What is the meaning of Base plate? Concept and Definition of Base plate

Definition of Base plate

Definition of Base plate

1. Concept of Base plate

Card or central circuit board in a complex electronic equipment (such as a personal computer).
The motherboard is also known as motherboard mainboard, baseboard, system board, Board/card base, etc.
The most basic purpose of motherboards is to provide logical and electrical connections between other components of the system.
A typical motherboard of a desktop computer, consists of a microprocessor, main memory, ports and connectors, etc. The rest of electronic devices such as hard drives, Accelerator graphics, plate etc, sound card are connected to the motherboard via connectors or cables.

Components of a motherboard

A typical motherboard on PC consists of a large printed circuit board which includes as a minimum:
* Sockets, where one or more CPUs are installed.
* Slots, where main memory is installed (usually modules DIMMs with DRAM memory).
* Chipset: Northbridge and Southbridge.
* Chips of non-volatile memory (usually Flash ROM), containing the BIOS or the firmware of the system.
* A clock that produces clock signals to synchronize several components.
* Bays or Sockets for expansion cards.
* Power connectors for distribution among the various computer devices. The electricity is received from the power source.
* Connection ports for devices such as the PS/2 for mouse and keyboard, or USB ports.
* Also some motherboards include cooling devices such as fans.
* Many motherboards include devices that previously only existed as separate cards or plates and should connect to the motherboard using free in the same Sockets. For example, many motherboards come integrated with sound, acceleration of video, modem, etc.

The plates mothers form factors

There are multiple factors shape for motherboards. In general, most of the manufacturers adapt to factors in such a way that they take the plates mothers (including the Macintosh, and the Sun) IBM-compatible computers.

Some form factors are:

* PC/XT - it was created by IBM for the first home computers. The specification was open, so multiple developers were based on this becoming a standard de facto. Size: 8.5 × 11 "| 216 × 279 mm.

* AT (Advanced Technology) - was created by IBM for the successors of the PC/XT. The AT were very popular at the time of the 80386 microprocessors. Size: 12 × 11 "- 13" | 305 × 279-330 mm

* Baby AT - it was developed by IBM in 1985 as a successor to the AT. They were very popular for its small size. Size: 8.5 "× 10" - 13 "| 216 mm × 254-330 mm

* ATX - it was developed by Intel in 1995. Until today (2007) is the factor most popular way for motherboards. Size: 12 "× 9.6" | 305 mm × 244 mm (Intel 1996).

* EATX - size: 12 "× 13" | 305 mm × 330 mm

* microATX - smaller version of the ATX (25% smaller). It supports less expansion cards and is very popular in small computers. Size in 1996: 9.6 "× 9.6" | 244 mm × 244 mm.

* FlexATX - a subset of the microATX developed by Intel in 1999. Size: 9.6 "× 9.6" | 244 × 244 mm max.

* LPX - size: 9 "× 11" - 13 "| 229 mm × 279-330 mm

* NLX - size: 8 "-9" × 10 "- 13, 6" | 203-229 mm × 254-345 mm

* BTX (Balanced Technology Extended) - standard proposed by Intel in early 2000 to be successor of the ATX.

* Mini-ITX - very small and highly integrated form factor developed by VIA in 2001 for small devices. Size: 6.7 "× 6.7" | 170 mm × 170 mm max.

* WTX - form factor created by Intel in 1998 for servers and work stations with multiple CPUs and hard drives. Size: 14 "× 16.75" | 355.6 mm × 425,4 mm

Manufacturers of motherboards

The three leading manufacturers of motherboards are Foxconn, ASUS and Intel. Then there are others such as AOpen, ASRock, BFG Technologies, Biostar, Chaintech, DFI, ECS, EPoX, eVGA, FIC, Gigabyte, Jetway, Mach Speed, Magic-Pro, MSI, Mercury, Shuttle, Soyo, Supermicro, Tyan, Universal abit (ABIT), VIA, and XFX.

