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Motherboard Northbridge Parallel-Port PCI-Slot PCI-Express POST guide

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computer hardware

M-N-O-P - What Does That Motherboard Terminology Mean?

The principle printed circuit board assembly in a computer; includes core logic (chipset), interface sockets and/or slots, and input/output (I/O) ports. Printed circuit board (PCB) - a thin, laminated sheet composed of a series of epoxy resin and copper layers and etched electronic circuits (signal, ground and power)

The Northbridge (MCH or Memory Controller Hub in Intel applications) often refers to the chip that handles communications between the CPU, and the AGP or PCI Express bus and the Southbridge. The Northbridge often includes the memory controller if the memory controller is not integrated into the CPU, and certain Northbridge chips feature integrated graphics units (Intel calls these Northbridge chips the GMCH or Graphics & Memory Controller Hub).

Parallel Port:
It is a port similar to the serial port but with faster bi-directional transfer. Usually used for printers and scanners. Originally called LPT, the Parallel Port is an interface in a computer system where data is transferred in parallel. It has been replaced by the USB port, and is considered to be a legacy port.

PCI Slot:
The PCI slot (not to be mistaken with the PCI bus) has fallen out of favor in the graphics domain and has been replaced by the AGP and PCI Express connectors.

Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI):
The PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) bus is a computer bus type used to connect computer peripherals. Most PCI buses in a PC system work at 33MHz with a 32bit bit-width. This allows it to deliver a bandwidth of 133MB/s. This is a 32-bit expansion slot used for the majority of expansion cards other than graphics adapters. This is industry standard expansion slot.

PCI Express:
PCI Express is the latest computer bus following PCI and AGP. PCI Express can come in several physical configurations to offer a variety of maximum bandwidths. For example, the fastest PCI Express x16 configuration is used mainly for graphics card application and provides up to 8GB/s (bi-directional) bandwidth, or 4 times the bandwidth of AGP 8X. At the other end of the spectrum, PCI Express x1 is typically used for other types of peripherals and offers up to 500MB/s (bi-directional) bandwidth.

PCI-X was introduced to address the need for increased bandwidth of PCI devices. PCI-X specification enables higher operating frequency (66MHz,133MHz, 266MHz and even 533MHz) with up to 64-bit bit-width of the bus, so it is capable of delivering more than 1066MB/s of bandwidth. The PCI-X protocol enhancements enable devices to operate at much higher efficiency, providing more useable bandwidth at any given clock frequency.

Power ON Self Test (POST):
This is the first operation that is executed when the system is switched on. It checks the status of the memory, processor and other components.

Personal System II (PS/2) Ports:
The Personal System/2 or PS/2 was the designation for IBM's second generation of personal computers. The PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports were introduced with it. PS/2 ports connect the keyboard and mouse to a computer and are usually color-coded on today’s systems - purple for keyboards and green for mice. Most desktop motherboards still provide PS/2 ports, but an increasing number of keyboards and mice are using USB ports.

Processor Slot/Socket:
This is the slot or socket used to mount the system processor on the motherboard.

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