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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.