Types of Motherboard Ports

Javed Ali Javed Ali
Types of Motherboard Ports

A motherboard is one of the significant PC parts and works as a circuit to connect peripheral devices with a computer. It is also called by other names such as logic board, main board, base board, and system board. Not only does it work as an interface between a computer and its accessories, but it also has some built-in parts. The non-conductive casing of this board has many ports and sockets which best interlink all the elements of a computer. The keyboard, mouse, monitor, and external drives are the peripheral inputs that pair with the motherboard. In return, this board delivers power for functioning and allows information to flow from one end of your operating system to another.

A motherboard being one of the main components of the computer system features both internal and external ports. All these ports serve as smooth interface points to plug in computer accessories. These input points allow the attachment of peripheral components with the help of a cable and enable accessible communication. Not all the ports are similar in appearance and function; each socket is specific for a particular peripheral unit and can be used only for that purpose. Some prominent ones are USB ports, audio ports, HDMI support, mouse and keyboard connectors, and slots for external memory drives.

Internal vs. External Motherboard Ports

Internal Ports:

Internal ports are inside the motherboard casing, whereas external ports are located on the motherboard’s rear. Internal ports help you connect the central processing unit, internal memory drives, expansion cards, graphics cards, and USB drives to your motherboard. The most commonly used internal ports are CPU sockets, USB headers, PCIe slots, SATA ports, CPU power connectors, and fan headers. As these devices are installed inside a motherboard by opening its case, not everyone can do it so quickly. This act requires you to have technical knowledge about ports and their use. Any carelessness while installing and removing such devices can damage the ports.

External Ports:

These ports are embedded on the back of the motherboard and can be seen from the outside. You can connect peripheral inputs through these ports, such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. For example, if you want to upgrade the memory storage of your system, you need an external hard drive in addition to the system’s memory. To install this drive, one of the external ports of the motherboard is used. Examples include an audio jack for speakers and headphones, USB ports for peripherals like mouse and keyboard, Ethernet support, and a Display port. As these sockets are on the outside, you do not need to open the motherboard’s case, and one can easily plug in any cable without technical knowledge.

What are the Different Types of Motherboard Ports?

A motherboard is an essential component of a desktop, laptop, and smartphone. Parts and functions are similar in all devices. However, their sizes vary based on space availability. A computer’s motherboard has enough space to accommodate different parts. You can add additional units here if you want to upgrade your system. But in laptops, you do not have the option to upgrade your system as their form factor is compact and bears no extra space. Here are mentioned some of the provisions, such as motherboard features to set up a system.

1: CPU Socket

A CPU socket is used as an interface to plug in the central processing unit to a motherboard. This socket is the input unit that allows a CPU to carry out its essential tasks, such as data sharing and the flow of information between a CPU and other parts of a computer. This socket comprises hundreds of metal plates that help establish a strong connection and power supply to the CPU.

2: PS/2

PS/2 connectors link a mouse or a keyboard to a motherboard. A motherboard features two PS/2 connectors, color-coded to distinguish them from each other. One is purple specific for the keyboard; the other is kept green to pair the mouse. These connectors have six pins, and their structure is not different. Still, if you insert your mouse or keyboard in the wrong socket, the computer will not recognize it.

3: Memory Sockets

Although every system has some built-in capacity to store data temporarily, this short period of memory is known as Random Access Memory, which you can further enhance if you add an external device. For this, a motherboard carries at least two memory sockets. If you transfer files or documents from a USB drive to a computer, they are temporarily stored in the RAM and then go to the hard drive. When you give any command to your system, the CPU receives relevant information from RAM and then processes it to perform the ordered task.

4: Serial Port

A computer has two kinds of serial ports known as DB-25 and DE-9, located on the back side of your operating unit and allows the transmission and receival of data one bit at a single time. Being one of the oldest sports, it finds its best use in connecting external modems and printers and replacing some connectors which need to be a part of your system. However, not all plans and applications require these slots.

5: Parallel Port

A parallel port, also known as a Centronics port, serves parallel communication while linking peripheral devices to a computer. This slot carries 36 pins and connects printers, external hard drives, and scanners with a computer. Nowadays, USB ports are commonly used for pairing a printer, but the last time, parallel ports were used for this purpose. In contrast to a Serial port, a parallel one can stream multiple bundles of data transmissions simultaneously.

