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What the Heck Is Inside My Computer? – Part 1 – Motherboard

Special Note – This is the first of a 5 part series entitled, “What The Heck Is Inside My Computer?” This series is designed to give you an idea of exactly what the major parts of your computer are, what they do, and what they look like. Hey, we’ll even hook some of ’em up for you so you can see how simple do-it-yourself upgrades can be.

To get the most from this series, make sure you watch the included videos. We did this series with the idea that the videos would be the main attraction, so that’s where you’ll find most of the information and demos. OK, ready to go?

What The Heck Is In My Computer? – Part 1 – Motherboard

So, what exactly IS your computer motherboard (or mainboard, if the parental reference bothers you)?

Your motherboard is the main circuit board inside your PC that everything plugs into. Think of it like a central hub, pipeline, or nervous system that sends data between the components. It contains a chipset that provides the “logic” to keep all the component parts talking to each other and the main processor.


ALL of the components that live inside your PC plug into your motherboard, and most of them actually mount right to it.

You motherboard has slots for memory, places to plug in hard drives, expansions cards, probably has onboard sound, USB and Ethernet. Oh, and of course it has a special spot for your computer’s CPU. Now, if any of those terms resulted in head scratching for you, not to worry – that’s why we made this series. We’re going to cover what all those components do throughout the week.

Your motherboard also includes a BIOS chipset that activates everything else on the motherboard at startup. The BIOS is the reason your computer “knows” to boot into Windows. Think of it as the basic hardware instructions needed to get everything running and keep it that way.

To see what the board actually looks like and where all everything plugs in, make sure you watch the video. We show you the board inside of a computer AND we show you a motherboard we, umm, liberated from a volunteer PC! Good times, good times…