The Motherboard Form Factor Computer Science Essay

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A motherboard form factor just describes the dimensions or size of the motherboard and what the layout of the motherboard components are. It is important to understand the different motherboard form factors, because you cannot take any motherboard and place it in a computer case. You must put an ATX board in an ATX case.


In 1995, Intel wanted a system board that would be used to support the Pentium II processor and the new AGP slot, so the ATX form factor was built. The ATX board is 7.5 inches wide and 12 inches long and has all the IO ports integrated directly into the board, including USB ports. The ATX board introduced a 100 MHz system bus, whereas older Pentium boards ran at 60/66 MHz and had one AGP slot for video cards. The ATX board also had soft power support, which meant that the system could be shut down by the operating system. The ATX form factor rotated the baby AT components by 90 degrees so that any cards inserted into the bus architectures would not cover the processor and prevent proper cooling.


Most motherboards are a variation of the ATX style, including the smaller microATX version of the design. Other motherboard styles do exist, however, including the BTX design, which was released by Intel in 2004. The BTX motherboard was designed to offer improved cooling and airflow inside computer cases, offering all the features of the ATX style but featuring a different layout. While BTX motherboards never reached the level of popularity that was predicted when they were released, some computer designers prefer the different layout and improved air-cooling features they offer.

ï‚· The BTX motherboard was originally suggested by Intel in 2003, with production starting in 2004. Many of the changes Intel incorporated into the BTX design were an attempt to incorporate low-power processor compatibility into motherboard designs. Gateway, Dell and MPC began using BTX in 2004 and 2005 to help the design succeed in the home computer market. Unfortunately, enthusiasm for the BTX motherboard soon began to fade as the location of the processor on the motherboard made it incompatible with some processor types that feature specific location requirements. As a result, Intel has discontinued support for the BTX motherboard in its products.


ï‚· A BTX motherboard shares many features in common with other motherboard form factors but is designed to allow for greater airflow and ease of cooling. The location of the expansion slots is intended to help keep heat from graphics cards and other expansion cards from rising across RAM and the CPU, and the motherboard itself is mounted with a greater gap between it and the chassis of the computer case so that more airflow can occur underneath the motherboard.


ï‚· There are three sizes of BTX motherboards available. The standard BTX motherboard is 12.7 by 10.4 inches, on par with full-sized computer towers and the standard ATX motherboard. The microBTX motherboard is 10.3 by 10.4 inches, allowing for its use in midtower computer cases. The picoBTX is 7.9 by 10.4 inches, allowing it to be used in significantly smaller cases.

motherboard brand names

1 Asus 

2 Gigabyte 

3 ASRock 

4 MSI 

5 DIF 

Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition

Product information

Intel® Core™ i7-980X processor Extreme Edition

3.33 GHz core speed

Up to 3.6 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

6 cores and 12 processing threads with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology

12 MB Intel® Smart Cache

3 Channels DDR3 1066 MHz memory

32nm manufacturing process technology

Intel® Core™ i7-975 processor Extreme Edition

3.33 GHz core speed

Up to 3.6 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

4 cores and 8 processing threads with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology

8 MB Intel® Smart Cache

3 Channels DDR3 1066 MHz memory

45nm manufacturing process technology

Intel® Core™ i5 Processor

Product information

Intel® Core™ i5-700 and i5-600 processor series with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

4 processing threads

Up to 8 MB of Intel® Smart Cache

Intel® HD Graphics on Intel® Core™ i5-600 processor series

2 channels of DDR3 1333 MHz memory

AMD Phenom™ II Processors

New AMD Turbo CORE Technology

Both the AMD Phenomâ„¢ II X6 1055T and 1090T come equipped with AMD's new Turbo CORE technology. AMD Turbo CORE technology is a performance boosting technology that automatically switches from six cores to three turbocharged core for applications that just need raw speed over multiple cores. While in Turbo CORE mode, the AMD Phenomâ„¢ II X6 1090T shifts frequency speed from 3.2GHz on six cores, to 3.6GHz on three cores, making it the fastest processor AMD has ever created.

There have been many different types of RAM memory in use since it first was used in computers. The RAM memory used in current PCs comes in the form ofDDR and DDR2 and DDR3 memory modules. The correct type that the computer's motherboard supports has to be used. Some motherboards can support two types, such as DDR and DRR2, but most motherboards only support one type. A kit consisting of two 1GB modules of DDR2 memory, for use in a desktop PC, made byCrucial, is shown below. The upper side with the notch and the metallic edge is keyed to fit into the appropriate memory (DIMM) slot, therefore it cannot be installed in the wrong type of slot unless the installer uses the kind of force that will probably destroy the module.

