- Generalities and schematic photo

- Shape factors and standards

- The components of the motherboard

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Juan Herrerķas Rey

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What is... the microprocessor?

What is... the memory RAM?

What is... the cache memory?

What is... the chipset?

What is... the BIOS?

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What is... the motherboard?


Next they go to describe the elements of the badge; to see them in his original place, pulsate in "Generalities and schematic photo" in the Index. For several paragraphs additional information exists, in whose case is indicated along with the corresponding epigraph.


Socket ZIF Socket 7

Socket of the microprocessor

It is the place where the "brain" of the computer is inserted. During more than 10 years it consisted of a rectangle or square where the "mike", a pill of black plastic with legs, was interfering with major or minor facility; the appearance of Pentium II changed a little this panorama, introducing the connectors in the shape of groove (slot).

Let's see in detail the most common types of socket, or socket, as say the Anglo-Saxons:

Well, already it is enough on this topic; if he wants to enter, try to puncture in some of this linkage:


Grooves for modules SIMM of 72 c.

Memory grooves

The following information is only a summary; to see the page dedicated exclusive to this element, pulsate here.

There are the connectors of the principal memory of the computer, the RAM.

Formerly, the RAM chips were placing one to one on the badge, of the form in which it is still done in the videocards, which was not a good idea due to the number of chips that could become necessary and to the delicacy of the same ones; for it, there gathered together several chips of memory welded to a plaquita, giving place to what is known as a module.

These modules have been changing in size, capacity and way of getting connected; to the beginning them there was that they were getting connected to the badge by means of a few very delicate legs, which was rejected completely about the epoch of 386 by the called modules SIMM, which have the connectors on the rim of the module.

The original SIMMs had 30 connectors, this is, 30 contacts, and they were measuring approximately 8,5 cm. Towards ends of the epoch of 486 they appeared of 72 contacts, longer: approximately 10,5 cm. This process has continued up to ending in the current modules DIMM, of 168 contacts and 13 cm.

To know more on the memory, types of memory, modules, etc., puncture in this linkage:


Control Chipset

The following information is only a summary; to see the page dedicated exclusive to this element, pulsate here.

The "chipset" is the set (set) of chips that are in charge of controlling certain functions of the computer, like the form in which it interdrives the microprocessor with the memory or the cache memory, or the control of ports PCI, AGP, USB...

Chipset Intel FX "Merman"

Formerly these functions were relatively simple to realize, therefore the chipset was the last element to which importance was granted at the time of buying a motherboard, if it is that someone was bothering to report at least on the nature of the same one. Nevertheless, the arrival of more complex mikes as the Pentium or the K6, in addition to new technologies in memoirs and cache memory, he has made him receive leading role, sometimes even exaggerated.

Due to the previous thing, it is possible to be said that the chipset of 486 or low it is not of major importance (inside a reasonable limit), therefore we are going to treat only about the chipsets for Pentium and Superior:

  • chipsets of Intel for Pentium ("Merman): they are very well-known, but to tell truth more for the marketing that has received his generic trade name (Merman) than for his capacities, although these are outstanding.
    • 430 FX: the classic Merman. A chipset adapted enough for the "normal" Pentium (not MMX) with memoirs type EDO. Nowadays desfasado and descatalogado.
    • 430 HX: the Merman II, the professional option of the previous one. Much more rapid and with support for dual badges (with 2 Pentium). Something antiquated but very good.
    • 430 VX: Merman III? Rather 2.5; slightly slower than the HX, but with support for memory SDRAM. It is possible to be said that it is the review of the FX, or that it was extracted so that the people were not scared at the price of the HX...
    • 430 TX: the last Merman. Support MMX, SDRAM, UltraDMA... Nevertheless, he lacks AGP and bus to 100 MHz, therefore it has remained some desfasado. A problem: if one puts his more than 64 MB of RAM, the cache memory stops acting; although many RAM is more than 64 MB.
  • chipsets of ROUTE for Pentium ("Apollos): a few quite good chipsets, they are characterized for having support for almost everything imaginable (memoirs SDRAM or BEDO, UltraDMA, USB...); his fight is in the scale of the HX or TX, although they are usually slightly slower than these with mikes Intel (and it is that Intel invented the Pentium, and it had to be evident...)
    The good of the badges with chipsets ROUTE is that his quality is usually intermediate - high, while in badges with chipsets Intel there is a very wide fan between very good badges and frankly bad others. Also, and unlike Intel, there continue with the badges field socket 7 (those of type Pentium and Pentium MMX), therefore they offer solutions much more advanced than the TX (with AGP and bus to 100 MHz, for example).
  • chipsets of SiS, ALI, VLSI and ETEQ for Pentium: as the previous ones, his capacities are advanced, although his speed is sometimes slightly more limited if we use them with mikes Intel.
    His principal trick, as in the ROUTE, is in the support of advanced characteristics of chips not Intel "compatible Pentium" (and sometimes better), as there are the AMD K6, the K6-2 or the Cyrix-IBM 6x86MX (M2); if his option is in one of these mikes or she wants to use cards AGP, his ideal badge is very probable that is not called "Intel inside".
  • chipsets of Intel for Pentium II: to tell truth, still without serious competition, what does not wonder having the Pentium II only one year... and belonging to Intel.
    • 440 FX: a chipset made for the dead Pentium Pro, liquidated in favor of Pentium II (who is a checked Pro, something cheaper and with the magician "MMX").
      For a Pentium Pro, good; for a Pentium II and the current advances (memoirs, AGP...), very bad.
    • 440 LX: the first one and very efficient chipset for Pentium II. Everything has it almost, except bus to 100 MHz, what does that it does not admit mikes to any more than 333 MHz.
    • 440 BX: the last Intel innovation. With 100 MHz bus, it is the ceiling of the scale.
    • 440 EX-: a chipset based on the LXth but of cut away characteristics. Very bad, only valid for Celeron.
    • 440 ZX: a chipset based on the BX but of cut away characteristics, like EX-. Again, only valid for Celeron.
  • other marks for Pentium II: ROUTE Apollo Pro and ALI ALADDIN PRO. Very finished Chipsets, with enclosed support for bus to 100 MHz, but that have his biggest problem in convincing the manufacturers and the public of not using the chipsets of Intel, which have been alone during the whole year.

To find still more information, puncture here:

Chip of BIOS



The following information is only a summary; to see the page dedicated exclusive to this element, pulsate here.

The BIOS really is not but a program that is in charge of giving support to handle certain so called devices of entry - exit (Input-Output). Physically it is located in a chip that usually has rectangular form, like that of the image.

Also, the BIOS preserves certain parameters like the type of hard disk, the date and hour of the system, etc., which he keeps in a memory of the type CMOS, of very low consumption and that is supported by a battery when the computer is disconnected.

The BIOS can be updated well by means of the extraction and replacement of the chip very delicate (method) or by means of software, although only in case of called Flash-BIOS.

To learn on the handling of the BIOS, go to the page dedicated to the same one.

More elements of the motherboard

Good, these are the first pieces of the puzzle; we still have left:


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