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Module 5 Motherboard
Lessons Motherboard Standard Expansion Buses Choosing, Installing and Troubleshooting a Motherboard
The motherboard is considered to be the “heart” of any personal computer. It is a Printed Circuit Board that performs all functions necessary for the smooth functioning of the computer. As an entry-level IT professional, you would necessarily have to learn each and every aspect of the motherboard. You would be required to identify and understand the importance of the physical form factors, components, CMOS settings, Power on Self Test (POST), system resources, system chipsets and controllers of the motherboard. A strong understanding of these components and their working will also help you troubleshoot them as and when the situation arises. Apart from the components of the motherboard, you will also learn another important concept named Standard Expansion Buses. These are basically the I/O slots that are otherwise known as expansion slots. These slots are used by peripheral devices to communicate with the processor. The standard expansion buses or slots hold expansion cards like the sound card, VGP, AGP and network card. At the workplace, you would be given the task of identifying the different slots that will hold different cards, identify the working and linking of each slot, and ensure that they are in proper working condition. Another important aspect of solving issues related to the motherboard is identifying the right type of motherboard so as to suit your customer’s requirements. Also, as a PC, bench or support technician you must troubleshoot the right motherboard component in order to avoid irrepairable losses.
PC Hardware Technologies I 39
DO YOU KNOW
1. Which of the following is not a common name for the primary printed circuit board in a PC? A. Mainboard B. Motherboard C. Planar board D. Systemboard Answer: C 2. Which of the following are common motherboard form factors? (Choose three.) A. Mother AT B. AT C. ATX D. Baby AT Answer: B, C, D 3. Which of the following motherboard form factors is nearly square? A. Mother AT B. AT C. ATX D. Baby AT Answer: B 4. Which computer component contains the circuitry necessary for all components or devices to communicate with each other? A. Motherboard B. Adapter board C. Hard drive D. Expansion bus Answer: A 5. Which statement best describes the purpose of the motherboard? A. Supplies DC power to the peripheral devices B. Interconnects the primary components of the PC C. Executes all instructions of the PC D. Stores and processes the data of the PC Answer: B
PC Hardware Technologies I 40
Lesson 5.1 Motherboard
5.1.1 5.1.2 5.1.3 5.1.4 5.1.5 5.1.6 Physical Form Factors Motherboard Components System Chipsets and Controllers CMOS Settings Power On Self Test (POST) System Resources
After completing this lesson, you will be able to: Describe the different physical form factors of motherboard Explain about different motherboard components Explain the process of Power on Self Test Configure the CMOS settings Explain the system resources used by the peripheral devices
Motherboard forms the most significant component of a microcomputer. It is a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) which possesses different components for various purposes. The motherboard contains components like the Central Processing Unit (CPU), Basic Input Output System (BIOS), memory, I/O ports, external I/O connectors, I/O controllers, expansion slots, and chipsets. Chipset is an integrated chip which is used to perform various functions of multiple chips. The first introduced motherboard is a PCXT (Personal Computer – Extended Technology) motherboard.
PC Hardware Technologies I 41
AT form factor was available in old computer which employed 80386 as its microprocessor. The PC-XT motherboard had socket for placing the processor and other support chips like clock generator. Then due to technological advancements..Module 5 Motherboard 5. This eliminated the problems that were associated with overlapping on the drive bays. IBM computers used motherboards of bigger size. The main disadvantage of this form factor was the size of the board.5" (inches). In the Baby AT form factor. The width of the motherboard was 12’’ wide. It also deals with the types and shapes of cases that are used. This caused disturbances to the drive bays. the size of the motherboard was reduced to a greater extent. To overcome the problem created by AT Form factor. the Baby AT form factor was introduced. interrupt controller etc were present and separate chips.1 Physical Form Factors Form factor of the motherboard refers to the physical layout of the motherboard. The various form factors available are: PC-XT AT and Baby AT ATX and Micro ATX LPX and Mini LPX NLX Personal Computer – Extended Technology (PC-XT) PC-XT is the first kind of motherboard introduced by IBM. the width of the motherboard was reduced from 12" (inches) to 8. The peripheral devices were plugged into the PC-Slot (Expansion slot). PC Hardware Technologies I 42 . Motherboards can be used using two different form factors but with the same functionalities. The XT motherboard is illustrated in the following figure: AT and Baby AT Before 1997. AT means Advanced Technology.1. and the different power supplies associated with it.
the expansion slots were placed on separate riser cards that are placed in the motherboard. Advancements and enhancements in the design of the ATX form factor has introduced new features like A single 20-pin connector for the power supply A power supply for blowing the air into the case. In ATX motherboards. ATX form factor was introduced in mid 1990’s. heat sink and fan. caused disturbances to the expansion slots. an extra chassis fan or active heat sync was required. video and mouse. Limited overlapping between the motherboard and the drive bays Integrated I/O port connectors soldered directly to the motherboard Thus. This reduces the overall size of the motherboard. ATX form factor introduced many new features which made upgrading an easy job. Hence ATX form factor was introduced to overcome this limitation. But AT power supplies provided only 12V and 5V outputs to the motherboard. There were advancements in the computer memory sizes. CPU and the additional regulators demand 3. The motherboards with baby AT form factor could not accommodate the combination of processor. ATX and Micro ATX form factor Due to advancements in technology. This would increase the air flow in the case. Along with the size of the motherboard. mouse. Cooling in a system is greatly determined by the AT power supply which is used to blow out the air from the chassis.3V. a more integrated form factor was designed and specific locations for keyboard. These peripheral devices could be connected to a circuit board that were inserted on the expansion slot in a motherboard.Module 5 Motherboard Motherboard s with Baby AT form factor were designed to accommodate the peripheral devices like keyboard. the case and the power supply is also altered. I/O and video connectors were defined. The Baby AT form factor motherboards had memory sockets at the front of the motherboard. PC Hardware Technologies I 43 . The Baby AT form factor also had some disadvantages. Occasions where other heat sink on the voltage regulators and other heat dissipation components were used. In order to maintain a better air flow across the CPU.