6: Hard Drive Connectors

Two types of hard drive connectors are present on a motherboard. The most advanced hard drive connectors widely used are SATA and IDE connectors. Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is a slot currently seen in motherboards. The L-shaped curve of this connector helps you know the cable is positioned in the right direction. These connectors may be available in a single motherboard and can connect a CD or a DVD. The Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) has two rows, each of 20 pins and an older socket.

7: Audio Ports

Audio ports are an essential motherboard component and help connect audio output devices. The most common audio slot found on a motherboard is a 3.5 mm TRS connector which allows connecting stereo headphones and microphones. Most computers use six coded connectors, colored black, grey, orange, lime, pink, and blue, and support surround sound up to 8 channels. The Philips Digital Interface Format (PDIF) and TOSLINK are the most frequently used audio ports to support digital audio.

8: Video Ports

VGA port is vital for many devices such as computer displays, video cards, projectors, and TV. Its complete form is the Video Graphics Array which manages the video output of any device. Computers used to have VGA ports before HDMI ports became part of the system. Modern computer monitors feature this port, but the picture quality is average compared to the HDMI port. In this D-sub type connector, 15 pins are provided in 3 rows. As the trends have shifted, and now people love to create high-resolution digital video, these ports are not enough to match their needs. Therefore, the latest devices feature a new port, H|DMI, which offers ultra definition videos. Some laptops still feature VGA connectors to connect them with projectors or computer monitors and displays.

9: Display Port

This port works as an interface between a video source and a display unit which carries data in multiple forms like USB, audio, or video. This port uses digital communication and data transmission in PCI Express, HDMI, and others. Its manufacturing aims to replace the use of VGA and DVI ports as the main interface units between a monitor and its computer. It comprises 20 pins and offers better resolution than standard ports. The number of pins is the same as 20, but the physical size is smaller than the regular connector size. Apple manufactures a mini version of this port named Mini DisplayPort.

10: Power Connector

A main power supply cable delivers power to your computer. Further, it passes through the monitor to all the PC components. For this purpose, the motherboard has a power connector that gets power from the main supply of the computer system and distributes it to all the peripheral input and output devices. A computer needs high-end components to perform heavy-duty functions like content creation, video rendering, and graphics card designing.

As the demands and usage have changed, the system requirements have also shuffled greatly. These accessories perform heavy-duty tasks and consume a considerable power supply. A single power connection is not sufficient to meet these demands. Therefore in some advanced and high-end computer systems, motherboards feature additional ports to augment the power supply.

11: HDMI

An HDMI port stands for High Definition Media Interface. It is used to get Ultra High Definition displays by connecting high-resolution devices such as computer displays, gaming consoles, and cameras. It consists of 19 pins and carries all types of signals, such as compressed or uncompressed audio signals and digital uncompressed video signals. Now, this port is coming with advanced improvements in many aspects like the form factor and functioning capabilities. Its latest versions feature greater resolution capacity, signal bandwidth, and a quick refresh rate. Different form factors named mini and micro HDMI are available in the market.

Mini HDMI port is designed for compact and portable devices such as laptops, camcorders, and cameras. It carries the same 19 Pins but is physically smaller than the regular connector. The Micro HDMI connector has a different pinout with the same 19 Pins structure. A Micro HDMI port works best for compact devices that are difficult to accommodate with regular corks.

12: USB

This slot is a multi-purpose connector, replacing almost all the standard motherboard ports. You may not need a serial port, parallel port, power connectors, PS/2 connectors, and others with a USB port. So to replace all these ports, it has to perform its functions. Therefore, it can deliver power to the system by extracting some from the main current supply. It is an interface unit between all the computer accessories and links them beautifully to create a compelling and easy flow of data and information. The world classifies USB ports into three subcategories: Type A and Type 2 mini and micro cards.

Final Words

All the operating systems have a crucial component in the form of a plastic case called a motherboard. It holds central significance as it keeps all computer components interlinked, making them work and process information in collaboration. This interlinking is possible through several ports and sockets either inside its shell or visible from the outside. These ports are distinguished based on the number and arrangement of pins and functions. Each port has a different name and is allocated for a specific peripheral device. In this article, we have enlisted some ports which find their best use when paired with a correct and compatible device.

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