If you look inside the computer case and at the motherboard, you will see several ports on it. It might make you wonder what the USB ports are doing on the motherboard. The truth is there are many ports other than the USB port on the motherboard and they serve certain specific functions. For instance, USB connectors are essential for connecting the USB front panel with the motherboard. Without the connection, the switches and ports will not work.
The connector side of a motherboard
When you open the computer case, you will see that the connector side of the motherboard has several specific ports. Let us look at some of the most common ports found on the motherboard that enables your computer to work efficiently.
• RJ-45 (Registered Jack 45) LAN port – this port facilitates connection to a Local Area Network (LAN) through a network hub using an RJ-45 cable.
• Analog Audio port – this port connects a tape, CD, DVD player, or other audio sources
• Video Graphics Array (VGA) Port – the VGA cables carry an analog signal instead of digital signals. It is possible to attain relatively higher resolution with higher frequencies. But, the video quality directly responds to cable quality, and this is more so in the case of higher resolutions. Hence, the quality of a VGA image can mean a world of difference to the quality of the video.
• USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 Ports – most computers have a minimum of two of these ports on each motherboard used for connecting pen drives and external hard drives
• USB (Universal Serial Bus) 3.0 Port – the latest models of computers are likely to have one or two USB 3.0 ports as well to connect your digital gadgets.
• PS/2 Keyboard Port (purple) – it is a port dedicated to a PS/2 keyboard
• PS/2 mouse port (green) – this port is specifically dedicated to the PS/2 mouse.
• 1394a Port – it is for connecting to any firewire device, which is now been replaced by USBs on most systems. But certain professional audio hardware still uses FireWire.
• Optical S/PDIF – this is used for audio connections for home audio receivers or powered PC speakers with optical connections.
• External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (eSATA) port – this is an external interface for SATA technologies.
• HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Connector – an HDMI port facilitates digital transmission of audio and video data via a single cable. It is compatible with most HDTVs, DVD, and Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and video game systems.
• Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connector – this is used for sending digital information from a computer to a digital display, such as a flat-panel LCD monitor.
• North Bridge – this chip handles communications among the CPU, sometimes RAM, and PCI Express (or AGP) video cards, and the southbridge. It is directly connected to AGP video and so offers higher transfer rates.
• Southbridge – this is one of the chips in the core logic chipset on a personal computer (PC) motherboard. It handles all of a computer’s I/O functions, like the system BIOS, USB, audio, serial, the ISA bus, the interrupt controller, and therefore the IDE channels, among others
Thus, every plug and chipset on the motherboard serves some function and you must properly connect them. Almost all are delicate components that have to be handled carefully. Otherwise, you run the danger of damaging them.
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