Choosing a Motherboard can be an overwhelming exercise. The price Vs. budget fight along with the processor debate can surely make the decision a hard one to make. In this article, we are going to talk about the different types of Motherboard. Since there are very few people who put their money on Motherboard first and then pick the processor, this guide will help you understand the different types of Motherboard and their functions.
Different Types of Motherboard
The decision of choosing a motherboard has to be made after careful understanding as it not only ensures the stability of the system but also how different features are going to help in the desired task. Choosing a right type of motherboard that is compatible with other parts of the computer is a vital step in determining the overall speed of your PC. Here is a list of different types of Motherboards along with their features and functions to help you pick the best one suitable for your needs.
Considered to be the oldest amongst the different types of motherboard, AT motherboards were used in 286/386 or 486 computers. These were available in the early 80’s and consisted of advanced technology (AT) power connectors. However, their their odd dimensions make it unsuitable for today’s mini desktops.
Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) motherboards were designed by Intel in mid 90’s as an upgrade to the previously existed motherboards, including AT. They differed from AT in the sense that they allowed the interchangeability of the connected parts. Also, since the dimensions of this type of motherboard were smaller than the AT motherboards, it allowed a proper place for the drive bays. There were alterations made to the connector system of the board. While the AT motherboards had a keyboard connector and on the backplates, ATX motherboards, on the other hand, came with extra slots for various add-ons.
Some of the features and uses of modern ATX Motherboard are as follows
- More power phases for cleaner and stable power.
- Better clearance around the CPU socket to house those huge after-market heat sinks.
- Wider gaps between expansion slots for better graphics card cooling, thus promising improved overclocking results.
LPX motherboards, also known as low profile extension motherboards, were created after the AT boards were no longer able to promise the speed and efficiency. The main difference between the two aforementioned different types of motherboard are that the input and output ports in these boards are present at the back of the system. It was later that this concept was adopted by
At this time, there was also an inclusion made for the riser card to allow placement of some more slots. However, the riser cards have a negative impact on the air flow.
The advent of the BTX (Balanced Technology Extended) motherboard happened to curtail the issues that were highlighted whilst using latest technologies. The main demand for newer technologies was more power and that they also released more heat when implemented on motherboards as per the circa-1996 ATX specification.
The first company to implement BTX was Gateway Inc., and later Dell and MPC also started using BTX motherboards. In fact, Apple’s MacPro uses only some of the elements of the BTX design system, however is not BTX compliant. This type of motherboard has some improvements over previous technologies:
It is interesting to note that BTX design provides a straighter path of airflow with lesser difficulties, which results in better overall cooling capabilities. Instead of a dedicated cooling fan, a large 12 cm case-fan is mounted, that draws its air directly from outside the computer and then cools the CPU through an air duct.
BTX is also known to control the physical strain imposed on the motherboard by heat sinks, capacitors and other components which are dealing with electrical and thermal regulation.
Pico BTX Motherboard
Pico BTX is also a type of motherboard that is meant to manufacture even smaller size BTX standard. It is way smaller than several current “micro” sized motherboards, and share a common top half with the other sizes in the BTX line. Pico BTX Motherboard support only one or two expansion slots, which are designed for half-height or riser-card applications.
It is worth noting that the BTX power supply units can be swapped with latest ATX12V units, however, the same doesn’t work with older ATX power supplies which do not have the extra 4-pin 12V connector.
Mini ITX Motherboard
Mini-ITX is a 17 × 17 cm (6.7 × 6.7 in) low-power motherboard form factor designed by VIA Technologies in 2001. These types of motherboards are widely largely used in small form factor (SFF) computer systems. Mini-ITX boards can also be cooled easily because of their low power consumption architecture. The constitution of the Mini ITX Motherboard makes them widely useful for home theater PC systems and even in systems where the noise of the fan affects the overall cinematic experience.
The Mini-ITX form factor has the location for one expansion slot, about a standard 33 MHz 5V 32-bit PCI slot. However, often case designs use riser cards and some even have two-slot riser cards, even when the two-slot riser cards are not usable with all the boards. A few boards based around non-x86 processors have a 3.3V PCI slot, and the Mini-ITX 2.0 (2008) boards have a PCI-express ×16 slot. Such boards are not used with the standard PCI riser cards supplied with cases.
Once you have made your preferred choice amongst the different types of motherboard, the next step is to build your dream PC. Remember, using a good motherboard has a direct impact on the speed of the computer system. A good motherboard needs to be compatible with the components of a computer system and ensures efficient and high-speed working of a computer system