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Theformfactorofamotherboarddeterminesthespecificationsforits generalshapeandsize. Italsospecifieswhattypeofcaseandpowersupplywillbesupported, the placement of mounting holes, and the physical layout and organizationoftheboard.







AT Prior to 1997, IBM computers used large motherboards. After that, however, the size of the motherboard wasreduced andboards using theAT(AdvancedTechnology)formfactorwasreleased.TheATform factorisfoundinoldercomputers(386classorearlier).

ATX With the need for a more integrated form factor which defined standard locations for the keyboard, mouse, I/O, and video connectors,inthemid1990'stheATXformfactorwasintroduced.
ATXdefinedtoaddressfourareasofimprovement:enhancedeaseofuse, bettersupportforcurrentandfutureI/O,bettersupportforcurrentand futureprocessortechnology,andreducedtotalsystemcost

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This form factor was developed as a natural evolution of the ATX form factor to addressnewmarkettrendsandPCtechnologies.MicroATXsupports: Reductioninthephysicalsizeofthemotherboard ReducingthenumberofI/Oslotssupportedontheboard Currentprocessortechnologies Thetransitiontonewerprocessortechnologies AGPhighperformancegraphicssolutions Smallermotherboardsize Smallerpowersupplyformfactor

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LPXLowProfileeXtension WhiteATXisthemostwellknownandusedformfactor,thereisalsoa nonstandardproprietaryformfactorwhichfallsunderthenameof LPX,andMiniLPX.TheLPXformfactorisfoundinlowprofilecases NLXNewLowProfileEXtendedmotherboard BoardsbasedontheNLXformfactorhitthemarketinthelate1990's. This"updatedLPX"formfactorofferedsupportforlargermemory modules,towercases,AGPvideosupportandreducedcablelength. Supportscurrentandfutureprocessortechnologies SupportsnewAcceleratedGraphicsPort(A.G.P.)highperformance graphicssolutions Supportstallmemorytechnology Providesmoresystemleveldesignandintegrationflexibility BTXBalancedTechnologyExtended
TheBTX,orBalancedTechnologyExtendedformfactor,wasdevelopedtotake advantageoftechnologiessuchasSerialATA,USB2.0,andPCIExpress.TheBTXform factorprovidestheindustrypushtotowersizesystemswithanincreasednumberof systemslots.

System Configuration A System Configuration is defined as the computers, processes, and devicesthatcomposethesystemanditsboundary. Thesystemconfigurationisthespecificdefinitionoftheelementsthat defineand/orprescribewhatasystemiscomposedof. System configuration is the process of setting up your hardware devices and assigning resources to them so that they work together withoutproblems.

Chipset : Combining a PCs sophisticated logic circuitry onto a few chips shorten the signal path allows the circuits to operate at higher speed is known as chipset. FSB : The pathway between CPU & RAM is called Front Side Bus.

South Bridge IC

North Bridge IC

Northbridge Chip : This is the chip responsible for interfacing the CPU, main memory, local bus and main system bus. Connects CPU via FSB (400/266/200/133/100/66MHz) Various types of processors are supported. Connects the slower AGP (533/266/133/66MHz) It supports the various memory types (PC133 SDRAM or PC800 RDRAM) It supports the memory technologies (64 128 Mbit SDRAM) Parity or ECC type of memory error correction supported. Number of processors are supported (for multiprocessing)

Southbridge Chip : Since ports and buses generally operate at speeds that are far slower than the FSB, system support provided through a second chip called Southbridge chip. It handles the systems peripheral and I/O bus operations. It supports ISA bus bridged with PCI bus. Supports one or more USB, serial and a parallel port(s) Supports an infrared (IrDA) port. Supports two channel hard drive controller. (Dual ATA) Handles features. Handles including mouse. power management

keyboard controller, support for a PS/2

Hub Architecture:
Intel introduced its hub architecture starting with the 820 chipset, which divides control between a memory controller chip (MCH) and an I/O controller chip (ICH).

