In our previous entry we discussed the considerations for selecting your CPU. If your CPU is the “brain” of the system, the motherboard is the “heart,” and that is what we will be discussing in this arcticle.
Motherboards have evolved quite a bit over their lifespan. In the early days, on up to the mid 90’s motherboards had limited built in devices and relied heavily on add-in cards via expansion slots. As time went on, more and more of the functions of these add-in cards became integrated directly into the motherboard, such as the storage, network and audio controllers that we find built into modern motherboards. For most people, the built in functionality of these devices are more than sufficient for their needs, however you can still find standalone add-in cards for things like LAN, storage, and audio (among other things) which offer advanced functionality over the built in devices. In more recent times, we have seen many functions of the motherboard migrate to the CPU, such as cache memory, and many functions of the north bridge area of the chipset, including the memory controller, and even GPU (graphics processing unit) with some CPUs.