensions of the motherboard and other components if you’re building a computer to ensure that all the parts will fit in the casing. As long as it fits, your motherboard will function in any casing.

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