Computer Motherboard Repair

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

Alternatively referred to as the mbmainboardmboardmobomobdbackplane boardbase boardmain circuit boardplanar boardsystem board, or a logic board on Apple computers. The motherboard is a printed circuit board and foundation of a computer that is the biggest board in a computer chassis It allocates power and allows communication to and between the CPU -RAM and all other computer hardware components.

So, What is Motherboard Form Factor?

The motherboard is the main component, based on its function, of the internal structure of all computers. Mainly responsible for the interaction of all the elements of the computer, such as the CPU, RAM, storage, graphics card, I/O, among others.

It is extremely important to recognize its capabilities, limitations as well as the main features it contains so as not to repress the potential of any other piece within the PC. Another key element is the form-factor (exterior physical size and shape) which also should be considered for the computer application according to the field where it’ll be used.

Motherboards are always characterized by their chipset, type of processor socket, and their form factor.

  • CPU and CPU socket.
  • RAM, DRAM, and RAM slots.
  • ATX power supply.
  • IDE Connectors
  • Northbridge and southbridge.
  • AGP Slot
  • PCI Slots.
  • CMOS Backup Battery
  • Integrated connectors for peripherals such as USB, mouse, keyboard, display, audio, Ethernet, etc.

What is motherboard and its uses?

The motherboard serves as a single platform to connect all of the parts of a computer together. It connects the CPU, memory, hard drives, optical drives, video card, sound card, and other ports and expansion cards directly or via cables.

Why do we need a motherboard?

The Motherboard itself is a printed circuit board that allows the CPU, RAM, and all other computer hardware components to communicate with each other. … It can control things such as what type of processor you can use, how much RAM memory it can have and what features it can support.2

Why is it called motherboard?

3 Answers. It’s called a motherboard because it is the main circuit board in the computer, and it can be extended by plugging other circuit boards into it. … Wikipedia suggests that historically a “mainboard” was not extensible in this way, hence the need for different terminology.28 Jan 2011

Where is the motherboard located?

A computer motherboard is located inside the computer case and is where most of the parts and computer peripherals connect. With tower computers, the motherboard is on the left or right side of the tower and is the biggest circuit board.


Types of Motherboard Form Factors

Form Factor ATX (Advanced Technology Extended)

Designed as an evolution of the Baby AT form factor ATX marks a profound change in the architecture of the motherboard and other components such as the cabinet and the power supply.

Within the motherboard there are significant changes such as the location of the CPU socket, which is now placed near the power supply, thus allowing the flow of air caused by the fan of the source and not to be interfered with by any element as it happened with the technology Baby AT.

Another change was the connection between the source of the feed. Which is now a single connector, unlike the AT which were two. Some of the most important improvements for ATX and benefits are:

  • Integrated input and output ports
  • Slots of expansion without interference
  • Start Control by software
  • 3 Vol. from the source (reduces hardware cost, energy consumption, and heat)
  • A better airflow
  • Less interference in access to drive bays.

The ATX motherboard dimensions are 12 × 13 in. A variation of the ATX is the Mini ATX, which is essentially a reduced-size version of ATX but more reduced in terms of its shape, its measurements are 11.2 × 8.2 inches.

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This form factor is the most used today, especially on desktop computers, and after this technology was released several other factors where based on it. Such as the Mini-ITX, Mini-ATX, Micro-ATX, Nano ITX, and Pico-ITX.

Micro ATX

It is an evolution of ATX. Its measures are 9.6 × 9.6 inches. The Micro-ATX supports up to four expansion slots that can combine freely with ISA, PCI, PCI / ISA shared, and AGP. Mounting holes changed from the Standard ATX, since the measurements are different, but they are also compatible with most ATX cabinets.

This type of motherboard form factor supports both Intel and AMD processors. It is commonly used on Small Form Factor Desktop Computers.


Mini ITX is a low-power consumption motherboard format of 6.7 × 6.7 inches. Its dimensions are the most characteristic factor of this type of form factor. Although this type of motherboard was designed with the aim of empowering teams of low consumption, at present there are no limits and they have grown by giant steps in terms of benefits.

Since the Mini-ITX was introduced they have expanded in all kinds of applications, thanks to their open standard factor. Mini ITX is a standard format for all types of equipment, such as vehicle embedded computers, industrial applications, and IoT. The Mini-ITX is the first standard system of reduced format that is popularized, reaching all types of projects and any equipment where it may be necessary.


The Nano-ITX is another type of motherboard form factor, that measures 4.7 × 4.7 in. Nano-ITX are fully integrated boards designed to consume very low power. This type of motherboard can be used in many applications, but it was specially designed for smart entertainment, like PVRs, media centers, smart TVs, in-vehicle devices, and more.


The Pico-ITX is the smallest type of motherboard form factor in this list. Its measurements are 3.9 × 2.8 in and it is 75% smaller than the Mini-ITX. This motherboard was designed and developed by VIA, to open up innovation for smaller and smarter IoT devices.

The Pico-ITX with an x86-based-platform and low-power consumption board is a great choice for embedded systems applications, such as industrial automation, in-vehicle computers, digital signage, and more.

Brief Comparison of the Motherboard Form Factors.

Below is a chart comparing the most popular motherboard form factors.

Form FactorManufacturer/DateDimensionsApplications
Standard-ATXIntel 199512 × 13 inWorkstation/Desktop
Micro-ATXIntel 19979.6 × 9.6 inSmall Form Factor
Mini-ITXVIA 20016.7 × 6.7 inSmall Form Factor
Nano-ITXVIA 20034.7 × 4.7 inEmbedded Systems
Pico-ITXVIA 20073.9 × 2.8 inEmbedded Systems
Mobile-ITXVIA 20092.4 × 2.4 inEmbedded Systems

Below is a motherboard form factor size chart. This comparison picture helps understand the differences in dimensions for the most popular motherboard form factors.