Unless all of the memory slots on a computer's motherboard are already fitted with memory modules, the RAM memory in most desktop and laptops computers can be increased by installing more memory (upgrading the memory). Installing one or more additional memory modules in a desktop or a laptop computer is a simple process that is dealt with at the top of Page 2 of this article.

USB Flash Memory

This is my favorite form of flash memory since it is small, convenient and plugs right into any computer with a USB port. Just about every computer has a USB port these days, so you should be fine.

What is also great about USB flash memory storage units are their ability to be secure if you want them to, and the cost of them are very low for such a good amount of storage capacity.

Secure Digital (SD Card)

A secure digital card (SD) is, in my experience, the best flash memory type avaible on the market today. It was initially created to hold, and prevent duplication, of copyright music files.

But these cards have grown immensely and are very popular with digital camera users due to their low power consumption and small size. There are now a few types of SD cards for purchase, offering transfer rates of varying degrees. SD cards are slowly pushing CompactFlash out of the flash memory business because other cards are just to big compared to SD cards.

SmartMedia Cards

The SmartMedia format (solid state floppy disk card (SSFDC) was developed by Toshiba. This memory-only card has no controller onboard, but it is required on the device to be used.

SmartMedia cards are used with digital devices before 2001 and cannot exceed 128MB (BAD!). This type of flash memory is available out there still, but is definitely the least popular flash memory type.

Compact Flash

Much bigger than other types of flash memory, it is about the size of a matchbook. CompactFlash cards are one of the first to become standard in the digital camera market. With its storage capacities ranging from 8MB to 8GB (Whoa!).

One major benefit of a CompactFlash card is that it contains both memory chips and a controller. This flash memory type has made quite an impact and has become a very popular digital mass-storage device.

Memory Stick

The Memory Stick was developed by Sony in 1999, and was created to make brand loyalty for their digital cameras and camcorders.

Sometimes they are included with the camera or digital device that requires it. Sony computer notebooks also include a Memory Stick reader, so the user will know that the product will work seamlessly without failing.

HP Deskjet D1660

Despite costing the same as a generous round of drinks, the tiny, no-frills Deskjet D1660 colour inkjet printer produces excellent text results and handles simple graphics well. Its photo prints aren't up to the quality of its text output, but they're not bad either, and you can't expect too much at this price.

Brother MFC-3360C

The Brother MFC-3360C may look like it belongs in a Michael J Fox film from the '80s, and it's not the fastest printer you can get your hands on, but it produces decent-quality prints. Besides bearing an affordable price tag, it's also fairly compact and doesn't make much noise

Canon Pixma MX330

The Pixma MX330 is a great choice for those seeking an all-in-one inkjet printer that won't break the bank. It doesn't produce the best-quality prints we've ever seen, but the MX330 still represents great value for money, delivering a robust feature set and decent performance

Epson Stylus D120

Although multifunction devices seem to be all the rage these days, there's still room for low-cost single-function printers designed to do one thing well -- print. The Epson Stylus D120 falls into this category, delivering above average, durable prints and documents,39030163,49305428,00.htm

Monochrome Laser Printers

Oki Printing Solutions B4350 Mono LED Printer, 23ppm, 1200x600, 16MB, PCL6, PS3 Option


Fast printing and excellent text output

Two line LCD helps with ease of use


Ethernet adapter option is expensive

Bottom Line

The B4350 delivers top-notch performance and prints the first page quickly but ethernet support remains an expensive extra.

Brother HL-2040


Competitively priced


Modest output quality

Bottom Line

Light graphics is the only weak spot in this solid performer, which delivers nice speed and text quality at a low price.

NIC is an acronym for Network Interface Card or Network Interface Controller. However, a NIC is actually referred to as a network adapter by most of the population. A NIC is an expansion card, a hardware device attached to a non-portable computer (like a desktop) allowing that computer some new ability. As an expansion card, the NIC specifically allows a computer the ability to connect to a network (such as Ethernet or Wi-FI).


NIC cards serve as conduits between a computer and a network (like Internet). They translate the data on the computer into a form that is transferrable via a network cable and control the data as it is sent to other devices on the network.

Configuration Types

There are three different types of NIC arrangements, or configurations: jumper, software and the newest technology, Plug-and-Play (PnP).

