Motherboards & CPUs Tips

Read these 26 Motherboards & CPUs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about PC tips and hundreds of other topics.

Motherboards & CPUs Tips has been rated 3.1 out of 5 based on 921 ratings and 3 user reviews.
What is the difference between Intel's Pentium and Celeron processors?

Choosing Between Pentium and Celeron Computers

If you are preparing a trip to the computer store and not sure how to choose between a Pentium or Celeron CPU, there are a few small differences to take note of. First of all, the Celeron has as its core a Pentium 4 processor. Another notable difference is the decrease in cache memory that Celeron computers have when compared to Pentium computers. Overall, Pentiums will generally have higher clock and bus speeds when tested against Celeron computers.

Someone mentioned the phrase "CPU cache". What does this mean?

CPU Cache

The “CPU cache” is a term that is often discussed in regards to computers. Having the right amount of CPU cache will help to speed up your computer.

Basically the CPU cache functions to store data that the CPU frequently requests. By doing so, the CPU will not have to got through the more lengthy process of requesting information from the main memory and sending it through the memory bus.

CPUs use a Level 2 cache system in which data that has not been requested as often will be stored at this level. The Level 2 cache is not as fast as a Level 1 cache, but it is faster than have the computer request information through main memory.

What are motherboard bridges?

Motherboard Bridges

When shopping for a new motherboard, you might hear the phrase, “motherboard bridges”. A motherboard bridge is just an arbitrary way of dividing the motherboard into two components. The North Bridge of the motherboard is more concerned with speed such as the CPU, and are all the motherboard components attached north of the PCI bus. The South Bridge, or anything south of the PCI bus of the motherboard deals mostly with slower connects such as the IDE (hard drive) and USB.

What is a CPU?

Power is cool.

CPUs are one of the primary reasons you need a fan for your system. Without it the CPU could overheat causing slower speeds or worse – no speed at all. The best solution to the problem is a high quality case fan like the Masscool 80mm Sleeve Bearing Case Fan. You can find ‘em for less than 10 bucks. So get a couple so you won't need to find a new CPU.

What is a CPU?

CPU: Behind the brains

All your memory and applications are useless if you don't have a way to utilize it. In steps the central processing unit CPU. The brains of the computer. It's job -- to understand and execute the task at hand. When choosing a processor make sure it's higher quailty. A few extra bucks is worth all the headaches you'll avoid trying to ensure your applications run smoothly.

What is a motherboard?

The power of compatibly:

For any team to be successful everyone needs to work together. The same goes for your motherboard. A motherboard that doesn't match well can prevent the computer from working at all. So make sure this doesn't occur by making sure the board power sockets are compatible with your power supply. Plus, confirm the computer case power switch also works well with your motherboard.

What is a motherboard?

The function of form:

The design of the motherboard also plays a key role in computing. A top-notch motherboard is as worthless as cardboard if it is too big to fit in the computer case. Layout of space is also important. If everything is too crowded interference could occur between components. Plus, don't forget thickness. If the board is too flimsy it could snap during the upgrading process.

How should I monitor the CPU temperature?

Monitor CPU Temperature

There is software on the market that quite a number of people use to monitor the temperature of the CPU using a sensor on the motherboard. This might seem like the ideal way to detect if your PC is overheating, but in reality it can give you a false reading about how hot your CPU really is.

The false reading is generated by the fact that sensors on the motherboard can be affected by the temperature in the room. A false reading can be generated if the hardware is not calibrated properly as well. It is better to use the sensor on the newer CPUs and have this read by the motherboard, rather than depend on solely on the sensor on the motherboard.

Can you tell me a little more about form factors?

Form Factors Continued

How the motherboard is assembled is called its form factor. It is important to adhere to the form factor because it will determine exactly where each component of the motherboard will go. Thus the form factor will determine the size of the computer and its general shape.

There are mainly 12 different form factors for motherboards, but only three to four of them have become popular. These form factors include the AT, Baby AT, ATX, and BTX.

My computer has an AMD processor. Can you tell me what this means?

AMD Central Processing Units

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) first started building central processing units for IBM computers in 1982 along with Intel. AMD and Intel were both to supply IBM with 8086 and 8088 processors.
However, Intel eventually pulled out of this arrangement resulting in a court battle between the two companies.

