A+ Motherboards

Class Notes:

Model # and Documentation

  • Motherboards are “paint by numbers” find the documentation to see what will fit on the board, and what connectors are.

Form Factors

  • Motherboards have standard sizes – ATX – Micro ATX – Mini ITX
  • Smaller motherboards can fit in larger cases

Integrated Components

  • Almost any component can be integrated onto the motherboard.
  • Buying a motherboards hard with integrated components can save cost, space and size.
  • You can have a single integrated component fail, and yet the rest of the board will be ok (I have added low end graphics cards many times when the integrated graphics failed)

Expansion Slots

  • Expansion slots are generally now either PCI or a version of PCIe
  • You need to verify the board has the slots you need

Drive Controllers

  • Drive controllers connect the storage to the motherboard
  • Individual controllers can fail
  • If you do not have enough you can add more by adding an expansion card.


  • Generally Motherboard RAID only is for data drives, not the OS drive


  • CMOS contains the configurations for BIOS or UEFI
  • By pulling the CMOS battery many times you can clear the configurations
  • BIOS passwords can be cleared by using the jumper on many desktop motherboards

USB and Front Ports

  • There are pins on the motherboard to connect the front USB and front buttons.
  • DIY boards can be difficult to figure out which connectors go to which pins for the front buttons and lights


  • Sockets hold a single CPU.  A single CPU can have numerous cores.
  • Sockets can only support the CPU’s they were specifically designed for.  A board with an AMD socket cannot support Intel CPU’s, and different types of Intel CPUs require different sockets.


  • The motherboard generally supports only one type of RAM such as DDR4.
  • Look at the documentation to wee what speeds of RAM the motherboard can handle
  • Multi channel RAM slots are denoted by using the same color for either the slot, or the locking mechanism.


  • Different motherboards require different power connectors for additional CPU power.  Some only require 4 pins, other require 8.
  • Verify the power supply your purchase has the appropriate connectors fro your motherboard and all components

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