Jumper Configurable NIC Cards

Jumper configurable NIC cards are efficient and easy to use for older equipment. They have physical jumpers (small devices that control computer hardware without the need for software) that determine settings for the interrupt request line, input/output address, upper memory block and type of transceiver.

Software Configurable NIC Cards

Software configurable NIC must be manually configured when installed, but contain a proprietary software program that allows the operator to configure the NIC via a menu, or choose the auto configuration mode that determines what configuration is most suitable.

Plug-and-Play Configurable NIC Cards

Most NICs today use the PnP technology as it does not have to be manually configured, though it can be. PnP NICs will auto-configure upon installation during the system boot-up sequence, but can cause conflicts with the hard drive.

PCI Wireless Adapter Card for Desktop Computers

A PCI wireless adapter card connects to a desktop computer's PCI bus. Because the PCI bus is contained inside the computer, the unit must be opened and the wireless network adapter installed inside.

An example of a PCI wireless adapter card, the Linksys WMP54G (compare prices) is shown above. This unit is more than 8 inches (200 mm) long in order to accommodate the standard connection strip required to electrically join to the bus. The unit attaches and fits snugly inside the PCI, although the wireless adapter card antenna protrudes out the back of the computer.

Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station (Fall 2009)

Product summary

THE GOOD: Fast throughput; easy to use; true dual-band; guest networking; printer and network storage support; aesthetically pleasing design.

THE BAD: Limited networking features; picky support for USB external hard drive; only three Ethernet ports; no Web interface; no remote access for Windows users; supports only 50 clients; only OS X 10.4 or later can access storage feature.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The AirPort Extreme Base Station is a great wireless router for Mac or novice users who need something that's simple, nice-looking, and works well for their homes. Savvy Windows users will find many other alternatives that offer a lot more features for their bucks.

Netgear WG302 access point

The Good: WEP and WPA security; bridge and repeater capabilities; AutoCell technology helps sidestep rival signals.

The Bad: Expensive; AutoCell won't work while using the device as a bridge or a repeater.

The Bottom Line: This access point's high price will seem fair to those with a lot of wireless equipment.;content

Features of Windows XP

Enhanced device driver verifier

Dramatically reduced reboot scenarios

Improved code protection

Side-by-side DLL support

Windows File Protection

Windows Installer

Enhanced software restriction policies

Preemptive multitasking architecture

Scalable memory and processor support

Encrypting File System (EFS) with multi-user support

IP Security (IPSec)

Kerberos support

Smart card support

Internet Explorer Add-on Manager

Windows Firewall

Windows Security Center

Attachment Manager

Data Execution Prevention

Windows Firewall Exception List

Windows Firewall Application and Port Restrictions

Fresh visual design

Fresh visual design

Vista Features

New Graphical Interface

Windows Vista has a different visual look and feel than all previous versions of Windows. The new interface, called "Aero", has a 'glass-like' translucent effect.

If you've seen or used the Mac OS X operating system, you'll recognize the similarities between the two.

New Start Menu

The Start Menu has been overhauled in Vista.

In the Start Menu's Search box, type in a keyword or phrase, and Vista will show you applications, files, e-mail messages, or web site favorites. It updates the list as you type.

Enhanced Search

Vista comes with an improved search function that is integrated into the operating system, meaning that Vista will search throughout the operating system as well as through all your programs. This search function is faster has more thorough search capabilities. 

The search function is available from most places in Vista. To conduct a search, just look for the looking glass icon. You can refine your search criteria, save your searches, and even start up a program, or web page from the search at the bottom of the Start menu. The new search also incorporates "search-as-you-type", so that you'll see results instantly as you're typing.

Live Thumbnail Icons

In previous versions of Windows, you would see a generic application icon Microsoft Word, Thunderbird, etc.) for any open documents. Vista has replaced them with Live Icons (scalable thumbnails), which are used throughout Vista (e.g., in the taskbar). So you can now see the first page of a document, the actual image of a photo, for example, to see immediately what you're looking for.

Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer has also been overhauled in Vista, and includes new options for viewing, grouping, and collecting files and folders. Among the changes/improvements in Vista: a breadcrumb bar for easier navigation, a details pane that displays information on the file or folder that's currently selected, "live icons" that display a thumbnail of the actual contents of a file, an instant search function available for finding files, e-mail messages, web browser favorites, etc., and a preview pane that provides detailed information about files you select as well as additional options for viewing file information.  


Wizards are assistants (actually, computer programs) built into Windows to help you install and set up applications and hardware devices (e.g., printers). Vista comes with impovements in the look of wizards, as well as changes to text messages so that they're clearer and more helpful.