Hub Architecture: North Bridge chip is called a Memory Controller Hub (MCH) and South Bridge is called an I/O Controller Hub (ICH). Now MCH is replaced with Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) & connects through dedicated hub interface that is twice as fast as PCI. Advantages over North/South Bridge Architecture Its faster The Accelerated Hub Architecture (AHA) interface used by the 8xx series has twice the throughput of PCI. Also 9xx series use DMI (Direct Media Interface), which is 7.5x to 15x faster than PCI Reduced PCI loading The hub interface is independent of PCI. This improves performance of all PCI bus connected devices. Reduced board wiring The AHA interface is only 8 bits wide & requires only 15 signals to be routed on the motherboard, while MDI is only 4 bits wide requiring only 8 pairs of signals.

Bios Basics, main functions


800/533 MHz system bus Supports HyperThreading Technology LGA775 socket

Front Side Bus (FSB) support for high-performance Intel processors and greater system performance. Increased system responsiveness for multi-tasking.

LGA775 socket supports the highest performance Intel desktop processors. Stunning media, incredible visuals and new 3D capabilities. For business users, Intel validates the chipset, processor, graphics and software stack to provide a well-tested platform with support for Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Linux and OS/2 PCI Express x16 graphics delivers up to 4 GB/s per direction, 3.5 times more bandwidth than AGP 8X. PCI Express x1 I/O offers 500 MB/s concurrently, over 3.5 times more bandwidth than PCI at 133 MB/s.

Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900

PCI Express bus architecture

Dual-channel DDR2 or DDR

Flexible memory support, for dual-channel DDR2 533/DDR2 400 or DDR400/DDR333 memory, in configurations of up to 4 GB RAM. For I/O intensive applications, new serial point-to-point bus delivers up to 2.0 GB/s concurrent bandwidth between the memory and I/O controllers, compared to 266 MB/s with previous generation Intel hub architecture. Intel Pentium 4 Processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology

Direct Media Interface (DMI)


IntelPentium4Processor 775LandGridArray(LGA)
Chipsets Intel 915GV Express, 910GL Express and 915P Express chipsets


Features and benefits

Supports Intel Core2 Processor, with 1066/800/533 MHz System Bus Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Supports Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Intel Pentium D processor, Intel Pentium 4 Processor with HT Technology and all other Intel Pentium processors and Intel Celeron processors in the LGA775 socket, with scalability for future processor innovations. Delivers greater than 3.5 times the bandwidth over the traditional AGP 8X interface and supports the latest highperformance graphics cards. Offers up to 3.5 times the bandwidth over traditional PCI architecture, delivering faster access to peripheral devices and networking. Boosts graphics performance to deliver richer visual color and picture clarity without the need for additional discrete graphics cards. Up to 10.7 GB/s of bandwidth and 4GB memory addressability for faster system responsiveness and support for 64-bit computing. Gives users a more flexible memory upgrade option by allowing different memory sizes to be installed while maintaining dual-channel mode/performance.

PCI Express x16 Interface

PCI Express x1 Interface

Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950

Dual-channel DDR2 Memory Support

Intel Flex Memory Technology


A bus is a common pathway that carries signals between the componentswithinacomputer. ThePChasahierarchyofdifferentbuses. Eachslowerbusisconnectedtothefasteroneaboveit.
Processor Bus
The processor bus is to get information to and from the CPU at the fastest possible speed, this bus typically operates at a rate faster than any other bus in the system

The front side bus width is determined by bit-size. Frequency is indicated by the FSBs megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz. The processor bus in a modern system runs at 66MHz, 100MHz, 133MHz, 200MHz, 266MHz, 400MHz, 533MHz, 800MHz, or 1066MHz and is normally 64 bits (8 bytes) wide. The processor bus operates at the same base clock rate as the CPU does externally

ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) Bus

8-bit ISA 16-bit ISA

ISA Bus features

8-bit ISA
Bus width Compatible with 8 - bit 8 bit ISA 62 +5 V, -5 V, +12 V, -12 V 4.7727266 MHz Bus width Compatible with

16-bit ISA
16 - bit 16 bit ISA 98 +5 V, -5 V, +12 V, -12 V 8.333333 MHz

Power Clock

Power Clock

ISA -16 bit (Industry Standard Architecture) Card

PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) bus

PCI Bus features PCI is a 33 MHz fixed frequency bus architecture capable of transferring data at a 132 MB/s High performance synchronous bus Specification includes both 32-bit and 64-bit bus width Maximum Data Transfer Rate (burst mode) 133 MB/s for 32-bit bus clocked at 33 MHz 532 MB/s for 64-bit bus clocked at 66 MHz Another feature is PCI burst. - The address is sent, followed by a data block. - Addresses are automatically incremented by bridge and adapter.

