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Unit 2: Motherboard

Prepared by : Mohd Zuhaimi b Zolkifli

• The Motherboard is the main chassis of
the PC.
• All data that flows from component to
component inside the computer at some
point goes through the motherboard.
• That is the Motherboards main function to
direct data flow to the right components.
Function of motherboard main
•Expansion Slot •Sockets
•Buses •Ports
CPU – Central Processing Unit
• The ‘brain’ of computer
• The portion of a computer system that
carries out the instructions of a computer
• Does all the calculations and performs
90% of all the functions of a computer.
Processor Socket/Slot (1)
• Sockets are basically flat and have several rows
of holes arranged in a square.

• Processor slot is another method of connecting

processor on the motherboard – but one which
an Intel Pentium II or Pentium III-class processor
on a special expansion card can be inserted.

• More complex processor (Intel Itanium) use a

package known as a pin array cartridge (PAC).
Processor Socket/Slot (2)


Type of Expansion Slot (1)
Type of Expansion Slot (2)
Related Buses
What is bus? The paths the computer uses
to transport data from one component to
another. (It doesn't matter how fast your CPU is or your disk
drive if the bus isn't wide and fast.)

Fast and wide? The width of the bus is

determined by how many bits of data the
bus can transfer in one operation. (Therefore, a
32-bit bus is wider than a 16-bit bus.) The speed of a
bus is rated in megahertz (MHz), which is
one million cycles per second. (A single hertz is
one electronic cycle that performs one operation.)
Difference between computer
• Data width To determine the bandwidth, or
the total amount of data that the
• Cycle rate bus can transmit.

• Device The maximum number of

supported devices and the
Management difficulty of configuring them.

Two types of bus

• Type communications, serial and
Front Side Bus - FSB
• The FSB is the interface between the CPU and the
motherboard, specifically the North Bridge/Memory
Controller Hub.

• Also connects the various hardware components to

the main microprocessor, or central processing unit

• The FSB is bi-directional, meaning data can flow both

ways, allowing components to send and receive data
from the CPU.

• Speed of FSB is depends on how wide the front side

bus is, its frequency, and the amount of data it can
process per clock tick of the CPU
FSB - Example
Memory Bus
• The memory bus is the interface between
the RAM and the motherboard

• The memory bus is made up of two parts:

the data bus and the address bus

– Data Bus: which carries actual memory data

within the PC

– Address Bus: used to select the memory

address that the data will come from or go to
on a read or write
Input/Output Buses (1)
• I/O buses connect the CPU to all other
components, except RAM.
• On modern PCs, usually they are four
– ISA bus, which is an old low speed bus, soon to be
excluded from the PC design.
– PCI bus, which is a new high speed bus.
– USB bus (Universal Serial Bus), which is a new
low speed bus.
– AGP bus, which solely is used for the graphics card.
Input/Output Buses (2)
What’s a chipset? A collection of chips or
circuits that perform interface and
peripheral functions for the processor.

Collection? Usually the circuitry that

provides interfaces for memory, expansion
cards, onboard peripherals and generally
dictates how a motherboard will talk to the
installed peripherals.

- Functions of chipset can be divided into

two major functional groups : Northbridge
and Southbridge.
• Management of high-speed peripheral

• Responsible for communications with

integrated video using AGP and PCIe, and
processor-to-memory communications.
• Responsible for providing support to the
myriad onboard peripheral (PS/2, Parallel,
IDE etc), managing their communications
with the rest of the computer and the
resource given to them.

• Also responsible for managing

communications with the other expansion
buses (PCI, USB and legacy buses).
Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)
• Special memory chip contains the BIOS software that
tells the processor how to interact with the rest of the
hardware in the computer.
• PC has to keep certain setting when it’s turned off
such as:
– Date
– Time
– Hard Drive Configuration
– Memory
• PC keeps these settings in a special memory chip
called the Complimentary Metal Oxide
Semiconductor (CMOS) chip.
• To keep it setting, the memory must have
power constantly.
• Motherboard manufacturers include a
small battery called CMOS Battery to
power the CMOS memory.
Socket (1)
• IDE Socket
– Usually use to
connect hard
drive, CD-RW,
DVD etc. JTAG IDE Socket