The Sidebar is a brand-new feature in Windows. The Sidebar is a panel on the desktop that enables you to display different "gadgets" (small applications called applets) that are designed for specific purposes (e.g., time, weather, calculator, currency converter, clock, notes, stocks).


Microsoft made security a primary goal for Vista. As a result, Vista comes with numerous security-related improvements and enhancements in response to constant security threats.

User Account Control

This feature is, by default, a reduced privileges mode to prevent anyone on your computer (whether you or anyone else with whom you're sharing your computer) from working as an Administrator. To make any change that would affect the system, an Administrator password is required.


Gives you the ability to encrypt all files on your computer, thereby protecting from viruses, hackers, and other threats. Also offers the option to require a password to access the data.

Windows Defender 

Built into Vista, Windows Defender provides protection against spyware. (Spyware is a computer program that collects personal information about people without their informed consent.) It also watches programs as they install, and can help point out such malware before it hits you in the first place.

Windows Backup and Restore Center

Vista comes with a backup and restore program that enables you to schedule backups, as well as restore files from previous backups. Another feature of this program is CompletePC, which enables you to back up the contents of your entire computer onto another hard disk or DVD.

Parental Controls

Similar to those found on cable television services and video games that enables parents to monitor and limit what a child can see or do on their computer (e.g., blocking certain Internet sites).



Vista has added and improved the ability to maximize computer performance. Below are a few of the performance-enhancing features in Vista.


Technology that enables files to be opened faster by loading them into the computer's memory.


This feature enables you to temporarily boost your computer's performance using a compatible USB flash memory device.


Enables Vista PCs to boot up faster from hibernation to preserve battery power.

Windows 7 features

The Windows 7 operating system shares many features and functions with Windows Vista. It also improves on Vista. Here is a list of features and functions that are unique to Windows 7:

Action Center - allows users to see what alerts Windows 7 shows; a handy way to control those annoying UAC messages while not having to disable it.

Aero Shake - click and shake one open window and all others on the desktop will minimize. 

Aero Snap - drag a window to any edge of the display and it will automatically re-size. 

Aero Peek - point to the right edge of the taskbar to watch open windows turn transparent, revealing all your hidden icons and gadgets

Aero Templates, Themes - new backgrounds and themes unique and created for Windows 7 (including free additional themes downloadable from Microsoft). 

Device Stage - helps users interact with any compatible device connected to a Windows 7 computer; view device status and run common tasks from a single window. The key words here are "compatible devices."

Domain Join - helps business users quickly connect to different office networks.

Gadgets (Improved) - the Sidebar has been eliminated; Gadgets can be placed anywhere; New Gadgets have more functionality. 

Home Group - enables users to quickly and easily create home networks between computers using Windows 7. 

Jump Lists - right-click a program icon and see a list of recently used files that use that program.

Libraries - make it easier to find, work with, and organize documents, music, pictures, and videos scattered across your PC or network. 

Location-Aware Printing - if you travel between offices or home and office, this feature is handy: Windows 7 remembers which network and printer you're using and automatically switches the default printer to match the one you last used. 

Multiplayer Games - Microsoft has revived 3 XP multiplayer games: Internet Checkers, Internet Spades, and Internet Backgammon. 

Networking (Improved) - improved task bar widget that allows for quick network connection and configuration.

Play to function - right-click the music tracks you'd like to hear and select Play To. Play To works with other PCs running Windows 7 and devices compliant with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) media standard. 

Performance (Improved) - For Sleep mode to reconnect with Wireless Networks, limited background processes to those needed for currently used devices, faster desktop searching, and easier setup for external devices. 

Task Bar (Improved) - "pin" favorite programs anywhere on the taskbar; rearrange programs in any way you like by clicking and dragging. Point to a taskbar icon to see a thumbnail preview of open files or programs. Then, move your mouse over a thumbnail to preview the window full-screen. 

Windows Media Center (Improved) - a few new features and integrates with Home Group. 

Windows Media Player 12 - An upgrade from version 11 that plays the most popular audio and video formats-including new support for 3GP, AAC, AVCHD, DivX, MOV, and Xvid; also available by download, no doubt. 

Windows Touch - support for computer touchscreens.

Windows XP Mode - Allows an XP session of Windows to run so that Business applications will work within Windows 7 - however, will not work with most current Intel and some AMD-based computers.

Office package


Acrobat reader

Flash player

Web browsers

Networking softwares-