PCI Express

PCI-Express features It is a serial bus that works in duplex mode Data is transmitted in this bus through two pairs of wires called lane Each lane is allows a maximum transfer rate of 250MB/s in each direction, almost twice the rate of the PCI bus The PCI Express system having 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 lanes. The transfer rate of PCI Express with lane 8 (x8) is 8GB/s (250x8). It is fast enough to replace AGP and PCI.

Comparision between PCI & PCI Express

PCI PCIisParallel,andassuchalldatagoesin onedirection.
The32bitPCIbushasamaximumspeed of33MHz,whichallowsamaximumof 133MBofdatatopassthroughthebus persecond. Thisbusisgeneratedbyeitherthechipset NorthBridgeinNorth/SouthBridge chipsetsortheI/OControllerHubin chipsetsusinghubarchitecture. Highspeedperipherals,suchasSCSI adapters,networkcards,videocards,and more,canbepluggedintoPCIbusslots. PCIslotsarestandardized

PCIEXPRESS PCIExpressisaserialbasedtechnology, datacanbesentoverthebusintwo directionsatonce DifferentPCIExpressspecificationsallow differentratesofdatatransfer,anywhere from400MBto6400MBofdataper secondandbeyond. PCIExpressisadifferentialsignalingbus thatcanbegeneratedbyeithertheNorth BridgeorSouthBridge. ThemostcommonuseforPCIEXPRESSis withgraphicscardswhichbenefitsthe hugebandwidthprovidedbytheinterface. PCIEXPRESSslotsaredependsonthe numberoflanestheslotisintendedfor.


AGP Bus Features It is a high-speed point-to-point channel for attaching a video card to a motherboard, primarily to assist in the acceleration of 3D computer graphics. The AGP channel is 32 bits wide and runs at 66 MHz.
Texturing: Also called Direct Memory Execute mode, allows textures to be stored in main memory rather than video memory. Throughput: Various levels of throughput are offered: 1X is 266 MBps, 2X is 533 MBps; and 4X provides 1.07 GBps. Sideband Addressing: Speeds up data transfers by sending command instructions in a separate, parallel channel Pipelining: Enables the graphics card to send several instructions together instead of sending one at a time

PCMCIA Card Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. PCMCIA Bus Features Memory Address space The PC card supports a 64 MB addressing capability PCMCIA 2.1 provides for a 16-bit bus interface, has a maximum clock speed of 10 MHz and is capable of speeds to 20 Mbps The two most important features of PCMCIA are its Plug and Play and Hot Swapping capabilities The two most important features of PCMCIA are its Plug and Play and Hot Swapping capabilities
There are three types of PCMCIA cards, all of which are rectangular and measure 8.56 by 5.4 cm., but have different widths: Type I: up to 3.3 mm. thick, mainly used to add additional ROM or RAM. Type II: up to 5.5 mm. thick, typically used for fax/modem cards. Type III: up to 10.5 mm. thick, often used to attach portable disk drives.

Conventional Memory, Extended Memory, Expanded Memory, Cache memory types L1, L2, L3

Cache Memory is used in-between the CPU and the RAM and holds the most frequently used data or instructions to be processed
There are three different grades of Cache. Some systems will only have level 1 and level 2. More advanced systems will include the level 3. Level 1 (L1) - Is the primary and is on or very close to the processor. This is used for the most frequently used data and instructions. It range in size from 8 KB to 64 KB. Level 2 (L2) - Is second closest to the CPU and is more common to be on the motherboard. Depending on your motherboard it might be able to be updated. This is used for the most frequently used data and instructions. It ranges from 64KB to 2 MB. Level 3 (L3) - This is the most advanced cache and will speed up the memory even further. This is used for the most frequently used data and instructions.

