What is Motherboard in Computer? (Definition, Form Factor, Components & History)


In this digital Technologies and gadgets, the term “motherboard” is seen to be used quite frequently by Tech and gaming enthusiasts. But, here the most important question is that what exactly is a motherboard and what is its use, and what are its functions.

If you imagine yourself as a computer or PC your spinal cord would be your motherboard which is responsible for performing all regulatory and essential functions of your body like overall movement, sending information from the CPU that is the brain, to other parts of the body.,

Just like the spinal cord, the motherboard too does not hold a lot of power or energy in itself and works to transfer the energy from one part to another. It greatly identifies the problem and their results through the signal or commands (inputs) from the CPU or microprocessor, these were the whole bunch of reasons why the motherboard is given this much consideration. 

Now I hope that your doubt of knowing that- what is a motherboard , would be clear.

If not, you’ll get it by reading further.

Motherboard (definition) 

The main printed circuit board for PCB in the computer’s cabinet that works to establish the connection between different components of the PC is basically a motherboard.

The motherboard acts as the central communicative body of the PC as it has all the essential connectivity ports and external peripherals that are required to improve storage as well as connectivity of the system.

The motherboards are also given different synonyms like mobo, baseboard, main circuit board, mainboard and logic board (Apple one’s), etc, but all of these share the same set of functions and have standard usability; these were just different-different ways of recognizing and calling motherboards. 

Components of a Motherboard

Though there might be many new changes done in modern-day technology & tech gadgets and there could be many other ways of fabricating the motherboard, but the general and commonest way of PCB manufacturing is through consisting 7-14 layers of fiberglass, traces of copper and copper panels for the purpose of signal & energy seclusion. 

Many other auxiliary modules can be added to the motherboard through the ports and expansion slot, additional components like RAM sticks, PCI-e drives, SATA drives, M.2 slots that supports faster data transfer in storage drives and their respective processor socket. 

All the southbridge extensions like PCI, SATA,  Thunderbolt, USB, etc constitute the chip system that provides additional storage & connectivity to the motherboard.  

All the previous-gen & older motherboards didn’t have the same components as the ones we see now, they used to have standard electronic components like the floppy connection, diode, game-port with MIDI headers, fuse & network headers. 

FACT: All the circuitry and circuit boards that are plugged and connected to the main Central Board are referred to as daughter boards. Thus, the main Central Board (the big-one) got the name motherboard and all the circuitry components were joined to the bigger one (the motherboard).

Form Factor of the Motherboard

So, the first question that arrived here is what is a form factor of a motherboard

If I explain to you in a simple phrase, the form factor is basically the size of a motherboard and it shows the specifications that the motherboard will consist of like bigger the size (ATX), the more it will have connectivity ports and slots and thus offering better functionality.

Form-factors of the motherboard: AT, ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX & full-ATX, these were the most common types of form factors that we see in modern motherboards. 

These different-different sorts and types of  Form-factors of motherboards provide different purposes of their and are totally dependent on computing technology and advancements. 

History of Motherboards

IBM is practically the real father and original owner of the motherboard, as the first motherboard was launched by IBM itself in the year 1981 and it was called “planar”, this motherboard was not used in multiple production lines or retail for selling. The motherboard “planar” was only used in the IBM personal computer.

In the year 1984, a full-fledged ATX form factor motherboard was launched by IBM from that time the continuation of the progress got started when IBM used to do new experiments with their products and launch them in the commercial market. In 1985 a baby ATX motherboard was launched that looked quite small but was very convenient in terms of usage.

History Events of the Motherboard (Year-wise)

1987: The western digital company developed the LPX form-factor motherboard.

1995: In July 1995, intel launched its first variant of ATX form factor motherboard that was fully equipped with some good amount of specifications.


  • IBM, Intel & digital equipment corporation (dec), altogether developed the NLX form factor motherboard.
  • In August 1997, the first and one of its kind accelerated graphics port was introduced by Intel for a better video graphical interface.
  • Intel introduced the micro-ATX motherboard

1998: Intel launched its WTX motherboard

1999: Intel introduced the flex-ATX motherboard

2000: In the starting of 2000, the company name Kontron launched the ETX form factor motherboard.


  • QTC introduced the UTX MOBO.
  • The revolutionary mini-ITX motherboard was developed and introduced in the market by a company called VIA technologies. 


  • The PCI-express device came into the market 
  • Nano-ITX motherboard.


  • SLI technology that we see today was introduced by NVidia in 2004, which enabled playing dual-video cards together. 
  • The BTX motherboard was introduced by intel.
  • In March 2004, a new form factor was introduced that was called mobile-ITX. 


  • COM-express MOBO (a new form factor) was launched by an MNC called PICMG
  • XTC motherboard was introduced


  • SWTX MOBO was introduced by a company called super micro
  • By the end of 2006, it became possible to combine dual-video cards in a micro-ATX MOBO. 


  • Pico-ITX came to the market.
  • AMD fabricated the DTX motherboard and mini-DTX board. 

2010: HPTX mainboard (motherboard)


Q. How many connection slots and ports are present on the motherboard? 

Ans. There is nothing like fixing standard or fixed numbers of connection ports present on the baseboard. It totally depends on the different kinds, sizes, and form factors of the motherboard but if you genuinely want to know how many ports are present on your motherboard for knowledge purposes you can directly go through the product manual to check out the specification. 

Q. Why do motherboard components have different colors?

Ans. The components and ports that are present on the motherboard are color-coded to, make them easy to identify and replace easily when they are out of use.

Q. Which was the first motherboard?

Ans. The first motherboard was used in the IBM personal computer in the year 1981 and it was given the name “planar” 

Q. How to plugin motherboard to the PC?

Ans. A motherboard is joined or attached to the desktop PC through standout plugins that help in screwing the motherboard plug permanently to the desktop, you can detach the plug whenever you want by unscrewing it. After attachment of the motherboard, all other components come into play and get working.

Q. Is there something like a father board?

Ans. Till now there is no such thing as a father board but we hope to get something like this very soon. 

Q. What is an OEM motherboard?

Ans. OEM stands for the original equipment manufacturer, these products are not sold in the retail version they are only meant for use in self-made products of the original company itself.

Q. Do OEM motherboards from different companies differ from each other?

Ans. The OEM products like motherboards from brands like HP and Dell differ from each other most of the time, this happens just because it’s the company’s own decision to design their product depending upon their needs and vision.

Many products look drastically different from the standard and typical form factor product. Though motherboards have many differences they remain visually intact in some or the other way.

Also, If you don’t like the OEM manufactured motherboards you can replace them with the other retail motherboards of your choice. 

Q. Do smartphones & laptops have motherboards in them?

Ans. Yes! the smartphones, laptops, and tablets have a motherboard in them and it is often called a logic board instead of the motherboard but the sole functions are the same as the standard motherboards and the main difference that you are going to see in the motherboards is the compact size as all the components like RAM and Storage are much smaller than the standard component.

As the founder and owner of this website, I am an enthusiastic computer software and hardware enthusiast who takes pleasure in troubleshooting and solving computer-related problems. With MTech & BTech degrees in Computer Science & Engineering under my belt, I have worked in this field for over 12 years now. Through my career I have acquired a vast amount of knowledge regarding various computer topics such as software, hardware, and programming - knowledge which I love sharing with others to help people gain more insight into this exciting world of computers!