The architecture of a typical motherboard schematic chart
Gráfico esquemático de la arquitectura de una placa madre típica
Graphic diagram of a typical motherboard computer with its components: the North Bridge, South Bridge, buses, CPU, etc.

2. Definition of Base plate

A computer is created from multiple components. On a computer, one of the most important elements is the base plate, which can also be called as mother board or, in English, as a motherboard.
This plate has multiple printed circuit that enables the interconnection of the different elements that are part of the computer. For this, available connectors and sockets that allow you to specify the necessary links between each of these elements.
The motherboard also has integrated a firmware which is known as BIOS. This kind of software begins to develop its functions at the same time that turns the computer, loading the operating system and providing essential hardware instructions.
Plate base is also the CMOS memory which, thanks to a battery, is still running when the computer is turned off. In this way, CMOS memory is used to store the configuration of the computer, the day and time, among other important data that can not miss while the computer does not receive power.
Although, in general, the motherboard only it has space for a microprocessor, there are cards that are capable of making the connection of multiple processors. The management of two or more microprocessors on a same motherboard can develop in a symmetrical way (tasks are distributed equally between the processors) or asymmetric (each one of the microprocessors developed a different function).
Among the leading manufacturers of motherboards, we can mention Intel, Dell, Foxconn, ASUS, VIA, MSI and Biostar, among others.

3 Meaning of Base plate

Introduction to motherboards

The first component of a computer is the motherboard (also called the "base plate"). The motherboard is the hub that is used to connect all the essential components of the computer.
Placa madre

As its name implies, the motherboard functions as a "mother" plate, which takes the form of a large printed circuit board with connectors for expansion cards, modules, memory, processor, etc.


There are many ways to describe a motherboard, especially the following:
  • form factor;
  • the chipset;
  • the type of socket for processor used;
  • input and output connectors.

Motherboard form factor

The term form factor (English < em > form factor < /em >) is normally used to refer to geometry, dimensions, availability and the electrical requirements of your motherboard. To manufacture motherboards that can be used in different housings of different brands, some standards have been developed:
  • En miniature/size AT full is a format used by the first computers with 386 and 486 processors. This format was replaced by the ATX format, which favoured a better air circulation and facilitated access to the components at the same time.
  • ATX: the ATX form factor is an update to the en miniature. It was designed to improve ease of use. The plates mother ATX connection unit is designed for easy connection of peripherals (for example, IDE connectors are located near the discs). In this way, the components of the motherboard are arranged in parallel. This provision guarantees better cooling.
    • Standard ATX: traditionally, the format of the standard ATX is 305 x 244 mm It includes an AGP connector and 6 PCI connectors.
    • micro-ATX: microATX format is an update to the ATX, which possesses the same advantages in a smaller format (244 x 244 mm), at a lower cost. The Micro-ATX includes an AGP connector and 3 PCI connectors.
    • Flex-ATX: FlexATX is an expansion of the microATX, offering greater flexibility for manufacturers when designing their computers at the same time. It includes an AGP connector and 2 PCI connectors.
    • mini-ATX: the system arises as an alternative compact format microATX (284 x 208 mm) and includes 4 conectoresPCI instead of 3 of the microATX, one AGP connector and turn. It was primarily designed for mini-PC (barebone computers).
  • BTX: the BTX (Technology balanced extended) format, supported by the Intel brand, is a format designed to improve both the layout of components and airflow, acoustics and heat dissipation. Different connectors (memory slots, expansion slots) are distributed in parallel, in the direction of the airflow. In this way, the microprocessor is located at the end of the casing, near the entrance of aeration, where the air is cooler. The power cord of the BTX is the same as the of the ATX power supply. The BTX standard defines three formats:
    • BTX standard, with standard dimensions of 325 x 267 mm;
    • micro-BTX, with reduced dimensions (264 x 267 mm);
    • pico-BTX, with extremely reduced dimensions (203 x 267 mm).
  • ITX: ITX (technology information extended), supported by Via, is a very compact format designed for configurations thumbnail such as mini-PCs. There are two types of major ITX format:
    • mini-ITX, with small size (170 x 170 mm) and one PCI slot;
    • nano-ITX, with very small dimensions (120 x 120 mm) and a miniPCI slot. For this reason, the choice of motherboard and its form factor depends on the choice of housing. The table that follows summarizes the characteristics of the different form factors.

