Simple Motherboard Specs.Oct 1, 2000 (Updated Jun 28, 2001) Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in MotherboardsThe Bottom Line Don't be scared of purchasing your own motherboard or building your own system. There are only a few details to worry about when selecting a motherboard.
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The purpose of this writing will be to provide the reader with some understanding of motherboard specs. This by no means will be a complete reference for those gurus out there looking to figure out all the details of motherboard specs, but will instead form the general public of the basics should they want to buy or build a machine.
For more details on what I think of building your own machine, see:
Motherboards are the guts of a computer. The motherboard ties the CPU chip to all the cards and memory as well as all disk drives that are part of the system.
A system consists of a path which connects the CPU to the memory and other peripherals. This path, called the bus, can transmit information at a rate which is related to the clock frequency (measured in mHz, or millions of cycles per second) of the CPU chip. However the CPU generally runs at a much higher clock frequency than the bus. You can get a feel for the speed the system will run by looking at the maximum bus frequency.
There is also a setting called the clock multiplier which MUST be set to the number that the bus frequency must be multiplied by to get the clock frequency of the CPU. An example follows:
You have an AMD K6-2 400 CPU
The motherboard you have supports up to 100 mHz for its bus speed.
If you set the bus to run at 100 mHz, then the clock multiplier setting must be set to 4 since 100 mHz * 4 = 400 mHz which is the speed of the CPU chip.
Older motherboards use jumpers on the board itself to set the clock multiplier. Most newer motherboards manufactured in the past few years use an internal setting controlled through the BIOS. It may not be necessary to worry about the clock multiplier if there isn't a way to set it using a jumper position on the motherboard.
You must also check to see what type of socket the motherboard has. Each type of processor is only supported by a certain socket type.
Another important motherboard feature to check is its chipset. You can think of the chipset as the air traffic controller of the motherboard. It routes all the information from the CPU to the bus and vice-versa. The best thing to do here is to make sure the motherboard you are selecting supports the CPU chip you want to use. Also check online reviews or talk to knowledgeable people you know to ensure that the chipset is of the quality you're looking for.
One last setting that must be set correctly is the voltage for the CPU. Usually you can look in the motherboard manual and look up the voltage in a chart. If this doesn't work, make sure you find out what the necessary voltage is for your CPU chip and set the jumper properly on your motherboard.
So, in summary, when selecting a motherboard you need to make sure of the following things:
-The chipset and socket match the processor you want to use.
-The bus speed and multiplier selections allow you to set them so they multiply out to the clock speed of your CPU chip.
-The voltage for the CPU chip is set properly.
Another thing to check with the motherboard is whether or not it accepts the memory you want to use. The two common types of memory are SDRAM DIMMs (Dual In-line Memory Module) or RDRAM with which I am not too familiar. Just be sure that when purchasing, the memory and motherboard are designed to work together.
The things that I have mentioned in this article should be enough to help you select a motherboard for your system. If you understand these basic concepts, be sure you talk to someone who knows a great deal about computers and would be willing to help you should you get into trouble. If you understand the things I have outlined here and feel confident enough to proceed, then perhaps you should consider building your own computer.
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