How To Understand Motherboard Form Factors
Its a great idea to fully understand all there is to your computer so when it
comes to maintaining, upgrading or repair, you can save big on costs by simply
performing these tasks yourself.
Your computer's motherboard is its largest component and understanding it is
not hard at. All motherboards have form factors which relates to its physical
dimensions and needs. This form factor must relate to the form factor of the
System Unit Case.
The vast majority of computer use the ATX Form Factor, or the Advanced
Technology Extended Form Factor which was created in 1995 by Intel. And its
available in three sizes, the ATX, its smaller version, the Mini ATX and the
If your system is housed in a full or mid size tower case,you can use a
motherboard built to any variation of ATX as these cases are all downward
compatible. Desktop cases, however, are restricted to the Micro ATX board.
This is awesome should you decide to replace or upgrade your motherboard. Be
certain you purchased the correct size motherboard for your case can be done by
knowing the form factor of the system unit case.
The most recent form factor is the BTX standing for the Balanced Technology
Extended factor. This was introduced in 2004.One of the primary functions of
this form factor was to improve the cooling system since newer CPU chips are
The BTX form factor is a clear break from previous ATX form factor layouts
and was developed with emerging technologies such as Serial ATA, USB 2.0, and
PCI Express. The BTX Form Factor come with thermal improvements come primarily
from taking advantage of in-line airflow.
BUYING OR REPLACING A MOTHERBOARD
There are three basic reasons for upgrading a motherboard. The first would
simply be that the existing one has failed. Another reason is the modernize the
computer but the most likely reason is because you want the most powerful rig
Keep in mind that replacing your motherboard can be done but its not the
easiest task to perform. You may have to strip the system down to gain access to
the board, whether upgrading it or just replacing it with a more powerful board.
Since the motherboard is the central and largest component in your computer,
you'll need to be certain you have the right board for your case. All of your
present computer hardware needs to be compatible with the motherboard.
The first and most important consideration is the CPU or Central Processing
Unit. The board must have the socket that the CPU was designed for.
Another consideration is the FSB which stands for the Front Side Bus. The FSB
allows the CPU to communicate with the rest of the computer. Manufacturers of
the motherboards made them to support several FSB speeds within a specified
range. To find the FSB rating for your computer look in the owners manual.
One good thing in purchasing new motherboards is that most retailers will
have supply kits. These kits will have a matched CPU and RAM for that
Additionally, ask the retailer detailed questions about your new purchase and
ask them to double check for compatibility. This way should it not be right, you
can return it for a replacement easily.
About the Author: Otis F. Cooper
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