IDE Connector
Socket (2)
• SIMM Socket
– holds a single
– SIMM (single in-
line memory
module )
Socket (3)
• DIMM Socket
– Usually use for
non-standard DRAM
module etc
– DIMM - Dual in-line
memory module,
comprises a series of
dynamic random
access memory
integrated circuits
Socket (4)
• FDD Socket
– used for floppy disk
Port (1)
• USB Port
– the easiest and
most common
technique for
– simply plug the
hardware into your
Port (2)
• iLink/IEEE
– the highest-
hardware connection
– used for digital video
cameras and
external hard disks
– Most new computers
include at least one
iLink port
Port (3)
• PC Card
– to support extremely small accessories, such as wireless adapters
Port (4)
• PS/2
– the standard
connection for your
keyboard and
Port (5)
• Serial or parallel
– the oldest
connection type for
external hardware
– are easy to connect
– software configures
these connections
Main Memory
• Also known as RAM (Random Access Memory)
• Needs to have electrical power in order to
maintain its information (When power is lost, the
information is lost too!)
• It can be directly accessed by the CPU
• Main memory is expensive compared to
external memory so it has limited capacity
How it work?
• A memory chip is an integrated circuit
(IC) made of millions of transistors and
• A transistor and a capacitor are paired to
create a memory cell, which represents a
single bit of data. (in DRAM)
• The capacitor holds the bit of information.
• The transistor acts as a switch that lets the
control circuitry on the memory chip read
the capacitor or change its state.
• A capacitor is like a small bucket-
that is able to store electrons.

• To store a 1 in the memory cell,

the bucket is filled with electrons.
To store a 0, it is emptied.

• The problem with the capacitor's

bucket is that it has a leak.

• The memory controller has to

come along and recharge all of
the capacitors holding a 1 before
they discharge.

• The memory controller reads the

memory and then writes it right
Memory Organisation
Auxiliary memory
tapes I/O Main
processor memory

CPU Cache



Main Memory

Magnetic Disk

Magnetic Tape
Memory Signals
• Each motherboard supports memory
based on the speed of the front side bus
(FSB) and the memory’s form factor.
• Example: if FSB rated at max speed
533MHz and memory rated at 300MHz,
the memory will operate at only 300Mhz.
(make the computer operate slower than
what it could)
Memory Packaging
• The memory slots on the motherboard are
designed for particular module form
factors or styles.
• DIP, SIMM and SIPP are obsolete
memory packages.
• The most popular form factors for primary
memory modules today are DIMM, RIMM,
SoDIMM and MicroDIMM
Memory Module – SIMM (1)
• Single in-line memory module
• containing random access memory used in
computers from the early 1980s to the late 1990s

• DRAM technologies used in SIMMs include EDO

and FPM.

• The first variant of SIMMs has 30 pins and provides

9 bits of data.
• The second variant of SIMMs has 72 pins and
provides 32 bits of data (36 bits in parity versions)
Memory Module – SIMM (2)
30 pins
Size: 256 KB, 1 MB, 4 MB,
16 MB
Have 12 address lines,
which can provide a total of
24 address bits.
With an 8 bit data width, this
leads to an absolute
maximum capacity of 16
72 pins MiB.

Standard sizes: 1 MiB, 2 MiB, 4 MiB, 8 MiB, 16 MiB,

32 MiB, 64 MiB, 128 MiB
With 12 address lines, which can provide a total of
24 address bits, two ranks of chips, and 32 bit data
output, the absolute maximum capacity is 227 = 128
Memory Module – DIMM (1)
• Dual In-line Memory Module
• comprises a series of dynamic random
access memory integrated circuits.
• 64-bit memory modules that are used as a
package for the SDRAM family (SDRAM,
DDR and DDR2.
• DIMM differentiate the functionality of the
pins on one side of the module from the
corresponding pins on the other side.
Memory Module – DIMM (2)