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Form Factors and Some of Their Applications

In-Vehicle Computers

Due to its really reduced format, yet powerful performance, the Mini-ITX systems can be installed in vehicles’ reduced spaces in order to communicate real-time tracking and monitoring systems.

v3g blog

On example of a Mini- ITX solution is Lanner’s V3G, which is a rugged fanless vehicle computer. V3G is powered by the new generation 14 nm Intel® Atom™ x7-E3950 SoC (formerly Apollo Lake). This processor consumes low volume of power and offers performance upgrade from previous generation of Atom™ processors, optimized for vehicle computing applications.

Since wireless network connectivity is one of the most critical requirements, the V3G offers 2 x mini-PCIe sockets with a swappable SIM slot supporting 3G/4G/LTE cellular communications. In addition, the compact system comes with built-in GPS for navigation and multiple antennae I/Os for extended receptions.

As an in-vehicle computer, V3G boasts an abundance of I/O peripheral connectivity including 2 x serial COM ports, 2 x video output by DVI-D, USB, and Digital I/O ports, and 2 x RJ-45 LAN ports to work with other components and subsystems in armored vehicles. For storage, V3G comes in SATA/mSATA storage options.

Lanner’s V3G is a great solution in this case due to its certified LTE wireless connectivity and Military-grade ruggedness.

IoT Devices

Smart LED street illumination has been embraced by multiple municipal governments worldwide, as the starting point for IoT-based smart city establishment. Since the street lighting infrastructure already exists, many city planners take smart lighting as the opportunity to enable their IoT foundation by consolidating sensors, wireless communication points, and open-interface technologies. In order to work with whole these elements at an external environment, the requirements that should be considered are abundant I/O ports, LTE connectivity, Wide Operating Temperature and (of course) being a reduced form factor.

One example of IoTs street illumination solution is Lanner’s LEC-3030T  a compact communication white-box IIoT gateway to meet the demands for smart LED street lighting. The gateway is physically designed in compact form factor and fanless thermal mechanism to meet the outdoor setting. Since extreme temperature is a potential challenge in an outdoor application, LEC-3030T can withstand a wide range of operating temperatures, from as low as -40°C to as high as 70°C.

lec 3030 blog

In terms of the performance, the LEC-3030T is empowered by Intel® Atom™ E3815 processor and DDR3L at 1,333 MHz SO-DIMM memory up to 4GB to adequately perform data collection, analysis and transfer in an end-to-end application. Functioning as the IoT gateway for street lamps, LEC-3030T boasts an abundance of I/O connectors, such as VGA display, serial COM ports (with RS-232/422/485 and ESD/surge protection), digital I/O connector, RJ-45 LAN ports, and USB ports to accommodate various sensors and meters associated with the deployment.

These are only two excellent examples of the benefits of a PC reducing form factor tendency which provides great benefits in space and cost. We have not only reviewed the different form factors but also learned how the form factor enables PC applications in different industries.

Functions of the Motherboard

A motherboard controls the flow of external data through the ports such as the USB and the IDE and guides the data to the hard drives. The main function of the motherboard is to hold the microprocessor chip e.g. Intel Pentium 4, Intel Celeron and AMD Athlon. Also, almost all the components that help in the function of the computer are either parts of the motherboard or are plugged into it.

Which type of motherboard is the best?

Best motherboards of 2021 at a glance

  • Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO – best Intel motherboard.
  • MSI MEG Z490 Godlike – best high-end Intel motherboard.
  • GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X – best budget Intel motherboard.
  • MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC – best Intel micro-ATX motherboard.

What Is the Importance of a Motherboard in a Computer?

The motherboard serves as the central circuit hub that connects all the peripherals and components of a computer. It also regulates the power received by the hard drive, graphics card, CPU and system memory from the power supply. It is a key piece of computer hardware that can be viewed as the “backbone” of the entire computer system.

The motherboard has a few built-in components like the system bus, the BIOS, the CMOS and the chipset. It also has several ports and sockets including the Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE), Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), Universal Serial Bus (USB), Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) and the RAM slots. The motherboard controls external data flow via the IDE and USB ports and directs the data to the hard disk.

The layout and shape of the main board is referred to as the form factor. The form factor acts as a defining standard for motherboards and determines where specific components will fit, the power supply and the type of case. All three must be compatible for the entire system to work.

Different motherboards support different types of video cards, disk drives, memory, CPUs and other peripherals. Component compatibility with the connector types and slots available on the motherboard should be a key consideration when replacing any faulty parts or assembling a computer.


Signs of a motherboard problem

While it can be hard to pin down from symptoms alone whether your motherboard is failing, here are a few tells to look out for.

  • Your computer begins to boot up very slowly.
  • Peripherals on your computer start to become unreliable.
  • You see odd behavior on your monitor, in the form of flickering, lines on the screen or unexpected freezes.
  • When you plug a flash drive into your computer’s USB port it sometimes fails to initialize.
  • Increased frequency of “blue screen of death”errors.
  • A burning or melted plastic smell.

The key thing you may experience as a motherboard begins to fail is a frustrating unpredictability.  

Nerds On Call can handle your motherboard repair or replacement 

At Nerds On Call, we can fix or replace your laptop motherboard so that you don’t have to worry about it. Just send us your laptop in the mail, or drop it off at one of our seven stores in California or Oregon. We’ll have your laptop repaired quickly, so you can go back to working on it or having fun with it. Fill out our contact form today, or call us at 1-800-919-6373.   We hope you’ve found this guide to be helpful in understanding how we do laptop motherboard

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Author: refuge_2020

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