How to build your own personal computer - Kitchen Table Computers - Tablet Version
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Motherboard Expansion Interfaces


MotherboardThe history of the PC has seen many different types of expansion slots. Some, like the MCA (Micro-Channel Architecture) interface, and the Video Electronics Standards Association's VESA interface, never really caught on and have quietly faded into history. A few newer interfaces, such as the ACR and the PCI-Express interfaces, are just now beginning to achieve acceptance.

The diagram on the right is a bit dated, but it should still give you a pretty good idea of what the major components of a motherboard are. (There's a diagram of a newer mobo toward the bottom of this page.) Of course, every motherboard is different, but for the most part they all contain the same kinds of components. Please click the image and spend a few minutes studying it. Your motherboard's manual will have a diagram help you find the components on your particular mobo.


Recognizing Expansion Slots

Being able to recognize expansion slots and understand their uses is critical to designing and building your homebuilt computer.

The three most common expansion interfaces in current use are:

Here's a diagram of a more modern motherboard, the Gigabyte GA-M61VME-S2, side-by-side with the accompanying diagram from the motherboard manual. (Click to enlarge it.)


Gigabyte GA-M61VME-S2 Motherboard and Diagram


The bottom line is, when choosing a motherboard for your homebuilt computer, be sure that it has enough of the correct types of slots to accommodate the expansion cards you wish to install.


Getting Started


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