Overview and features of SDRAM

SingleDataRateSDRAMcanacceptonecommandandtransferonewordofdata perclockcycle. Typicalclockfrequenciesare100and133MHz Chipsaremadewithavarietyofdatabussizes(mostcommonly4,8or16bits), butchipsaregenerallyassembledinto168pinDIMMsthatreadorwrite64(non ECC)or72(ECC)bitsatatime. Memoryaccessspeedis10nsandcantransferdataupto100MB/s Canrangefrom4MBto1GBincapacity

Overview and features of DDR SDRAM

DDR1isa184pinmodule DDRRAMisamemoryintegratedcircuitwhichtransfersdoublethedatathanits previouscounterpartSDRAM DDRSDRAMtransferdataonboththerisingandfallingedgesoftheclock DDRSDRAMoperatesatavoltageof2.5,comparedto3.3VforSDRAM. DDRSDRAMoperatesat333MHz DesktopComputersDIMM'shave184pinsandLaptopcomputerDIMMhas200 pins DesktopComputersDIMM'shave184pinsandLaptopcomputerDIMMhas200 pins

Overview and features of DDR2 SDRAM

DDR2isa240pinmodule DDR2 SDRAM offers greater bandwidth. Typical DDR2 SDRAM clock speeds are 200, 266, 333 or 400 MHz (5, 3.75, 3 and 2.5 ns/cycle), generally described as DDR2400, DDR2533, DDR2667 and DDR2800 (2.5, 1.875, 1.5 and 1.25 ns per beat). DDRSDRAMsendsdataonbothrisingandfallingedgesoftheprocessorsclock cycle DDR2SDRAMoperatesat1.8V

Overview and features of DDR3 SDRAM

DDR3isalso240pinmodule DDR3modulescantransferdatarateatarateof8002133MT/s(MegaTransfer persecond)usingbothrisingandfallingedgesof4001066MHzI/Oclock. DDR3 SDRAM transfers the data at twice the data rate of DDR2, thus enabling higherbusrateandhigherpeakrates DDR3SDRAMoperatesat1.5V

Comparison between DDR1, DDR2, DDR3 SDRAM Item

CLOCKfrequency (MHz) Transferrate(MHz) Numberofbanks Powersupply (VDD/VDDQ




100/133/166/200 200/266/333/40 400/533/667/80 MHz 0MHz 0MHz 200400 4 2.50.2V 4001066 4or8 1.80.1V 8001600 8 1.50.075V

SuperscalarExecution: ThePentiumprocessorcansometimes executetwoinstructionssimultaneously. Pipeline Architecture : The Pentium processor executes


Branch Target Buffer : The Pentium processor fetches the


Dual 8KB OnChip Caches : The Pentium processor has two

separate 8kilobyte (KB) caches on chipone for instructions and one for datawhich allows the Pentium processor to fetch data andinstructionsfromthecachesimultaneously.

WriteBackCache: Whendataismodified;onlythedatainthe

64BitBus:ItcanhandleuptotwicethedataoftheIntel486 FloatingPointOptimization: ThePentiumprocessorexecutes


Availableinspeedsfrom233MHzupto450MHz. IncludesMMXmediaenhancementtechnology. Dual Independent Bus (DIB) architecture increases bandwidthandperformanceoversinglebusprocessors. 32K (16K/16K) nonblocking, levelone cache provides fastaccesstoheavilyuseddata. 512Kunified,nonblocking,leveltwocache. 450, 400, and 350 MHz versions support memory cacheabilityforupto4GBofaddressablememoryspace. Includes data integrity and reliability features such as ErrorCorrectionCode(ECC),FaultAnalysis,Recovery,and FunctionalRedundancyCheckingforbothsystemandL2 cachebuses.

1.26 GHz 370pin FCPGA2 package with 512 KB Advanced Transfer Cache supports 133 MHz processor sidebus. GreaterperformancewithHyperThreadingTechnology. Supportshighendcommunications,transactionterminal, andindustrialautomationapplications. Optimizes the use of data bandwidth from the memory subsystemtoaccelerateoutoforderexecution. ScalabilityandperformancewithIntelEM64.

Versatilityandreliabilitytomeetallcomputingneeds. GreaterperformancewithHyperThreadingTechnology. ImprovedpowermanagementwithenhancedIntelspeed technology,increasingpowerefficiency Scalability and performance with Intel EM64, impoves performance by allowing the system to address more than4GBofbothvirtualandphysicalmemory

With an Intel Pentium D processorbased PC featuring two full processing cores, you get the flexibility and performancetohandlemultimediaentertainment,digital photoediting,evenmultipleusers,simultaneously. Builtforadvancedapplications Getthemostoutofyourdemanding,multithreaded applications.dualcoreprocessingtechnologyprovides theperformancetotakeadvantageofsophisticated gamingsoftwarewhichcanresultinrealisticgame environmentsandchallenginggameplay. 800MHz front side bus delivers excellent system bandwidth for efficient and improved system performance.

