While not science fiction, the motherboard in your computer does have some similarities with the idea of a mother ship in old science fiction movies. The motherboard is the one piece of equipment in your computer that ties everything else together in a workable manner. It is the piece of the computer that allows all other computer components to receive power and to communicate with one another to deliver the desired result when you give the computer a command.
Motherboards have developed over the past twenty years from where they started when first created. Back then, the motherboard held little in the way of components. Floppy drive controllers and memory slots comprised just about all that a motherboard held. Now, motherboards boast a variety of features that have been built in and directly affect the capability of your computer to be upgraded. This capability is mandatory when considering the speed at which operating systems change and evolve as end users require more from the desktop and laptop computers.
The main purpose of the motherboard is to hold the computer's microprocessor chip and then direct everything else connect to that chip. Everything that runs on your computer is either part of the motherboard or it plugs into the motherboard to be routed to the chip in order for it to be able to run.
The form factor, which is the shape and layout of the motherboard, affects where the components of your computer go and the shape of the computer's case. Most motherboards use some form of standard form factors in order to fit into standard cases in computer models today.
While the form factor is important to the motherboard, it is not the only thing that controls how your computer works with the motherboard. The type of central processor your computer uses is determined by the socket for the microprocessor on the motherboard. The chipset, which is part of the logic system on a motherboard, connect the central processing unit to the rest of the computer. The BIOS chip controls the most basic checks on the computer every time you turn it on and does so from the motherboard. The real time clock chip includes these basic settings and the time for the system.
Motherboards also contain slots for PCI, AGP, IDE, firewires, USB, and memory slots. Every one of these items requires a working motherboard in order to get power to run as expected by the end user. Each of these slots are necessary for computer operations to function in today's world of internet and business applications. Without these vital functions built into the motherboard, the average user could not conduct meaningful business in the competitive aspect of today's society.
New technologies are being added to motherboards all the time. They are not scary pieces of equipment to be avoided, but rather an integral part of your computer that enhances your computer using experience. It can be upgraded to fit your needs with little trouble and operates on a constant basis to deliver what you expect in your computer.