Chips That are Located on the Motherboard

complete guide about chipsWe all know that a motherboard is the main circuit board of a computer and it houses some very important chips. However, did you know that there are also chips on the motherboard? These chips are called surface mount components or SMD for short. Typically, these small chips have strong adhesive tape to keep them in place until they’re soldered into place. The most common chip found on motherboards is called a CPU which stands for Central Processing Unit. This chip does all of the calculations for your computer so it’s imperative to make sure this chip doesn’t get damaged when installing your new RAM!

Motherboard Chips Guide

The question of which chips are integrated onto the motherboard is one that arises regularly. Here’s a list of some chips typically found on the motherboard:-


There are two main kinds (sockets). One for desktop computers, and one for laptops. Laptops usually have lower-wattage processors.

Memory (RAM, SSD)

These come in many forms now, from dynamic RAM to flash memory. The form factor depends on how much you choose to put in the computer–the more you choose, generally, the larger they get. Mainly it should be considered whether you want your memory chip(s) to expand if/when you upgrade your system. For instance, adding a new hard drive can be cheaper than upgrading memory, sometimes.


This is the chip that controls your processor, memory and IO (input/output). It usually runs at the same speed as the processor itself, which means it can be integrated onto the motherboard without a heatsink. This makes upgrading your motherboard much easier; You don’t have to get a new chipset because you’ve bought a faster CPU. Chipsets are rated by their speed. The current top-end of chipsets is around 4x or 5x PCI (the PCI bus is how everything in your computer communicates), but with future CPU’s speeds estimated higher than this, it will be necessary to move onto something else entirely for computers. Many motherboards now come with IGP’s on them–Integrated Graphics Processing. This means that the chipset has a built-in graphics card, saving you money and (if it’s not too slow) allowing some expansion into multimedia or game design without many extra parts–you can just use what’s on the motherboard!

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These are actually small integrated soundcards that allow for good quality sounds straight out of your computer.

They are also responsible for the BIOS beep codes (three short beeps–something is wrong with memory; one long and two short–CMOS battery is dead).

Network cards:

You will either find these built onto the motherboard itself through an IO slot, or as part of an expansion card if you’re intending to connect your PC to a network. Either way, the network card is responsible for the computer communicating with other computers. You will have one if you want to go online, or play multiplayer games over the internet.


The video card is basically a graphics processing unit (GPU) on its own that your processor can use. It comes as part of an expansion card and is not necessarily required for all processors.

Sound Card:

If you intend to do a lot with sound–such as advanced music composition–or are going to buy anything that takes advantage of 3D sound or quality midi then it’s good to have this on your motherboard rather than an expansion card because removing and replacing expansion cards every time you want to change something might be quite disruptive! Also, having an inbuilt soundcard means that you can just plug your speakers into the back of it and use it straight away–there’s less hassle.


The firewire is an interface that allows for very fast digital streaming between devices. It also makes connections with USB, so if you have a Firewire then you can usually use all your old USB devices too. You should opt for one or the other instead of both as they are quite similar in speed, but USB is easier to set up and doesn’t require extra support from the motherboard itself (firewire requires a different chipset).

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Parallel Printer Port:

This port might be replaced by a USB print server on some newer motherboards and computers, but most older PCs won’t have this feature and instead, you can buy an adapter to convert parallel to USB.

IDE Connectors:

The IDE port is the standard for connecting hard drives to a computer via a ribbon cable. This is now being replaced by SATA, which works in exactly the same way with new cables but will hopefully be backward compatible with at least some older IDE cables.

PCI slots:

PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slots are what expansion cards connect into so that they can communicate with the processor–for instance, your graphics card will plug into one of these slots. They were once very popular for 3D graphics cards and networking ones, but newer ones come on-board. Most modern computers still list them as available they don’t really use them.

PCI Express slots:

These are the new generation of PCI slots but they work in exactly the same way as normal PCI ones. They are meant to be backward compatible with normal PCI cards, but this isn’t always possible (for instance you can sometimes buy a PCIe graphics card and put it into a regular PCI slot that doesn’t support it–it will still work, but won’t have any extra features). So if you want to buy something that’s faster than an AGP card, make sure you get one designed for your motherboard!

Serial ports:

Most people don’t need these anymore since USB has taken over. A serial port is basically just a port where things like printers or modems plug into.

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Parallel ports:

The parallel port is basically a standard way of connecting things like printers or other peripherals to your computer. LPT one printer and MPS the other just so you can tell them apart! It’s being phased out in favor of USB, but if you want to be able to use an old printer then it’s always worth having this on board because sometimes all you need to do is connect a cable between these two ports and everything should work fine (you might get used to doing this through USB though!).

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