This provides a space saving product and the cost is also reduced. The system can be turned on or off from a signal in the motherboard. The troubleshooting of the components in this category of motherboard is difficult because of its non standardization feature. this arrangement reduces the space and the number of expansion slots. Unlike the AT motherboards. PC Hardware Technologies I 44 .The system can be turned off directly by pressing certain keys in the keyboard like the space bar or by using certain commands. This provides a passive heat sink and the system noise is reduced drastically Micro ATX form factor was advancement to the ATX form factor and offered some benefits which enhanced the overall system design costs by reducing the physical size of the motherboard. Some of the the features of ATX form factors are given below Integrated I/O Connectors Reduced Overlap Between Board and Drives User-Friendly Power Connector – 20 Pin Power connector Better Cooling Conditions 3. This provides new features in power management. when the shut down command is given. In Micro ATX form factor. These categories are used in low profile computer cases like the desktop model. The air circulation is increased drastically with the help of a side vent in the ATX power supply unit. the computer performs the shut operations and the system is switched off automatically. This type of motherboard is not suitable for upgrading and offers poor cooling. The expansion boards run parallel to the motherboard and have the raiser card arrangement. But it has its own disadvantages.3 V output voltage is also provided. This enables us to use short cable and reduce the electromagnetic interference. The air is blown from the side vent directly across the processor and the memory modules. ATX motherboards provide software controlled shut down and power up.3 Volt Power for processors is directly obtained from the power supply unit Automated Controls. Hence. There are some other non standard form factors which are termed as LPX and mini LPX. The processor and the memory can be accessed easily and the positions of the peripheral connectors have been changed. in ATX motherboards a 3. The size of the motherboard was reduced by limiting the number of I/O slots which is available in the motherboard. more space for I/O connectors was provided at the rear end. The LPX motherboards generally have sound and video to be integrated on to the motherboard. LPX and Mini-LPX ATX form factor is the most famous and commonly used one.Module 5 Motherboard ATX Motherboards have introduced some changes in the power supply unit. For example. Like the notebook computers.
memory slots.Module 5 Motherboard NLX NLX form factor was introduced by Intel in 1997. Super I/O chip D. SIMM/DIMM sockets F. power cables and peripheral connectors are placed on an edge mounted raiser card as shown in the figure. The NLX format of motherboards is small in size with 8. Bus slots The motherboard can be identified by using the standards given below The socket used to hold the microprocessor defines the type of microprocessor that can be connected to the motherboard. I/O ports. The NLX form factor is has some advantages like providing support for new and fast changing processor technology Test Yourself 1. BIOS E. chipset. The major components of the motherboard are A. List the different form factors 5.2 Motherboard Components The motherboard is an integrated circuit board with many different components like the Processors.8 inch width and 13 inch length. co processor etc.1. Chipset C. This provides easy removal of the mother board that is placed on rails in the chassis. A Full width I/O field is employed to permit different combinations of rear panel I/O. Processor socket or slot B. Chipset is a component present in the motherboard which connects the CPU to the other components present in a computer The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) ROM chip which stores the system configuration and performs the Power On Self Test (POST) (diagnostic program) to check the functioning of different components in a computer PC Hardware Technologies I 45 . Hence this format of motherboards is suited for low profile desktop cases The expansion slots. The motherboards with this form factors is advancement to the LPX design which is designed for low profile systems.
In motherboards with PCI slots a new technology called North bridge and South bridge was introduced. The functionalities of different chips were integrated and made one or two large chips called chipset. It makes use of the Front Side Bus (FSB) to interact with the different components. The south bridge controls and manages the slower I/O components like the serial ports. North Bridge is a controller chip which is used to communicate between the processor. memory the Level 2 Cache memory. USB ports and the IDE. The south bridge is connected to the PCI bus of the North bridge PC Hardware Technologies I 46 . the functionalities of different chips were integrated to a single chip called the chipset. The North bridge is used to provide fast communication between the various components and the processor. the PCI bus and Accelerated Graphic Port (AGP). If North bridge and South bridge are integrated to a single chip then there would be a single chip called the chipset. With the advancement in technology.Module 5 Motherboard Chipset and Functions In the earlier days the motherboards had separate chips on the motherboard to perform different functions.
Chipset is an integrated IC available on the motherboard and cannot be upgraded like the flash BIOS ROM. The hub controllers are Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) – equivalent to North Bridge and the difference is that GMCH does not manage the PCI bus I/O Controller Hub (ICH) – Twice as fast as the south bridge The significant feature about the hub architecture is that it can identify the different data types that is transmitted over the bus to enhance its performance so as to support data being transmitted.1. it is very much essential to select the best chipset. the chipset is one of the few components that have a major effect on the quality. the chipset controls the major functioning of the components present in the motherboard. system buses. The hub controllers manage the interaction between the processor and the other components present in the system. The chipset in a computer system would determine the following: The voltage provided to the processor Number of processors that can be supported The speed of the processor The different memory modules that are supported Bus speed The different expansion bus that are supported Power Management Thus. peripherals and almost everything within the computer. Hence. They control data transfers between the processor.Module 5 Motherboard There is also another type of technology called the Intel Hub Architecture (IHA) which uses two chips called hub controllers. 5.you must change the entire motherboard.3 System Chipset and Controllers The system chipset and controllers are the logic circuits that are the intelligence of the motherboard. feature set and PC Hardware Technologies I 47 . As data flow is such a crucial issue in the functioning and performance of several parts of the computer. To change the chipset .