The first microprocessor solely created by AMD was launched in 1995 and called the AMD K5. The K5 was not as fast as the products being released by Intel, and AMD rectified this by purchasing NexGen to design its AMD K6 processor. The company still had not achieve the popularity it was hoping for and went on to produce the AMD Athlon K7. The K7 increased the popularity of AMD processors and it became a competitor of Intel for anyone wanting a system with a budget microprocessor. AMD continues to manufacture the Athlon line, and the last microprocessor by the company was the AMD Turion 64.

What is a motherboard?

Fused may cause a fuss:

Another reason a low cost motherboard might cost you a lot more in the long run is the inability to expand. Some of the cheaper boards have parts that are actually one with the board. The problem is over time when these parts break down or become useless you won't be able to remove or replace them. Also, be on the look out for integrated video cards. Again, this problem will also prevent you from being able to upgrade.

What is a CPU?

Choosing the chip

There's lots of CPU Chips out there. Each one touting blazing speeds and making earlier models seem obsolete. Companies also use this as an excuse to jack up prices. However, don't go mortgaging the house for one of those beauties just yet. The slightly older models aren't that different from the newer ones -- just slightly slower.

What are some tips on maintaining my motherboard?

Taking Care of Your Motherboard

The first step in taking care of your computer's motherboard, is to make sure that your system settings are “backed up”. This can be accomplished by saving the computer's BIOS settings, either by writing down the settings or using a backup utility software to save this information to a file.

Another way in which to take care of your motherboard is make sure all the connections such as cables or expansion cards are secure.

You can clean your motherboard yourself only if you know what to do. Gently using compressed air can get rid or dust and dirt that has accumulated.

What is a motherboard?

Don't go for a cheap chipset

The chipset is what makes the motherboard. It is the circuitry on the board that supports the CPU. The chipset carries out the orders. A top notch CPU will be wasted if you have a cheap chipset. So look for motherboards like the Intel Desktop Board D915PBLL -- specially designed to handle any kind of processor power.

How to select the right cpu cooling fan?

Selecting The Right CPU Cooling Fan

When building a system, installing a CPU cooling fan is essential. There are numerous metal parts within a computer that give off heat. As the speeds increase for the rate at which computers process information, the amount of heat the system produces also increases as well.

Therefore, it is important to select a CPU cooling fan that will constantly shift heat from the system and help it cool off. Some people tend to choose a CPU cooling fan based on price or how sophisticated the cooling fan looks. However, these methods are not foolproof and you can end up buying a CPU cooling fan that looks nice but does not do its job.

When looking for a cooling fan ask around for suggestions, and it is highly advised that you read reviews about the fan you are interested in purchasing. The ideal cooling fan should be easy to install, and provide long hours of cooling for your CPU. Other characteristics to look for when buying a CPU cooling fan are one, which is made of copper, and quiet while operating.

What is a CPU?

Microchip: What's the big deal

Intel gets the honors for the first CPU chip. It also was one of the first processors to be used in the early PC. In the 80s this tiny chip created big waves because it was able to offer users the ability to work on a number of different programs at once. By the early 90s the basic blue print for the chip was pretty much in place for designers to build on & improve. Today's chips like the IBM Intel Xeon 3.06 are faster, more powerful and smaller than ever. When shopping for a CPU, history plays an important role. Before buying a chip, make sure you know it's brand new -- from the manufacturer. Not a chip that's pulled from another computer that might be damaged.

What is a CPU?

The mother of all offers:

Once installed, the CPU is located in the area of the computer known as the motherboard. One needs the other to succeed. They're basically the peanut butter & jelly of the tech world. So, it seems only natural they should be sold together too. When it's time to upgrade or build your computer look for Motherboard CPU bundle packs like the A8V & 64 3400+. They're made to fit together and fit any budget.

When and who invented the first CPU chip?

The History of the CPU

The central processing unit is responsible for coordinating all of the activities of the computer. The CPU or microprocessor was first released as a single chip by the Intel Corporation in 1971. This chip was called the Intel 4004 and was extremely slow compared to today's standards.

From this stage, Intel went on to release the Intel 8080 in 1974, and the Intel 8088 in 1979. The Intel 8088 was incorporated into IBM computers, and Intel went on to make the 80286, 80386, and 80486. Computers with these types of chips were referred to as 286, 386, and 486 computers respectively. After the 486 chips, came the introduction of the Pentiums I, II, and III, and IV microprocessors. The Pentium M and D microprocessors were released in 2004 and 2005.

