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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | The Motherboard | Motherboard Integrated Components ]

Printed Circuit Board

I guess the first "integrated component" we should look at is the motherboard board itself! Motherboards are multiple layer printed circuit boards, also sometimes called PCBs. The physical board that you see is actually a sandwich of several thinner layers, each containing some of the circuitry required to connect the various components on the board. At one time this was expensive, difficult-to-manufacture technology, but time and automation has reduced this complexity to the point where the board itself is a minor component of overall cost.

Still, good motherboards are solid and well designed, while cheaper ones tend to be flimsy, and increase the chance of a (virtually impossible to diagnose) electrical problem on the board. In addition, better boards reduce interference problems because of their design, and reduce the chances of problems in assembling the PC. Thin boards are more subject to damage from flexing when inserting peripherals; the thicker the board, the better.

Next: Processor Sockets or Slots

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