168-pin SDRAM module

184-pin DDR SDRAM module

DIMM slots
Memory Module – DIMM (3)
• DIMM range in capacity from 8 MB to 1
GB per module and can be installed singly
instead of in pairs.
• Another standard, Rambus in-line
memory module (RIMM), is comparable
in size and pin configuration to DIMM but
uses a special memory bus to greatly
increase speed.
Memory Module – SODIMM (1)
• Many brands of notebook computers use
proprietary memory modules, but several
manufacturers use RAM based on the small
outline dual in-line memory module
(SODIMM) configuration.
• SODIMM cards are small, about 2 x 1 inch (5 x
2.5 cm), and have 144 or 200 pins.
• Capacity ranges from 16 MB to 1 GB per
• Sub-notebook computers use even smaller
DIMMs, known as MicroDIMMs, which have
either 144 pins or 172 pins.
Memory Module – SODIMM (2)
Type Of Memory (DRAM)
• Dynamic random access memory
• Has memory cells with a
transistor and capacitor requiring
constant refreshing.
Type Of Memory (SRAM)
• Static random access memory
• Uses multiple transistors, typically four to
six, for each memory cell but doesn't have
a capacitor in each cell. It is used primarily
for cache.
Type Of Memory (FPM DRAM)
• Fast page mode dynamic random
access memory
• It waits through the entire process of
locating a bit of data by column and row.
• Then reading the bit before it starts on the
next bit.
• Maximum transfer rate to L2 cache is
approximately 176 MBps.
Type Of Memory (VideoRAM)
• A type of RAM used specifically for video
adapters or 3D accelerators.
• VRAM normally has two independent access
ports allowing the CPU and graphics processor
to access the RAM simultaneously.
• VRAM is located on the graphics card and
comes in a variety of formats.
• The amount of VRAM is a determining factor in
the resolution and color depth of the display.
• VRAM is also used to hold graphics-specific
information such as 3-D geometry data and
texture maps.
Type Of Memory (EDO DRAM)
• Extended data-out dynamic random
access memory
• Does not wait for all of the processing of
the first bit before continuing to the next
• As soon as the address of the first bit is
located, EDO DRAM begins looking for
the next bit.
• It is about five percent faster than FPM.
Maximum transfer rate to L2 cache is
approximately 264 MBps.
Type Of Memory (SDRAM)
• Synchronous dynamic random access
• Takes advantage of the burst mode concept to
greatly improve performance.
• It does this by staying on the row containing the
requested bit and moving rapidly through the
columns, reading each bit as it goes.
• The idea is that most of the time the data
needed by the CPU will be in sequence.
• SDRAM is about five percent faster than EDO
RAM and is the most common form in desktops
today. Maximum transfer rate to L2 cache is
approximately 528 MBps.
Memory bank system
How memory load onto
Operating System and Boot
• OS – provides a
consistent Devices
environment for
other software to
execute commands.
• Gives users an
interface with the Hard disks OS Memory
computer so they
can send commands
(input) and receive
feedback or result Input/Output
OS Terms and Concept
• Version – normally described by a
number, which tells you how new the
product is in relation to other versions of
the product.
• Source – actual code that defines how a
piece of software work. (open source:
can modify/ close source: can't modify)
• Shell – a program that runs on top of the
OS and allows the user to issue
commands through a set of menus or
some other graphical interface.
• Graphical User Interface (GUI) – a method
by which a person communicates with a
• Network – any group of computer that have a
communication link between them.
• Cooperative Multitasking – a multitasking
method that depends on the application itself
to be responsible for using and then freeing
access to the processor.
• Preemptive Multitasking – a multitasking
method in which OS allots each
application a certain amount of processor
time and then forcibly takes back control
and gives another application or task
access to the processor.
• Multithreading – ability of a single
application to have multiple requests in to
the processor at one time.
Microsoft Windows
• Microsoft Windows was born out of the
Microsoft Disk Operating Systems (MS-
• The limitations of the DOS command-line
interface became apparent.
• Solution – make the OS easier to
navigate, more uniform, and user friendly.
• 1985 – 1st version of Windows was
Windows 1
Window 1 - 1985
• Featured the tiling window, mouse
support, and menu systems.
• Also offered cooperative multitasking,
meaning that more than one Windows
application could run concurrently.
• It didn’t use icons.
• More graphical version of the
DOSSHELL.exe program.
Windows 2
Windows 2.0 - 1987
• Added icons and allowed application
windows to overlap each other, as well as
• Support was also added for PIFs (program
information files), which allowed the user
to configures Windows to run their DOS
applications more efficiently.
Windows 3.x
Windows 3.x – 1990an
• A far more flexible memory model (more
than 640kb – normally imposed by DOS)
• The addition of the File Manager and
Program Manager
• Allowed for network support.
• Could operate in 386 Enhanced mode
(used part of the hard drive as virtual memory –
able to use disk memory to supplement the RAM
in the machine.)
• Version 3.1(1992) – provide better
graphical display capability and multimedia
support, improved Windows error-
protection system and let application work
together easily (object linking and embedding OLE)