Form factorDimensions Slots
ATX305 x 244 mm AGP/PCI 6
microATX305 x 244 mm AGP/3 PCI
FlexATX229 x 191 mm AGP/2 PCI
Mini ATX284 x 208 mm AGP/4 PCI
Mini ITX170 x 244 mm 1 PCI
Nano ITX120 x 244 mm 1 MiniPCI
BTX325 x 267 mm 7
microBTX264 x 267 mm 4
picoBTX203 x 267 mm 1

Integrated components

The motherboard contains a number of built-in components, which means in turn that they are integrated to your printed circuit board:
  • the chipset, a circuit that controls the majority of resources including (bus interface with the processor, hidden memory and random-access memory), expansion, etc.
  • the clock and the CMOS battery,
  • the BIOS,
  • the system bus and the expansion bus.

In this way, recent motherboards generally include many multimedia devices and integrated network that can be disabled if required:
  • integrated network card;
  • integrated graphics;
  • integrated sound card;
  • updated hard disk controllers.

The chipset

The chipset is an electronic circuit whose function consists in coordinating the transfer of data between the various components of the computer (including processor and memory). Taking into account that the chipset is integrated to the motherboard, it is of utmost importance choose a plate mother that includes a recent chipset to maximize the ability to update the computer.
Some chipsets may include a chip graphics or audio, which means that it is not necessary to install a graphics or sound card. However, in some cases is recommended to deactivate it (whenever possible) in the BIOS Setup and install high quality expansion cards into the appropriate slots.

The clock and the CMOS battery

Real-time clock ( RTC) is a circuit whose function is the sync signals from the system. It consists of a crystal that, when it vibrates, emitting pulses (known as pulses of timer) to keep the elements of the system running at the same time. The timer frequency (expressed in MHz) is not more than the number of times that the glass vibrates per second, i.e., the number of Timer pulses per second. The higher the frequency, the greater the amount of information that the system can process.
When the computer is turned off, the power supply lets instantly provide power to the motherboard. To turn on again the computer, the system remains in time. An electronic circuit called CMOS (complementary metal oxide Semiconductor), also called BIOS CMOS, retains some system data, such as time, the date of the system and some essential system settings.
The CMOS is fed continuously thanks to a battery (battery type button) or to a battery located on the motherboard. Information about the hardware in the computer (such as the number of tracks or each hard disk sectors) is stored directly in the CMOS. As CMOS is a storage type slow, in some cases, certain systems usually proceed to copying the contents of the CMOS memory RAM (fast) storage; the term "shadow memory" is used to describe this process of copying information in RAM.
"Complementary metal oxide semiconductor" is a manufacturing technology of transistors, the latest in a long list that includes at the same time the TTL (Transistor-transistor logic), TTLS (Schottky Transistor-transistor logic) (faster) or NMOS (negative channel metal oxide Semiconductor) and PMOS (positive channel metal oxide Semiconductor).
CMOS allows the execution of numerous complementary channels on a single chip. Unlike TTL or TTLS, the CMOS is much slower, but dramatically reduces energy consumption; This is the reason why is used as computers powered battery-operated clock. Sometimes, the term CMOS is mistakenly used to refer to the clocks of computers.
When the hour of the computer reboots continuously or if the clock is late, usually only you must change the battery.


The BIOS (basic input / output system) is the program that is used as an interface between the operating system and motherboard. The BIOS can be stored in the ROM (read only memory, which can be written only) and uses the data stored in the CMOS for the configuration of the system hardware.
The BIOS can be configured by means of a (called the BIOS Setup) interface, which is accessed when you start your computer by pressing a key (usually the deletekey. In fact, the BIOS setting is used only as interface for configuration; data is stored in the CMOS. For more information, please consult the manual of your motherboard).

