A motherboard is the main printed circuit board found in general purpose computers and other expandable systems.

A printed circuit board mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate.

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It holds, and allows, communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals.

A central processing unit, also called a central processor or main processor, is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logic, controlling, and inputO circuitry.

A peripheral or peripheral device is "an ancillary device used to put information into and get information out of the computer".

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Unlike a backplane, a motherboard usually contains significant sub-systems such as the central processor, the chipset's input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, and other components integrated for general purpose use and applications.

In a computer system, a chipset is a set of electronic components in an integrated circuit known as a "Data Flow Management System" that manages the data flow between the processor, memory and peripherals.

A backplane is a group of electrical connectors in parallel with each other, so that each pin of each connector is linked to the same relative pin of all the other connectors, forming a computer bus.


Motherboardis specifically refers to a PCB with expansion capability and as the name suggests, this board is often referred to as the "mother" of all components attached to it, which often include peripherals, interface cards, and daughtercards: sound cards, video cards, network cards, hard drives, or other forms of persistent storage; TV tuner cards, cards providing extra USB or FireWire slots and a variety of other custom components.

In computing, the expansion card, expansion board, adapter card or accessory card is a printed circuit board that can be inserted into an electrical connector, or expansion slot, on a computer motherboard, backplane or riser card to add functionality to a computer system via the expansion bus.

USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard initially developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used in a bus for connection, communication, and power supply between computers and electronic devices.

A hard disk drive, hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital data using one or more rigid rapidly rotating platters coated with magnetic material.


Similarly, the term mainboard is applied to devices with a single board and no additional expansions or capability, such as controlling boards in laser printers, televisions, washing machines, mobile phones and other embedded systems with limited expansion abilities.

An embedded system is a computer system—a combination of a computer processor, computer memory, and input/output peripheral devices—that has a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system.

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