• Version 3.11 (Windows for Workgroup) –

support both 16-bit and 32-bit application.
Windows 95
Windows 95 - 1995
• Integrated the OS and the shell.
• Designed to be hybrid of the features of
previous DOS versions and newer 32-bit
• Support both 32-bit and 16-bit driver as
well as DOS driver.
• Support for Plug and Play (PnP) standard.
Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP
Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP
• Windows 98/Me released after 95.
• Then Windows NT – designed to be far more
powerful, uses an architecture based entirely
on 32-bit code and is capable of accessing
up to 4GB of RAM.
• Then Windows 2000 – used the same
interface as Windows 98 with a few important
• Windows XP – come in 3 version (XP Home,
XP Professional and Media Center), contains
more corporate and network features.
Other OS
• Windows Server 2003
• Windows Vista
• Linux
Boot Process
• Supplying Power
• Bootstrap
• Core Test
• OS Search
• Loading OS
Supplying Power
• The internal power supply turns on and
• The power supply takes some time until it can
generate reliable power for the rest of the
computer, and having it turn on prematurely
could potentially lead to damage.
• Therefore, the chipset will generate a reset
signal to the processor until it receives the
Power Good signal from the power supply.
• A technique which a simple computer program
activates a more complicated system of
• Example: In the start up process of a computer
system, a small program such as BIOS,
initializes and tests that hardware, peripherals
and external memory devices are connected,
then loads a program from one of them and
passes control to it, thus allowing the loading of
larger programs, such as an operating system.
Power-on self-test (POST)
• It is the first step of the more general
process called initial program load (IPL),
booting, or bootstrapping.
• On power up, the main duties of POST
are handled by the BIOS, which may hand
some of these duties to other programs
designed to initialize very specific
peripheral devices, notably for video and
SCSI initialization.
Principal duties of the main BIOS
during POST
• Verify the integrity of the BIOS code itself
• Find, size, and verify system main memory
• Discover, initialize, and catalog all system buses
and devices
• Pass control to other specialized BIOSes (if and
when required)
• Provide a user interface for system's
• Identify, organize, and select which devices are
available for booting
• Construct whatever system environment that is
required by the target OS
POST beeps code
Beeps Meaning

Steady, short beeps Power supply may be bad

Long continuous beeps Memory failure

Steady, long beeps Power supply bad

No Beeps Power supply bad, system not plugged in, or

power not turned on
One long, two short Video card failure
1st stage of typical POST

2nd stage of a POST

Boot Process of DOS Operating
1. Once the computer system is turned on,
the BIOS performs a series of activities
called POST that checks to see whether
the peripherals in the system are in
perfect order.
2. This Pre Boot Sequence consists of a
series of steps that starts with the
execution of software stored in the ROM
called firmware.
3. After the BIOS is done with the pre boot
activities, it searches for the Master Boot
Record in the first physical sector of the
bootable disk.
4. Note that a floppy disk cannot be
partitioned and hence does not contain
the MBR. Hence, if the bootable disk is
floppy, this process is skipped and the
boot strap loader is loaded in the
5. If the bootable disk is not the floppy, the
MBR finds and searches the partition
table to load and scan all the extended
partitions to find the primary partition.
6. When it finds one, it implies that it is the
bootable partition, and, the Operating
System loader (bootstrap loader) is
loaded from that partition onto the
7. A boot strap loader is a special program
that is present in the boot sector of the
bootable drive
8. MS DOS Operating system comprises of the following files: ---


•IO.Sys Should be present in the

bootable drive
If not found, then the
•Command.Com message,"Non-system
disk or disk error -
Replace and press any
key when ready"