the less is the chance of a problem. The simpler the design of the chip. integration. The two main benefits of integration are cost reduction and better compatibility. The following controllers are found on most of the motherboards: The system chip The keyboard controller that controls the keyboard and the integrated PS/2 mouse as well The super I/O chip that manages input and output from the serial ports. access. PC Hardware Technologies I 48 . They operate with the operating system software for sharing the load among the CPUs for maximum efficiency. floppy disks and in some instances. The design of the control circuitry has to be distinctive for each of processor classes because of the various methods they use cache. the IDE hard disks Additional built-in controllers such as video. o Support for Multiple Processor Some chipsets support the capability for building motherboards with two or four processors on them.Module 5 Motherboard speed of the personal computer.1. Some of the factors that help in choosing the kind of processor are discussed below. o Support for Processor Class and Optimization Generally most chipsets support one generation of processors and in particular 486 type systems. Fast processors need chipset control circuitry that has the capacity to manage them. the memory bus speed and the processor multiplier.3. Pentium class system. memory etc.. o Support for Processor Speed The measurement of the speed of the processor is made by considering two parameters.1 Qualities and Functions of Chipset The features and functions of chipset are as listed below: Chipset processor support Chipset cache support Chipset memory support Chipset peripheral and I/O bus control Chipset power management support Chipset Processor Support Choosing the type of processor is one of the main things to decide while making a new personal computer. network and SCSI controllers generally found in expansion cards 5. The chipset circuitry manages the activities of the processors in order that they do not meddle with each other. sound. parallel port.
For recent systems. this can be anyway between 64 MB and 4 GB. o Cache ability of System Memory The features of chipset handle the maximum amount of memory the system can cache. o Size of Secondary Cache The chipset decides the amount of level 2 or secondary cache that will be supported. o Write Policy of Secondary Cache A write-through cache implies that memory writes are passed on to memory immediately when the processor passes out the information A write back cache implies that the processor writes the information only to the cache that at a later stage writes the information to memory at the apt time. Chipset Memory Support There are various styles and sizes of system memory (RAM) available for use. o Type of Secondary Cache There are three major kinds of cache that are at present in use They are: Asynchronous Synchronous burst Pipeline burst Each of the kinds of cache needs different control circuitry and thus gets explicit support from the chipset. Write back in most cases is advanced than write-through. It is not dependent on the amount of the memory that the system currently holds. Recent chipsets support cache of 256KB or 512 KB. The chipset features associated with the system or secondary cache are discussed here in. The amount of cacheable memory is dependent on the chipset control circuitry and the amount of tag RAM on the board. PC Hardware Technologies I 49 . o Support for Maximum Memory The chipset determines the maximum quantity of RAM a system can have on the motherboard. However this has no relevance for Pentium Pro machines that have secondary cache in the same package as the processor. One thing to be considered about is that this amount can be higher than the maximum amount of memory that can be cached.Module 5 Motherboard Chipset Cache Support The cache stores recent memory accesses by the processor that enhances performance considerably as it works much quicker than the system memory. The chipset determines several permissible features of the memory used on the motherboard. Many chipsets can store more memory than they can support with the secondary cache.
or SDRAM memory. On recent personal computers. o Support for DRAM Packaging and Size Two main types of memory packages are available for desktop computers. The 30-pin SIMM generates 8 bits of data at a time. The abilities of chipset find out what types of buses the system can support.Module 5 Motherboard o DRAM Technology The chipset regulates whether your motherboard can make use of FPM. 72-pin SIMM 32 bits and DIMM 64 bits. SIMM is available in 30-pin size and 72-pin sizes. which is a high-speed local bus for hard disks. and vice-versa. both parity and ECC functions are given by the use of parity memory. o Support for Parity and Error Correction Error correction logic is offered as part of the memory control circuits of the chipset. which support all three buses on the same motherboard. what speed they can run at. and DIMM in 168-pin size. Most recent personal computers support the ISA and PCI buses. Additionally. o Bus Types The chipset determines what type of buses the system can support. In an analogous manner. The chipset manages these buses. and transfers information to and from them and the processor and memory. However the chipset design has an effect on this. o Bus Bridges A bridge is networking term that refers to a piece of hardware. and what extra features they may have. the chipset must use employ bus bridges for connecting together the different system PC Hardware Technologies I 50 . A chipset with no parity support has no capability to find out or correct memory read errors. some chipsets support ECC only. which connects two different networks and transfers information from the computers on one network to those on the other. These packages vary in physical size and in the width of the memory they can output. There are even some 486-class personal computers. Generally 486 class machines need 32-bit wide memory and Pentium and Pentium Pro machines need 64bit wide memory. BEDO. single in-line memory module (SIMM) and dual in-line memory module (DIMM). Altering the memory type influences its read and write process handled by the chipset. video cards and other high-speed devices The latest personal computers also make use of the new AGP port for video. However older chipsets on 486 class machines. Intel terms its chipsets as PCISets and AGPsets. A chipset can be optimized to offer quicker access to a specific kind of memory. Chipset Peripheral and I/O Bus Control Most recent computers use two buses: Industry standard architecture (ISA) bus for slower peripherals and for compatibility with older components Peripheral component interconnect (PCI) bus. EDO. while being less efficient at utilizing a different type. some chipsets are better than others with particular types of memory. support the VESA Local Bus rather than PCI.
This task is carried out by a pair of Intel 8259 interrupt controllers. PC Hardware Technologies I 51 . o AGP Support Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) is a new bus particularly designed by Intel for connecting processors to highspeed graphics cards. To sh we problem related to working of peripneral devices. These initiatives came as a consequence of efforts in two areas. o Interrupt Controller The Interrupt Controller offers the way by which input-output devices request attention from the processor for dealing with data transfers. Those concerned about the power consumption of personal computers that are left running for as much as 90% of the time even though idle Laptop personal computer owners attempting to get more life from a battery charge. The most general type of bus bridges is the PCI-ISA Bridge that is used for connecting together devices on two different buses. for enabling supported devices to have their system resource usage set automatically. Support for USB is executed as part of the chipset. Integrating this support makes sense for a number of causes. o USB Support Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a new technology meant for replacing the present dedicated ports used for keyboards and mice. among them the fact that these drives are on the PCI bus and hence this saves on expansion slot. plug and play needs support from the chipset. It is not really a bus as it only supports two devices. o DMA Controller and DMA Mode Support Direct Memory Access (DMA) gives a method for devices for transferring information directly to and from memory with no interference of the processor. o IDE/ATA Hard Disk Controller Currently all motherboards have integrated into them9 support system for four IDE hard disks. o Plug and Play Plug and Play is a specification that uses technology advancements in hardware. It is yet not clear as to whether this standard will become well-known.Module 5 Motherboard bus types it controls. BIOSes and operating systems. two on each of two channels. mainly ones executing 3D operations. Chipset Power Management Support Modern chipsets support a group of features that perform together for decreasing the amount of power utilized by the personal computer during idle time.
