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


  1. I suppose that it just makes me wonder what issues could there be in obtaining parts for say a Dell computer? Would nearly all the parts have to be ordered specifically from Dell? What do you do if you cannot find the parts on the internet? Could the Dell be so outdated that the parts are no longer readily available? How would you go about finding the replacement part and then purchasing it on the internet?

    • old parts can get to the point where you cannot buy them anymore. this is one reason servers should be on a 5 year refresh cycle. I had to deal with 10 year old server when their motherboard failed and it was a nightmare…

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