The motherboard is like a big city with many streets and highways that connect all of the buildings
together. Instead of streets and highways, the motherboard uses tiny electrical paths to connect each
component of the computer together. These paths are called "buses." The more buses that connect to a
component, the faster it can operate. Larger buses are able to operate faster than smaller buses. Buses
work just like highways. Wider highways and highways with more lanes are able to carry more traffic than
smaller highways and highways with less lanes. Many cities have a freeway. A freeway is designed so that
large amounts of traffic can move quickly from one place to another. The "front side bus," (or FSB), is
the freeway of the motherboard. It is the most important bus on the motherboard, because it connects the
processor to the main memory and the Northbridge chipset. Below is a diagram showing the front side bus in red.
Like a traffic cop, the chipset, (2 chips on this motherboard), manages and directs the flow of data between
each of the components. The BIOS is where the computer's settings are stored and changed. In the first picture
of the slot 1 AOpen AX6B motherboard above, you can see most of the connecting slots, ports, and connectors.
Some are labeled to show what they are. Motherboards are judged primarily by their chipsets and their front
side bus speed. The type of BIOS and the type and amount of expansion slots are also other important things
to consider. Below is a picture of the socket 939 Asus A8N-E, a more recent motherboard.