Integrating the functions of different chips into a single one reduces the cost and simplifies the design of the motherboard. Super I/O Controller Chip Super I/O Controller chip is a small single chip similar to a chipset. present on the motherboard. o Energy Star Energy star is a program started by Environmental Protection Agency for certifying personal computers that are regarded as energy efficient and that incorporate power management or power use reduction features. There are several distinctive protocols that work together for making power management work. that permits them to decrease power consumption. o System Management Mode System Management Mode (SMM) is a power-reduction standard for processors. The Super I/O chip handles the operations of slow speed peripherals present in a computer. The savings here certainly is quite negligible as recent hard disks consume little power. Most personal computers today are Energy star compliant. Generally the settings are progressive in order that you have the choice for shutting down more parts of the personal computer as there is an increase in idle time. o Hard Disk Spindown IDE and SCSI hard disk take in a command to spin down when directed. o Advanced Power Management Advanced Power Management (APM) is the name provided to the component in some operating systems that operates with the BIOS for controlling the power management features of the personal computer. For instance. APM permits you for setting parameters in the operating system for controlling when several power management features will be activated.Module 5 Motherboard Power management works through a number of BIOS settings that determine when to shut down different parts of the computer when it becomes inactive. o Display Power-Management Signaling This standard indicates a set of signals that can be sent by compliant video cards to compliant monitors for directing them to go into power-conserving modes. and show its unique logo on the screen when the BIOS boots up. It also integrates features such as suspend and resume. (UART-comm channel that gives input to computers) Parallel Port Control – manages and controls the parallel port Floppy Disk Drive Control – supports the Floppy Disk Drive and floppy based tape drives PC Hardware Technologies I 52 . Super I/O controller handles three ports namely Serial Port Control – controls the serial ports. It is used to combine the functions of several separate chips.
SRAM provides the fast access and is made of flip flops. The CPU present in a single chip is called the Microprocessor. To make quick access. The Memory that is placed in the memory socket is DRAM. DRAM provides slow access. but is expensive when compared to DRAM. the CPU then looks into the cache memory to see if it is available.Module 5 Motherboard Processor The processor. So. The data when accessed for the first time is accessed from RAM. then again the CPU will have to access the main memory. PC Hardware Technologies I 53 . Then a copy of it is stored in cache memory. There are two types of cache memory. If the data need by the user is not available in the cache memory. The cache memory inbuilt inside the processor is called L1 cache. The CPU has two major components namely Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) – performs Arithmetic and Logic Operations Control Unit (CU) – provides the control signals for performing different operations. Hence it cannot be used to store large amount s of data. They are L1 or the internal cache and L2 cache or the external cache. the frequently used data is stored in cache memory. Cache Memory Cache memory is high speed storage memory made of Static RAM (SRAM). When the user tries to access the same data. If the data is available in the cache memory it is called cache hit. is also termed as Central Processing Unit (CPU) is a Printed Circuit Board used for performing Arithmetic and Logic Operations. L2 cache is an external cache and is present on the motherboard. if the data is accessed again it is retrieved from the cache memory and not from the DRAM.
The speed of the FSB can vary between 66 MHz and 800 MHz. The bus speed is measured in terms of Megahertz (MHZ). The speed of the bus refers to the amount of the data that can be transferred across the bus. The bus is used for transfer of address. or 16 I/O port addresses. The FSB connects the CPU to the North Bridge. Some of the buses are Front Side Bus (FSB) AGP bus Back Side Bus (BSB) Memory Bus IDE or ATA bus PCI bus Front side Bus The bus speed in general refers to the speed of the Front Side Bus (FSB).8. data and control signals. PC Hardware Technologies I 54 . Each device connected to the PC uses 4. The data transfer rate can be enhanced with the speed of the bus. These addresses are used to perform some functions like Sending commands to the peripheral device Receiving the status of the device whether it is idle or busy Send and receive data Configure the device for interrupts Bus Speed Bus is a electrical connection between different components in a motherboard.Module 5 Motherboard I/O Ports Each device connected to a computer uses I/O port address.
The back side bus is a part of the CPU. PC Hardware Technologies I 55 . AGP bus operates at a speed of 66 MHz Back side Bus The back side bus connects the processor to the L2 Cache. AGP Bus The AGP bus connects the video card to the memory and the CPU. The IDE/ATA bus is shown by the following figure PCI Bus The PCI bus connects the PCI slots to the south bridge. The speed of the PCI bus is 33 MHz. The speed of the back side bus is dependent on the speed of the processor Memory bus The memory bus connects the north bridge to the memory IDE or ATA bus The IDE/ATA bus connects the south bridge to the disk drives.Module 5 Motherboard The speed of the Front Side Bus greatly influences the computer’s performance since the processor interacts with the memory controller by using FSB.
