Motherboards are a printed circuit board (PCB) and the main element of electronic devices, especially personal computers. As the name suggests it, this circuit board is considered the “mother” of all components as it connects peripherals, interface cards, hard drives, network cards, video or sound cards.
The first original motherboards had a minimum number of functionalities and parts (a minimum number of integrated devices, port for a keyboard and a cassette deck), while other controllers and components (floppy, hard disk controller) were add-in and connected through slots.
Prompted by the need for more flexibility and features, the motherboard is one of the devices that has known a constant evolution and improvement. So, what is the story behind this device?
So what does exactly include a motherboard?
- sockets, or slots, that allow the installation of microprocessors
- slots that allow the installation of the system’s memory
- a chipset that connects the central processing unit, peripheral buses and main memory
- power connectors or dedicated power connectors (for more power)
- connectors (for hard drives)
- slots for expansion cards
- clock generator that generates a signal to synchronize the components
Technology miniaturization was an important moment for motherboards as the parts that were hard of integrate and whose specifications encountered fast changes (RAM, CPU) could now be integrated.
Types of motherboards:
Based on the type of device supported, motherboards are classified as integrated and non-integrated devices. As such, integrated motherboards are those motherboards that have all the ports for connecting devices on board. Non-integrated motherboards have RAM slots integrated directly on the board but are mostly extinct because they are costly and not very efficiently as space storage.
A history in numbers:
The motherboard had a steady and constant evolution. Unlike other technologies or computer parts, the motherboard was not created as a new piece of technology, but was developed as a necessity starting from an already existing circuit called a backplane. Here are some of the most important moments from the history of its development:
- 1981- The Planar Breadboard, the first motherboard used in a personal computer
- 1984 – IBM invented the AT (advanced technology design) that is the key element of every motherboard
- 1986 – The Gigabyte was created in Taiwan
- 1987 – Elitegroup Form – the former world largest motherboard manufacturer
- 1989 – Asus, the world’s biggest motherboard manufacturer is formed
- 1993 – Intel develops a plastic pin grid array (PPGA)
- 1995 – Intel releases new motherboard ATX, the first motherboard developed since the AT in 1984. New improvements: new dimensions and layout, improving space and interchangeability of parts
- 1997 – Intel starts its own motherboard division, renowned for its stability
- 1998 – Micro ATX Boards Produced – the first backward-compatible board
- 2001 – VIA launches Mini ITX
- 2007 – ASUSTek becomes the world’s largest maker of computer motherboards
- 2009 – The Mobile-ITX – the world’s smallest compliant motherboard (just 60mm by 66mm)
Nowadays, motherboards have become a crucial component, evolving to a self-contained computer, including audio and graphic processing and network connectivity. Miniaturization will also play an important role in the future development and improvements that we are sure will come along the way.