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What is a Computer Motherboard?

What is a computer motherboard?

A computer motherboard is the large, printed circuit board in a computer and occupies a significant amount of space within the chassis. While the processor serves as the “brain” of the computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations, the motherboard functions as the backbone of communication between all the installed components. It serves as the hub through which information flows, allowing different components such as the CPU, RAM, and storage devices to interact with each other seamlessly. The motherboard is the most important component in a computer because it’s so complex and does so much, it’s the foundation upon which the entire system is built.

What Devices have Motherboards?

Most complex or semi-complex electronics have a primary circuit board that could be considered a motherboard. But for the purposes of this article, we’re defining what a motherboard is in terms of a desktop or laptop computer. Specifically, we are talking about custom desktops such as trading computers or gaming computers.

Smartphones, tablets and smaller devices have logic boards that are somewhat similar to a motherboard. The main difference is that pretty much all the components are permanently soldered to the board and can’t easily be removed or replaced. We’ve even seen a move by many laptop manufacturers to solder pretty much everything to the motherboards making repairs much more difficult. Desktops, on the other hand, are easy to replace components since the CPU, RAM, and add on cards are added separately and are not permanently soldered.


All components in a desktop computer are connected through the motherboard, including (but not limited to):

  • The Chipset from Intel or AMD
  • The Central Processing Unit knows as the Processor or CPU
  • Internal system memory known as RAM
  • Video Cards
  • Other add on cards such as WiFi cards or audio cards

Top Motherboard Manufacturers

There are quite a few motherboard manufacturers that build high quality products. Motherboard chipsets are designed by Intel or AMD, then other companies engineer boards around the Intel or AMD design specifications. The primary manufacturers we focus on are:

  • ASUS
  • ASRock
  • Gigabyte
  • MSI
  • EVGA

Modern Motherboard Features

Motherboards have gotten more complex over the past 20 years. New features and technologies are always changing and being added to chipset design.

New SSD Drives

One big change over the past several years is the move to multiple designated slots on the motherboard for a new type of SSD drive. NVMe M.2 drives are faster than traditional SSD drives since they bypass the slower SATA ports and have a more direct line of communication to the processor, RAM and chipset. Most of the boards we use have two or more M.2 slots, so your hard drive resides right on the motherboard instead of being connected via a SATA cable. The higher end motherboards also have heatsinks for the M.2 SSD drives to help dissipate heat from the drive more efficiently.

SABRENT 1TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive


Another new feature of modern motherboards is the move to DDR5 memory slots on the boards. Motherboards usually have at a minimum, two memory (RAM) slots. Higher end motherboards have four slots to support up to four sticks of high-performance memory.

Motherboard Form Factors

The most common motherboard size is ATX. There are a lot of other variants, but in a typical desktop computer you’re going to want an ATX motherboard, so you’ll have all the features that a given chipset offers. Smaller motherboards, such as micro-ATX are going to have less memory slots, less PCIe slots and overall, much less features.

Other Motherboard form factors:

  • ATX
  • Extended ATX (EATX)
  • Micro ATX
  • Mini ITX

What is a Chipset?

We have a really good article discussing this topic: What is a Motherboard Chipset?

The chipset is a set of chips that define the various features that are capable and included in the motherboard. What’s great is that modern chipset and motherboard design now includes Bluetooth and WiFi (as well as high speed LAN ports) built into the motherboard. No add-on cards needed!

ASUS ProArt Z790 Creator Motherboard Connectivity Features and Ports

Who is the Best Motherboard Manufacturer?

This is of course very subjective. Which company is best isn’t absolute. If you’re buying a trading computer or gaming computer a high end ATX motherboard from ASUS, MSI or Gigabyte are all great.

In our over 16 years of experience as a system integrator we prefer ASUS motherboards over all other brands. We like the layout of the BIOS on ASUS motherboards, and they are the largest manufacturer of motherboards worldwide. BIOS updates are super easy on an ASUS motherboard. We sometimes use MSI or Gigabyte board models if they fit the design requirements of a particular model.

ASUS Prime

These are the motherboards we install most into our custom computers. We like the design and looks of the Prime boards. The Prime series are engineered to maximize the full potential of Intel and AMD CPUs. Prime boards have a robust power design and offer a lot of overclocking and tuning options.


These are relatively new. Most of these motherboards are more expensive then the other series. Engineered for anyone, but specifically content creators, business, 3D modeling, rendering, animation and media production.


The TUF boards are marketed towards gamers. They are slightly less expensive than the ROG boards.


Republic of Gamers. These boards are obviously marketed towards customers buying a gaming computer. ROG motherboards have more hardcore overclocking available (not necessarily recommended though). ROG boards have 5-Way Optimization software and expert bios tweaking for maximum performance with a single click.


The motherboard in a modern desktop computer is arguably the most important component. Your system integrator should be using high end motherboards that maximize the performance of all the connected components.

At Blue Aura Computers, we use the best motherboards in our trading computers such as ASUS Prime Series and ASUS ProArt Creator motherboards.