then the POST will indicate them in the form of error beeps or messages. The two pins appear on the circuit board and are electrically connected if the jumper is covering those pins. The BIOS ROM also performs a diagnostic program called Power On Self Test (POST) which checks all the hardware components for any errors. They are toggle switches and can be used to configure any device for a particular application. DIP switches are advantageous than jumpers. DIP switch The dual inline package (DIP) switch is a small block provided with a lever.4 CMOS Settings CMOS BIOS ROM BIOS ROM (Basic Input/Output System Read Only memory). PC Hardware Technologies I 56 . But jumpers are more commonly used since DIP switches are comparatively expensive.Module 5 Motherboard To improve the speed of the computer it is necessary that the processor speed and the bus speed are in synchronization with each other. The performance cannot be improved when a slow processor works with a fast bus speed Jumpers Jumper is a small connector which can be placed between two pins to make electrical connections. The electrical connection can be closed or open using the jumper or a DIP switch depending on their placement. Change the position of the lever of the DIP switch is similar to using a jumper. a special ROM chip is present in the motherboard which stores the basic system configuration. What is the need for cache memory? 2. If the hardware is not proper. DIP switch rarely has loose connections and is more reliable. Test Yourself 1. The level alters the state of the electrical connection.1. What is a chipset? 5.
After the POST is successful the control is transferred to Bootstrap loader. Hence a battery is used to provide power supply to store the configured changes. Hence the system will not be able to function in accordance with the configurations manually done by the user and would operate only with the default settings PC Hardware Technologies I 57 . The information regarding the hardware configuration settings like the number of hard disks are stored in the CMOS RAM. BIOS store the system configuration settings in the CMOS RAM area. If the CMOS battery fails the hardware configuration settings. For some devices like keyboard the drivers are not installed and the BIOS provides the driver support CMOS Battery All the motherboards have a battery present in them. After the POST is successful the process of loading the Operating system (booting) begins. system password etc. This chip runs all the time regardless of the power supply. The four major components of BIOS are: POST Boot s strap Loader CMOS Setup BIOS POST – BIOS ROM runs the POST as soon as the system is switched on. Bootstrap Loader – BIOS has a program called Bootstrap loader which locates the operating system. BIOS ROM is a collection of drivers and is an interface between the hardware and the operating system. CMOS Setup. This tests the different hardware components to make sure that they are working properly. This chip maintains the system date and time. date and time settings are lost.Module 5 Motherboard These error beeps and messages help the System Administrator to troubleshoot the problem easily. It has 64 bytes of data out of which 10 bytes of data are used by the Real Time Clock chip and the remaining 54 bytes are used for other activities. This battery is used to power up the Real time Clock Chip.BIOS ROM has a configuration program which helps you to configure hardware settings and also the system settings like the computer date and time.
PC Hardware Technologies I 58 . According to the BIOS brand. The familiar keys on current systems are the escape (Esc) key. you can make few settings on original IBM PC and PC/XT. The computer will display the correct key combinations during the initial startup screen. for example. The systems that were built since early 1990s will start with a menu screen. the Delete key. the F1 key. within 9 few seconds ROM based programs will start by pressing one or more keys in combination. version. Starting the Setup Program The BIOS configuration program is stored in the BIOS chip for those computers built since late 1980s. and various combinations like Ctrl + or Alt + another specified key.Module 5 Motherboard System Configuration The BIOS should find an operating system on a hard disk or floppy disk drive to start the computer. After turning on the computer. Step-by-Step CMOS/BIOS Configuration During the bootstrap process. These settings are often called CMOS setting. The BIOS will not be able to start the system if the drive types are not correctly recognized in the BIOS. The floppy disk drives and hard disk drives are very important components that must be configured in the BIOS. as illustrated in the following figure below. press the correct key(s) to start the CMOS setup process. You have to run the BIOS setup program to change setting each time you change major components or build a system. The keystrokes will be different from one system to another. The settings made in the BIOS setup program are stored in the nonvolatile RAM of the CMOS chip. the original IBM PC. the menu and the contents of the screen will change. the setup program is run from a floppy disk drive or the hard drive. Otherwise run the setup program from hard disk or floppy disk after the computer has started. By operating a series of small rocker or slide switches called DIP switches. and motherboard type. In few modern systems.
3. select the menu point to examine or change setting. Choose Standard CMOS setup to begin.Module 5 Motherboard 1. Date Time Hard drives connected to the IDE interface Floppy disk drive types for drives A: (first floppy disk drive) and B: (second floppy disk drive) PC Hardware Technologies I 59 . The standard CMOS setup screen will display in the system. From the CMOS setup menu. 2. and time settings. which enable to configure drive. date. Standard CMOS Configuration From the standard CMOS configuration screen you can set the following items.
press keys to move through the different options which include date and time. Let the system to detect the hard drives during each system boot Use an auto detection feature located here or from the main menu Manually enter the correct settings The amount of memory onboard will also be displayed on this screen. Automatic Configuration of BIOS/CMOS Settings Most of the versions of the AMI and Award BIOS permit you to automatically configure all the screens except the standard setup screen with a choice of these options from the main menu: Turbo BIOS Defaults (also referred to as Original/ Fail-Safe on some systems) Setup Defaults (also referred to as Optimal on some systems) PC Hardware Technologies I 60 . during the boot process (‘Auto’ setting) the hard drives can be detected. On this system. The time must be selected in the 24 hour format. Follow one of the methods given below to select the correct hard drive type. for example 2:00PM should be entered as 14:00. The system cannot boot if the drives are not defined properly. These settings are user-defined.Module 5 Motherboard This is a typical standard setup screen. RAM amount must be entered manually. To make selections here. In old systems which has 386 or older processors require. Systems using 286 processors or better have similar standard CMOS configuration screens. The difference will be mainly on the types of drives and the number of drives that can be used. Change the ordinary floppy drive into default floppy drive types so that it matches with current configuration.