Do you keep track of driver and firmware updates?

Keep Your Hardware Up To Date

After you have built your machine you want to stay on top of any updates that are made available. There are firmware and driver updates to components all the time and these are essential to your system running at its full potential. The manufacturer's site for each of your components should post any updates as they are released.

You will not have to open up your case and replace all the components connected to your motherboard every other month to optimize performance if you are aware of new drivers and improvements available online.

Keeping your hardware and software up to date does not require you to be a computer programming expert. More and more people are learning about computers these days. Novices are building and maintaining computers and becoming experts along the way.

What is a motherboard?

Motherboard: Keeping it all together

Some say Mom is the glue that holds a family together. Ironically, the same title can be given to the motherboard. Also known as the circuit board, this component houses the CPU and the bus. Plus it has slots, sockets and ports for memory and peripheral expansion. When shopping for motherboards it's probably best to spend a little more for a high quality model. Basically this will ensure you have enough space to handle all different types of future upgrades like memory, sound, video and processors.

Can you tell me more about the Intel Celeron microprocessor?

Intel Celeron Microprocessors

While marketing its Pentium line of microprocessors, Intel also released in 1998 the Intel Celeron microprocessor, which was reduced in price compared to the price of the Pentium microprocessor. It was designed using a Pentium II microprocessor as its blueprint. The Celeron microprocessors were not popular until the release of the Mendocino Celerons with L2 cache, which was previously lacking in the original Celeron chip. The last Intel Celeron microprocessor released is Intel Celeron D and Celeron M or Mobile, with a 1.2-1.6 GHz clock speed.

What is overclocking a processor and should I consider doing this?

Overclocking a CPU

Many people who would like their processor to run at a higher speed, suggest overclocking. For example, overclocking involves changing the processor that ran at 1.4 GHz to 1.5 GHz. By doing this the processor will run at a faster rate.

You should only consider overclocking your processor if you know what you are doing. Even though there is only a small chance the computer might become damaged by overclocking, a chance still exists.

When you have decided to overclock your computer, consult the manufacturer's website, and make sure there is a cooling fan installed within your system. With the higher speed, an overclocked system will produce more heat.

motherboards, cpu, intel motherboard, motherboard connections, computer motherboard

Motherboard Standards

Numerous standards exist for a motherboard, other than just its form factor. They exist to ensure the your desktop computer will be assembled and function correctly. These standards include:

A real time clock chip that retains the system's time and settings.

A BIOS chip to oversee the main activities of the computer.

A chipset to connect the CPU to the rest of the computer

A microprocessor socket to establish the type of CPU to use.

My cpu cooling fan is noisy! Should I replace it?

Look For a Quiet Cooling Fan

Anyone who has a noisy computer can tell you stories about the amount of noise the cooling fan makes. However, the later model cpu cooling fans are now quiet due to changes the manufacturers have made.

When looking for a quiet CPU cooling fan, search from one that is made out of copper instead of aluminum. The older aluminum cooling fans were notorious for being noisy, but this has been eliminated in the newer copper fans.

The newer cooling fans also spin at a slower rate than their predecessors, therefore decreasing the amount of noise they make, without decreasing the ability to cool the CPU.

Is there anything I can do to make my CPU last longer?

Taking Care of Your CPU

The two main problems that a computer user will run into in terms of maintenance is heat and dust. As the CPU is accessed, the temperature within your computer can rise to a level that might damage its components, causing it to not function efficiently or burn out completely.

CPU's have a built in fan and “heat sink” which will help to disperse the heat generated by the CPU and other computer components.

Anyone has seen how dust can coat furniture and windows, now imagine this same layer of dust coating your CPU. Not only will this layer of dust coat everything, but cause some parts of the computer to stop working effectively. This layer of dust can be removed using compressed air sprayed from a can bought at your local computer store.

Which components are attached to the motherboard?

Attachments to the Motherboard

Motherboards consist of numerous components necessary for your computer to function. It is not possible to see the motherboard without taking the computer apart, and only a trained computer technologist should venture to do so.

The motherboard in your computer will have Universal Serial Bus (USB) or FireWire ports attached to it.

It will also have an Accelerated Graphics Port attached that is necessary for the computer's video card.

There are also PCI connectors for network, audio, and video cards to attach.

Lastly, the motherboard will have an Integrated Drive Electronics attachment for the hard drive.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this PC Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Susan Sayour