•Autoexec.bat Optional
9. The boot strap loader first loads the IO.Sys file.
(responsible for Input Output in the DOS
10. The next file that is loaded is the MSDOS.sys
which is the core of the DOS operating system.
(responsible for Memory management and
Processor Management in the DOS environment.)
11. The MSDOS.Sys file now searches to find the
name of the command interpreter in the
Config.Sys file and when it finds one, it loads the
same onto the memory.
12. If no command interpreter is specified in the
Config.Sys file, the Command.Com file is loaded
as it is the default command interpreter of DOS
Operating system.
13. You can load a different command interpreter by
specifying the following in the Config.Sys file.
14. The last file to be loaded and executed is
the Autoexec.bat file that contains a
sequence of DOS commands.
15. Now, the prompt is displayed and you
can see the drive letter of the bootable
drive displayed on your screen indicative
of the fact that the Operating System has
been loaded successfully from that drive.
Boot Disc

– A boot disk will allow you to boot off of a
diskette instead of your hard drive. This
diskette can be used to fix issues that may
arise during the lifetime of your computer.
Creating a Window XP boot disk
• The Microsoft Windows XP CD is a
bootable CD and in many cases you
should not need a bootable floppy
diskette. Booting from the Windows XP
CD will allow you to not only install/re-
install Windows XP but will also allow you
to troubleshoot it.
Important file in Boot Disc
• Boot.ini - which contains configuration
options for a boot menu.
• NTLDR - which contains the main Boot
loader itself
• Ntdetect.com - To load an NT-based OS

(NTLDR is actually required. If boot.ini is missing, NTLDR

will default to \Windows on the first partition of the first hard
drive. Many desktops in the home are in this configuration
and a missing boot.ini file will simply generate an error
stating it is missing, then boot into Windows successfully.)
Create MS-DOS bootable
When formatting a floppy diskette, users have the
option of creating a MS-DOS startup disk,
follow the below steps to do this.
1. Place diskette in the computer.
2. Open My Computer, right-click the A: drive and
click Format.
3. In the Format window, check Create an MS-
DOS startup disk.
4. Click Start
How to use a boot diskette
1. Place the diskette into write-protect mode (in case a
virus is on the computer, this will not allow the virus
to transfer itself onto the diskette).
2. Insert the diskette into the computer and reset or
turn on the computer to begin the boot process.
3. As the computer is booting, answer the questions
prompted (if any).
4. Once at the A:\> take the appropriate actions
depending upon the situation of the computer.
Resources System

• Interrupt Request (IRQ)

• DMA Channel
• I/O Addresses
Interrupt Requests (IRQ)
What? IRQ manage various hardware
operations. Devices such as sound cards,
modems, and keyboards can all send
interrupt requests to the processor.
Example: when the modem needs to run a
process, it sends an interrupt request to
the CPU saying, "Hey, hold up, let me do
my thing!" The CPU then interrupts its
current job to let the modem run its
IRQ (2)
• It is important to assign different IRQ addresses to
different hardware devices - the interrupt request
signals run along single IRQ lines to a controller.
• This interrupt controller assigns priorities to incoming
IRQs and sends them to the CPU.
• Since the interrupt controller can control only one
device per IRQ line, if you assign the same IRQ
address to multiple devices, you are likely to get an
IRQ conflict. This can cause a range of errors from not
allowing network connections to crashing your
• So make sure you assign unique IRQs to new
hardware you install and avoid the frustration and
keyboard throwing that conflicts can cause.
Direct Memory Access (DMA)
• Method of transferring data from the computer's
RAM to another part of the computer without
processing it using the CPU.
• While most data that is input or output from your
computer is processed by the CPU, some data
does not require processing, or can be processed
by another device.
• In these situations, DMA can save processing
time and is a more efficient way to move data from
the computer's memory to other devices.
DMA (2)
• For example, a sound card may need to
access data stored in the computer's
RAM, but since it can process the data
itself, it may use DMA to bypass the CPU
• In order for devices to use direct memory
access, they must be assigned to a DMA
channel. Each type of port on a computer
has a set of DMA channels that can be
assigned to each connected device.
I/O Addresses
• Resources used by virtually every device
in the computer.
• Conceptually; they represent locations in
memory that are designated for use by
various devices to exchange information
between themselves and the rest of the
I/O Addresses Spaces
• Unlike IRQ and DMA channels, which are
of uniform size and normally assigned one
per device, some devices use more than
one because many devices wrapped into
one package such as sound card.
• I/O addresses vary in size - some devices
have much more information to move
around than others
Motherboard Fault Symptoms
Basic Troubleshooting Method