To return to the main menu. you have to press the ESC key. settings for cache memory. Recommended Advanced CMOS Settings Apart from the floppy disk drives and hard drives which are traditionally available. ZIP. use cursor keys to move directly to another menu screen. you can perform the Number Lock setting. You can use this screen to enable or disable anti-virus hardware features. The Setup defaults provide better performance. or LS-120 drives. Advanced CMOS Configuration You can adjust optional details about the computer by using advanced CMOS configuration screen. you can also boot your system using a CD-ROM. as shown in the figure . The BIOS default settings are very conventional in memory timings and other options so that you can use that to troubleshoot the system. keyboard repeats speed. The Advanced CMOS Configuration screen is also known as the BIOS Features screen. PC Hardware Technologies I 61 . This screen is included systems built since the early 1990s.Module 5 Motherboard The Turbo speeds up the system’s memory refresh rate. Depending on the BIOS version. and other special features. In this screen. type of video. These options are listed in the setup screen. You can use this screen to adjust boot sequence and adjust memory options such as cache and parity checking.
Virus Warning. System’s speed will be fast by Cache memory. Press the help key (F1) or press the correct key to view the setting for any CMOS configuration option. If the first boot device is set to hard disk the BIOS will first look into the hard disk for the bootable files. PC Hardware Technologies I 62 . or Antivirus Protection Enabled Permits normal system use Reason The contents of the ROM are copied into RAM. C:. CD-ROM. Option Shadowing Setting Enabled Boot Sequence C: (first hard disk).Module 5 Motherboard This system offers a variety of boot options. A: (floppy disk drive). If the bootable files are not present in the hard disk then the BIOS looks for the bootable files from the second and the third and otherwise if the bootable files are missing it generates an error message. Though it doesn’t stop viruses. A: Cache Internal Write-Protect Boot Sector. RAM provides a faster access than ROM and this speed up the processing. it will prevent users from accidentally FORMATing or FDISKing the hard disk.
Some Cyrix CPUs need the user to disable pipelining for proper operation Memory types. and so on) Configuration of USB ports. We’ll see some important and typical features of this menu: Cache adjustment. Power Management Configuration All the systems built since the middle of 1990s are designed to allow power management. and 4X) This USB (Universal Serial Bus) and AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) options are available on the Chipset Features configuration screen. non-parity. Power management works like this: After a user defined period of inactivity. The systems with older version of Windows will not support USB and those systems do not have USB ports enabled.You have to set the size of the memory aperture used to transfer data between the system and AGP port depending on the specific AGP video card installed and select the AGP mode (1X. the hard drive. devices like the monitor. speed. and timing.Here regulate the values to match the memory installed in the system (for example.parity. like the one shown in the figure offers many advanced features which vary from one system to another. 2X. or the CPU will go into different low power modes. SDRAM.You have to enable the USB ports if you want to upgrade a system to Window 98 or Window 2000.Module 5 Motherboard Advanced Chipset/Chipset Features Configuration The Advanced Chipset/ Chipset Features Configuration screen. These are: Standby mode-If the system uses the Display Power Management Signaling. You can see EPA “Energy Star” logo when you start the computer. Configuration of the AGP slot. along with usual system and memory timing options. PC Hardware Technologies I 63 . the monitor will be blank and the hard drive will be shut down. EDO.
serial port) or by the device’s IRQ. Though the computer can be reading data from devices on IRQ 15 or saving data to devices on IRQ 15. hard drive. like modems and network cards. In the modern systems. Enable the system bring back to the state when the power is restored. The system that use suspend mode allow you to select a special shutdown option that reminds what programs and files were open. It will prevent the connection from being dropped Almost all the devices installed in a system are observed for activity to prevent data loss. floppy disk drive. parallel port. you can prevent the system from going into power saving modes or to wake up when an activity takes place. Set these options by the device name (modem.To save more power it will turns off the CPU. Pre-requisites to make power management work.Module 5 Motherboard Suspend mode. the monitor with blinking power lights or power light with different color than normal PC Hardware Technologies I 64 . This system supports both ACPI Power Management (used by Window 98) and APM (used by old version of Windows). The hard drives and monitors can be powered down and powered back up without loss of information Power management is set to check network and internet devices. an activity on IRQ 15 will not wake up the system. User should understand the work of the power management Normal signs of power management are: The Keyboard which looks dead for few seconds after you start typing (since the hard drive must spin up) When the screen remains blank.
modems. In few systems you can also adjust advanced hard disk options like PIO mode and block mode. The systems with Windows 95 or newer versions of Windows will support PnP BIOS.Module 5 Motherboard PnP (Plug-and-Play) Configuration Screen Plug-and-Play (PnP) configuration permits the operating system or the system BIOS to select hardware setting for PnP-compatible cards when first installed. It can change those settings when new cards are installed. or 2000 set PnP operating system to Yes. and so on) also support PnP configuration. PC Hardware Technologies I 65 . monitors. PnP can be used with PnP-compatible ISA cards and at the same time it can be used with PCI and AGP cards. Built-In Ports/Peripherals Setup The Built-in Ports/ Peripherals Setup screen can enable or disable ports which built in new systems. Since the PCI cards can configure themselves. the early version of the PnP configuration were introduced with the first Pentium-based systems with PCI slots. All addon cards and other devices (like printers. You can reserve selected IRQs and DMAs for non PnP cards by changing PnP options for IRQs and DMA channels to Legacy. If the system is with Windows 95. 98.
this system’s COM 2 port is disabled. Some BIOS automatically save changes.Module 5 Motherboard To make an internal modem to be installed as COM 2. The BOISchip bridges the hardware to the operating system (the one that needs upgradation) When it is not able to support the following: Fast CPUs New BIOS options like PnP support and Y2K compatibility PC Hardware Technologies I 66 . BIOS Upgrades BIOS need to be upgraded in any computer. Record the critical BIOS settings like drive type information and any changes from a system’s default settings. you cannot enable the system. If users lose their passwords. first record the system information. If you loose the setting records. Before enabling these features. be sure to review the standard CMOS setup screen and make sure the settings are acceptable before you save and exit. Before doing any changes. you have to remove the battery or use the “clear CMOS” jumper on the motherboard to erase the CMOS record of the passwords and all other settings. Saving and Recording BIOS/CMOS Settings BIOS allow you to save the changes and reject the changes that happen accidentally. Nearly all the systems built since 1995 have flash BIOS chips which can be upgraded with software. Normally you have to disable a built-in port if the new port is conflict with the old. One is a power-on password that must be entered to allow any use of the system and a setup password that must be entered to allow access to the BIOS/ CMOS setup. Upgrading the BIOS means to change the physical chip (if it isn’t a flash BIOS) or to change its contents with software (if it is a flash BIOS). Security/Passwords You can setup two types of passwords on many systems.