Processor socket

(Also called a microprocessor) processor is the brain of the computer. Run programs from a set of instructions. The processor is characterized by its frequency, i.e. the speed with which runs different instructions. This means that a 800 MHz processor can perform a billion operations per second.
The motherboard has a slot (sometimes has several on multiprocessor motherboards) which inserts the processor, and called the processor socket or slot.
  • Slot: it is a rectangular connector in which a processor is inserted vertically.
  • Socket: as well as being a general term also refers more specifically to a connector square with many small connectors that is directly inserted the processor.

Within these two groups, different versions are used according to the type of processor. Apart from the type of socket or slot is used, it is essential that the processor is inert gently so not to kink no plug (there are hundreds of them). To insert them easier, it has created a concept called ZIF (zero insertion force). ZIF sockets have a small lever that, when it rises, inserts the processor without applying pressure. To get off, this keeps the processor in place.
In general, the processor has some kind of infallible device shaped like a corner with nicks or colorful marks, which must be aligned with the respective marks of the socket.
Ventiladores y radiadores

Since the processor emits heat, it is necessary to dispel it prevent the circuits will melt. This is the reason that is usually mounted on a heat sink (also called fan or radiator), made of a conductive metal of heat (copper or aluminum) in order to expand the surface of the processor temperature transfer. Heat sink includes a base in contact with the processor and fins to increase heat transfer surface. The cooler is usually accompanied by a fan to improve air circulation and heat transfer. The unit also includes a fan that exhausts the hot air of the casing, get fresh air from the outside.

RAM connectors

RAM (random access memory) is used to store data while running the computer; However, the contents are removed to shut down or restart the computer, unlike the mass storage devices such as hard disks, which hold the information securely, even when the computer is off. This is the reason why the RAM memory is known as "volatile".
Then, why should one use RAM, when hard drives cost less and have a similar storage capacity? The answer is that the RAM is extremely fast compared to devices mass storage such as hard drives. It has a response time of around a dozen nanoseconds (close to 70 by DRAM, EDO RAM 60 and 10 by SDRAM; only 6 ns for DDR SDRAM) Unlike a few milliseconds in the hard drives.
RAM memory is presented in the form of modules that connect to the motherboard connectors.

Expansion slots

The expansion slots are compartments where you can insert expansion cards. These are cards that offer new capabilities or improvements in the performance of the computer. There are various types of slots:
  • ISA (industry standard architecture) slots: allow you to insert ISA slots. The slower the 16-bit.
  • Slots VLB (Vesa Local Bus): this bus was used to install graphics cards.
  • PCI (peripheral component interconnect) slot: used to connect PCI cards, which are much faster than ISA cards and run in 32 bit mode.
  • AGP (accelerated graphics port) slot: is a port for graphics cards.
  • PCI Express (rapid peripheral component interconnect) slots: is faster than the buses AGP and PCI bus architecture.
  • AMR (audio/modem elevator) slot: this type of slots is used to connect miniature cards built for PC.

Tarjeta PCI

Input and output connectors.

The motherboard contains a certain number of regrouped on the back panel input/output connectors.
Conectores en el panel trasero

Most motherboards have the following connectors:
  • A serial port that allows you to connect older peripherals;
  • A parallel port to connect older printers;
  • (1.1 Low speed) or high speed 2.0 USB ports which allow you to connect most recent peripherals;
  • RJ45 connector (known as LAN or Ethernet port) that allow you to connect your computer to a network. It corresponds to a motherboard integrated network card;
  • VGA connector (known as SUB-D15) that allow you to connect the monitor. This Connector interacts with the integrated graphics;
  • Audio connectors (line in, line out and microphone), which allow you to connect speakers or a hi-fi sound or microphone system. This Connector interacts with the integrated sound card.

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