SingleCoreProcessingNewmicroarchitecturewith800 MHzFSBenhancesyourcomputingexperience. WideDynamicExecutionImprovesexecutionspeedand efficiency,deliveringmoreinstructionsperclockcycle. Smart Memory Access Optimizes the use of the data bandwidth from the memory subsystem to accelerate outoforderexecution. Advanced Digital Media Boost Significantly improves themediaperformanceonabroadrangeofapplications including video, audio, image and photo processing, multimedia, encryption, financial, engineering, and scientificapplications. Intel 64 architecture Allows the desktop processor platformtoaccesslargeramountsofmemory.

LargeLevel1CacheTheK6usesafull64KBoflevel1 cache Extra Decoders The K6 has four x86 instructions decoders,comparedwithonlythreeforthePentiumPro andPentiumII Large Branch Prediction Table The K6's branch history tablecontains8,192entries,whilemostotherprocessors topoutat1/8ththissize. Six Integer Execution Units The K6 has more internal execution units than any other x86 processor right now, allowingformoreparallelismandefficiency.

TheXPisfullymicroarchitecture. Itpreventstheprocessorfromwaitingwhenfuturedata isrequested. TheXPisabletoperformmorecalculationspersecond. Itsupports64bitbidirectionaldata. 512 K L2 cache increases the performance of applications.

Athlon 64 support the NX bit, a security feature named enhancedvirusprotection. CPUspeedthrottlingtechnologybrandedcoolnquiet. It has an Integrated Heat Spreader (HIS) which prevents the CPU core from accidently being damaged when mountingandunmountingcoolingsolutions. Hyper transport technology for high speed I/O communication. One 16bit link upto 2000MHz bi directionalupto8GB/shyperTransportI/Obandwidth. The AMD 64b core provides leading edge performance forboth32bitand64bitapplication.

Comparison between Pentium, Celeron and AMD processors

Processor Speed (MHz)
Pentium-1 60-233

FrontSide Bus
60 MHz FSB 100 MHz FSB

128 kb 512 KB backside cache running at 1/2 CPU frequency 256 KB on-die cache running at CPU frequency 512 kb -2048 kb

Multiproces sing

Hyper threading

Supported Not Supported

Pentium-2 233-450 Pentium



Pentium-3 133 MHz 450-500 FSB Pentium-4 133 MHz 450-500 FSB






Speed (MHz)
100 MHz To 2 GHz Athlon 600 - 1400

FrontSide Bus
66 MHz FSB 766 MHz, 100 MHz FSB 800 MHz, 400 MHz FSB 1.7 GHz 200, and some 266 MHz FSB


Multiproces sing

Hyper threading


512 kb -2048 kb



256 kb




Athlon XP 266 to 333 1500 MHz FSB

512 kb



Itcontainsseveralimportantcorecomponents,includingthechipset,whichcontrols manyofthemostessentialfunctionsofthePC.Itdirectlyinterfaceswithotherkey components of the PC, and is responsible in large part for the stability, feature support,expandabilityandupgradeabilityofanysystem. FormFactorTheinitialdecisionistheformfactorofthemotherboard,whichmust bematedtothatofthepowersupplyandcase. ChipsetThechipsetisthecorelogicofthemotherboardandisresponsibleformost ofitscharacteristics CPUSupportThechipsetmustsupporttheparticularCPUyouwanttouse Video Support The video card either goes into a slot on the motherboard, or its functionalityisintegratedontoit. MemorySupportMotherboardsvaryintermsofthenumberofmemoryslotsthey provide,andalsowhatsizesandtypesofmodulesaresupported. I/OInterfacesAlmostallmodernmotherboardscomewithsupportforatleastthe following: two serial ports, one parallel port, one keyboard port, and one PS/2 mouseport.MostalsonowcomewithtwoUSBportsetc. BIOSUpgradeSupportBIOSupgradesarekeytofuturesupportfornew technologies,aswellascorrectingknownproblemswiththeboard.