you have to first decide where to get your BIOS upgrade. You have to re-enter the correct settings. Sometimes you have to download a separate loader program that includes both the loader and the BIOS image. your motherboard might have jumpers that write-protects the flash BIOS. and restart. Follow the initial steps for maximum safety. For prominent brand computers. some systems show the maker’s name but some systems display 9 series of numbers. you can decode and get the motherboard’s maker. Systems with this feature have a jumper on the motherboard called the “flash recovery” jumper. Re-enable the write-protection to keep unauthorized people from changing the BIOS. contact the motherboard manufacturer. from those numbers. save changes. and restart. the system can’t start even after BIOS upgrade or a battery replacement. Next. the setting might be changed by a user. it will prevent the system from being accessed. save changes. such as ZIP/LS-120 removable storage drives and large IDE hard drives BIOS upgrade is the best and it should be carried out correctly. Check the manual to see if the system has this feature. you have to install the BIOS upgrade loader and BIOS image to a floppy disk. Incorrect Flash BIOS or Failed Update The system can’t start until the update process is complete or if a wrong flash BIOS file is used to update 10 update your BIOS. Record the current BIOS configuration Back up important data Flash BIOS Upgrade Since the BIOS manufacturers do not sell BIOS upgrade. In this case you have to contact the motherboard maker for service. To update a BIOS on a system with a write protected jumper. Disable the write-protection Clearing the BIOS Password The BIOS password can be cleared by using a CMOS jumper that is present in the motherboard. In the case of generic systems. After the completion of the installation. follow these points. If it is not shown in the screen. If the update can’t be installed. During bootup. The system will list out the BIOS upgrades. Otherwise. you can search in the vendor’s Web site and look for “downloads” or “tech support” links. The CMOS jumper is near the CMOS battery and is shown in the figure below PC Hardware Technologies I 67 . From a reserved part of the chip you can reinstall the “mini-BIOS” which available in some of the BIOS. Perform the update. Generally the CMOS problem will be indicated by an onscreen error message. Incorrect CMOS Configuration If the CMOS is corrupted. You can restart by using the BIOS Setup auto-configure options. restart your system with the floppy disk containing the upgrade. double-check drive configurations.Module 5 Motherboard New operating systems like Windows 98 and 2000 New hardware.
or keyboard problem Repeating short beeps .Module 5 Motherboard Test Yourself 1.Color/graphics display 600 to 699 .Power supply. How will you configure the boot priority for different devices? 2. Helps to start the Operating System Displays error codes or beep sounds if there is any problem with any device The list of error beeps are given below Short beep .system is OK 2 short beeps .Memory 300 to 399 . CGA) 1 long. initialize the list of all system bused and devices Identify organize and select the devices for booting. What is Plug and Play? 5.5 Power On Self Test (POST) Error codes The main functions of BIOS during POST are given below Check for the integrity of the BIOS code Check for the size of the system memory and verify its integrity Discover .Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) long beeps . The priority of the bootable devices can be clearly identified. 3 short beeps .System board problem 1 long.System board 200 to 299 .Monochrome display 500 to 599 .Display adapter problem (MDA.3270 keyboard card The list of error codes are given below 100 to 199 .Keyboard 400 to 499 . system board. 1 short beep .Power supply or system board problem 1 long.Normal POST .error code shown on screen No beep .POST error .1. 2 short beeps .Floppy-disk drive or adapter PC Hardware Technologies I 68 .Power supply or system board problem Continuous beep .
Color/graphics printer 1500 to 1599 . IRQ 1 is generated.Math coprocessor 900 to 999 .Bisynchronous communication adapter 2400 to 2599 . the completion of the printing process.MIDI adapter 11200 to 11299 . Proper allocation of system resources will avoid any hardware conflicts that would disturb the working of various devices in the system. In earlier days. the user should configure the IRQ channel manually.LAN adapter 4800 to 4999 .Module 5 Motherboard 700 to 799 .1. A single beep during POST indicates ——————————- 5. Some of the system resources that can be configured include the Interrupt Request Channels (IRQ) Channels Direct Memory Access (DMA) Channels Input/Output (I/O) port address Memory Address IRQ The expansion for IRQ is Interrupt Request. whenever a printing job is completed an IRQ 7 signal (LPT 1) is generated which indicates the CPU. or port 1700 to 1799 .SCSI CD-ROM system Test Yourself 1. What is POST? 2.Internal modem 7000 to 7099 .Phoenix BIOS chips 7300 to 7399 .Hard drive and/or adapter 1800 to 1899 .3. or port 1300 to 1399 . In printers. They need to be configured and setup properly for different devices to communicate between them. Different hardware devices use IRQ signal to the processor to catch its attention.Parallel printer port 1000 to 1099 .Alternate printer adapter 1100 to 1299 .SCSI fixed disk and controller 21500 to 21599 . The Interrupt Request signals generated by different devices cannot be sent through the same channel and hence there are unique channels allotted for specific devices. For example. This is an indication to the processor that a key press event has occurred and the data is ready to be sent to the CPU. adapter.EGA system-board video (MCA) 3000 to 3199 .Game port 1400 to 1499 . for new devices introduced to the system.6 System Resources System Resources are components that are used required to communicate between the hardware components in a PC.5-inch disk drive 8900 to 8999 . whenever a key is pressed.Asynchronous communication device. adapter.Synchronous communication device. But PC Hardware Technologies I 69 .SCSI adapter 21000 to 21099 .Expansion unit (XT) 2000 to 2199 .
