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~ The Computer Dictionary ~



A motherboard, or mobo, is the heart of the computer, the Central Command that co-ordinates all activities in the computer. Virtually everything in the system is connected to the mobo, whether directly or indirectly.

Modern mobos can have an "integrated system," meaning that a video card and possibly a sound card are embedded into the mobo. Occasionally, other boards may also be embedded, such as a LAN or SCSI interface. There are several advantages to integrated systems, including the elimination of so many expansion cards, better integration of the system, better reliability, and lower overall cost.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to an integrated system. For starters, the quality of the video and sound cards are often compromised. However, on lower-end systems, this is not noticable. Also, while all video has its own memory, integrated video will also access the main system's memory. This can reduce the amount of memory available to the rest of the computer.

With casual computer use (word processing, spreadsheet, eMail, surfing the Net, other typical business software), the average user will be well-served with an integrated mobo. However, if you do serious gaming or any other graphics-intensive work, then you will not want to use an integrated mobo because intense programs will slow down the system.

Computers with Intel Celeron and AMD Duron processors usually have integrated mobos.

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