Do you own a PC? Whether it’s a desktop or laptop, it probably has a motherboard. The motherboard is arguably the most important component of a PC. Without it, you won’t be able to turn on or use your PC. Because it’s found inside the case, though, it often goes unnoticed. To learn more about motherboards and why they are important, keep reading.

What Is a Motherboard?

Also known as a mainboard, a motherboard is a large printed circuit board that’s used in PCs. Your PC probably has a case. The case is the housing structure that contains all of its respective parts. Within the case is the motherboard, which serves as the primary printed circuit board. Other parts will connect or attach to the motherboard, resulting in a complete PC.

What Parts Connect to the Motherboard

Several other parts will connect to your PC’s motherboard. The motherboard, for instance, will likely feature two to four random access memory (RAM) slots. Most laptop PCs have two RAM slots, whereas most desktop PCs have four RAM slots. You can upgrade your PC’s RAM by removing the existing RAM sticks from these slots and adding new, higher-capacity RAM sticks in their place.

In addition to RAM, the motherboard supports the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The CPU, of course, is the main computer processor. It’s responsible for performing computing processes, which are used by nearly all applications and programs. The motherboard features a square-shaped bed that’s designed to support the CPU.

The motherboard also supports the graphics card. As the name suggests, the graphics card is responsible for processing visual graphics. Some motherboards have a built-in graphics card. Other motherboards have a slot in which you can add or remove a graphics card.

Signs Your PC’s Motherboard Is Failing

Motherboards can fail. If your PC’s motherboard is beginning to fail, you may notice one or more symptoms. The Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is a common symptom of a failing motherboard. It involves an error message that’s displayed in the form of a blue screen. If you see a BSOD when using your PC, it may be suffering from a failing motherboard.

Overheating is another common symptom of a failing motherboard. The CPU, graphics card and RAM will produce heat. Under normal circumstances, they should produce a minimal amount of heat that’s safely dissipated with the help of a fan. A failing motherboard, however, may cause some of these parts to produce an excessive amount of heat.

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