What Are the Different Types of Motherboards?

What Are the Different Types of Motherboards
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Motherboards are the most important part of any PC since they’re responsible for making each connected peripheral communicate with each other, making them the communication hub of your PC. Whether you’re buying a pre-manufactured setup or if you’re building your own, you’ll need to ensure the quality of your motherboard.

There are plenty of different types on the market, and they each have their specs. In this guide, we’ll answer, what are the different types of motherboards as well as what they bring to the table.

The Most Common Motherboard Types

Most often, motherboards are classified by size, also known as form factors. The form factor of your motherboard is dependent on the size of your computer case.

What Are the Different Types of Motherboards

It will also determine the number of ports that allow peripherals to be connected. Today, there are several form factors including AT, ATX, Baby XT, and XT.

1. AT Motherboards

AT (Advanced Technology) motherboards were the hardware of choice for years, ever since they were developed in the 80s by IBM. The first thing you’re sure to notice about AT motherboards is their size simply because they’re traditionally twice as big as more modern boards. Their most common features include:

  • SD RAM slots
  • PGA sockets
  • 20 pin connectors
  • PCI and ISA expansion slots
  • Serial mouse connector
  • Keyboard connector

2. Baby AT Motherboards

Baby AT motherboards were first developed to offer more power than their AT predecessors and in a much smaller package. They combine features of AT and XT form factors but with the need for much smaller installation space. They also dominated the PC industry for a while.

In the event that you needed to add a lot of peripherals to the board, you could install add-on cards. Their most common features include:

  • SD and DDR RAM slots
  • PGA processor sockets
  • 12 and 20 pin connectors
  • PCI and ISA expansion slots
  • DIN port (big keyboard)
  • Serial mouse port

3. Full ATX Motherboards

Full ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) motherboards require a limited amount of installation space and boast far more power than AT motherboards. This made them incredibly popular. Additionally, they have plenty of features pre-installed such as Core 2 Duo and i7 processors. Their most common features include:

  • DIMM slots
  • MPGA CPU socket
  • 12 and 20 pin connectors
  • SATA and IDE connectors
  • PCI, ISA, and AGP expansion slots
  • Micro ATX Motherboards

4. XT Motherboards

Also known as Extended Technology MBs, XT boards have LIF (Low Insertion Force) sockets, DIMM slots, ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) expansion ports, 12pin connectors, and no ports. In the event you want to add more ports, you can purchase add-on cards.

What Are the Different Types of Motherboards 3

The Different Motherboards by Socket Type

Another great way to answer what are the different types of motherboards is to consider socket types. Certain motherboards support various sockets. When building your PC, you’ll need to take sockets into account because as you add peripherals, you need to make sure your motherboard has the right ports for connectivity.

1. Socket A

Durons and AMD processors are designed for socket A boards and they have a bus speed of 100 to 200 MHz. There are 462 pins in this type of motherboard, and it also features PGA packaging.

2. Socket 370

There are 370 pins on a socket 370 motherboard, and they support Celeron, Intel Pentium II, VIA Cyrix III, and VIA C3 processors. They are available in a PGA package and have a bus speed of 66 to 133 MHz.

3. Socket 478

With 478 pins, the socket 478 motherboards (also known as Socket N) were designed for Pentium 4 processors. It features a PGA package and bus speeds between 100 and 200 MHz. It’s also highly recommended for Pentium M processors.

4. Socket T

With a higher bus speed of 1600 MHz, socket T motherboards are highly compatible. They work with Celeron, Pentium 4, Pentium D, Pentium XE, and Celeron D processors. Additionally, they’re compatible with Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad, and Intel Xeon processors.

5. Socket 939

Designed mostly for AMD motherboards, you’ll find socket 939 boards are compatible with Opteron, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, and Athlon 64 processors. It has bus speeds as high as 1000 MHz and has 939 pins as well as a PGA package.

6. Socket AM3

As one of the more modern motherboards on the market (developed in 2009), socket AMX boards boast speeds as high as 3200 MHz. They are fully compatible with AMD Athlon II and AMD Phenom II processors.

7. Socket H

For Intel processors, the socket H, also known as LGA 1156, is another modern design. It works with Intel Core i5, Intel Core i3, and Intel Core i7 processors. It features LGA packaging and 1156 pins.

Final Thoughts

When you start asking what are the different types of motherboards, there is plenty to consider. Dating back to the 80s, this technology has diversified and gotten better over the years. When you start to build your own PC, you’ll want to find a motherboard that is compatible with your peripherals and has enough power to support heavy-duty components.

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