In AT systems (After 80286). There are 16 IRQ channels numbered IRQ0 to IRQ 15.Module 5 Motherboard with the advancement in technology a concept called Plug and Play emerged which permitted automatic configuration of system resources. the CPU suspends the current operation and a special routine transfers the control to the interrupt vector table. The first interrupt controller then sends the interrupt signal to the CPU. PC Hardware Technologies I 70 . The control is now directed to the specific Interrupt Service Routine IISR). The following snapshot shows the different IRQ channels associated with different devices. if a Hard disk drive raises an interrupt then it uses the second interrupt controller and uses IRQ 14. Interrupt vector table stores the IRQ channel and the memory address of the corresponding interrupt service routine. 16 IRQ channels were used. For example. The channe1 2 of the first interrupt controller is cascaded to the channel 9 of the second interrupt controller. The ISR of the corresponding interrupt is executed and the control is returned back to the CPU to execute the suspended program. The two interrupt controllers were cascaded to avoid any technical problems. There were 8 IRQ channels used previously in XT systems (before 80286). When an interrupt signal is generated from any of the I/O device. The interrupt signal is then sent to the first interrupt controller using the IRQ 9 which is linked to IRQ 2 of the first interrupt controller.
Module 5 Motherboard IRQ Channel number IRQ0 IRQ1 IRQ2 IRQ3 IRQ4 IRQ5 IRQ6 IRQ7 IRQ8 IRQ9 IRQ10 IRQ11 IRQ12 IRQ13 IRQ14 1RQ 15 Used by System timer Keyboard Cascade Controller COM 2 /COM 4 COM 1/ COM 3 Sound card. This increases the speed of processing. Video Available Coprocessor Primary IDE Secondary IDE Direct Memory Access (DMA) channels Direct Memory Access is a technique where the data is transferred between the peripheral device and the memory without the intervention of the CPU. Devices connected to serial and parallel port do not use DMA channels where as the sound card and the SCSI adapters use the DMA channel for PC Hardware Technologies I 71 . Parallel Port 2 LPT 2 Floppy LPT 1 Real Time Clock Redirected to IRQ 2 Available for other devices SCSI. DMA channels are used by different devices to transfer data at high speed.
535 I/O ports. Each device should use a unique channel. The drive program should be aware of the I/O address. It is not limited in number like the IRQ and the DMA channels. The I/O address range used by the COMM port is given by the table I/O Port COM 1 COM 2 COM 3 COM 4 LPT1 LPT2 I/O Address 3F8-3FF 2F8-2FF 3E8-3EF 2E8-2EF 378-37F 278. The port address ranges from 0000h to FFFFh (in hexadecimal numbers). if the network adapter and the tape adapter are using the same DMA channel. Hence these conflicts should be take care when configuring devices. There is large number of I/O port addresses. Every device when connected to a system uses the available I/O port address when transmitting or receiving data. Each device is given a range of I/O address and is available in the manual given for the device. It is pathway to communicate data between components in a computer. then it not possible to used both the devices at the same time.Module 5 Motherboard processing data. For example. Each device uses a separate driver program as an interface between the device and the CPU. An Intel processor supports 65. DMA Channels 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 I/O Port Address AVAILABILITY Available Sound device Standard floppy disk controller Available Direct memory access controller Available Available Available I/O Port is an interface present in a PC to connect devices.27F The following snapshot displays the I/O address range used by different devices PC Hardware Technologies I 72 . Each port is identified by a unique port address.
The storage area in the memory is divided into logical address which usually holds the Operating System. The processors store the data used during its operation temporarily in the memory.Module 5 Motherboard The following figure shows the different port address and the IRQs used by the peripheral device and the interaction with the CPU The IRQ are signals and are initiated by the devices. Memory Addresses Memory is a collection of chips which is placed in the motherboard. The I/O address provides the pathway for transferring the data. some applications that are currently running and a specific range of memory address is used for the devices in the system. PC Hardware Technologies I 73 .
If all the numbers are present once or more then it indicates that all IRQs are utilized by different devices If the Operating system used is Windows 2000 or Windows XP.Module 5 Motherboard Checking for Resource Availability If you are using Windows 3. then it indicates that particular IRQ is free. For the Operating systems like Windows 95. Windows 98 or Windows ME the System Resources can be checked by the procedure given below Open Device Manager by right clicking on the System icon present in the Control Panel Double click on the computer which is the first object present in the Device Manager.x or MS-DOS operating system. What are the different types of system resources? 2. the resource settings can be verified by using the MSD command present in the DOS directory. It displays 00 -15. The following snapshot discusses the different IRQs used by different devices Test Yourself 1. then follow the step given below to identify the resources used by the different devices Click Start Programs Accessories System Tools System Information This displays the system information for the various hardware which are connected. What is the need for IRQ? PC Hardware Technologies I 74 . If any number is not present there.
The priority of the bootable devices can be clearly identified. o Helps to start the Operating System o Displays error codes or beep sounds if there is any problem with any device The system resources that can be configured include the o Interrupt Request Channels (IRQ) Channels o Direct Memory Access (DMA) Channels o Input/Output (I/O) port address o Memory Address PC Hardware Technologies I 75 .Module 5 Motherboard Summary The various form factors which are available are o PC-XT o AT and Baby AT o ATX and Micro ATX o LPX and Mini LPX o NLX The major components of the motherboard are o Processor socket or slot o Chipset o Super I/O chip o BIOS o SIMM/DIMM sockets o Bus slots The four major components of BIOS are o POST o Boot strap Loader o CMOS Setup o BIOS The main functions of BIOS during POST are given below o Check for the integrity of the BIOS code o Check for the size of the system memory and verify its integrity o Discover . initialize the list of all system bused and devices o Identify organize and select the devices for booting.