The Motherboard is the main part of a
computer. It connects all your peripherals together. When
purchasing a motherboard make sure it comes with a manual as you
will need this to configure it. The manual will tell you how to
set up the jumpers or dip switches on the Motherboard so that it
knows what type of CPU you have installed.
A Jumper is a set of pins that jut out from your Motherboard they
are normally labeled j1, j2 etc. They are set on by placing a
little rubber cap over two of the pins. If the manual tells you
you need j1 on for a certain type of processor, then put a cap on
j1. There are now some new Motherboards that are called "Jumperless"
these are configured at startup in the BIOS. Also some
motherboards can auto detect the voltage of the CPU so that is one
thing you may or may not have to set up. The other thing you have
to tell the board is CPU Speed and this is done with jumpers via a
"multiplier" which is a number that when multiplied by the Bus
speed to equal the CPU speed. Lets say you have a 900MHz CPU and
the motherboard is a 100MHz bus, you would set the Motherboard bus
speed to 100MHz and then set the multiplier to a setting of 9.0.
Some manuals will show you examples of what jumpers to set up
based on the most common CPUs.
What mother board you buy depends on the CPU you want the most
common types today are Socket A motherboards for AMD Athlons and
Durons, Socket 370 motherboards for Intel Pentium IIIs and
Celerons and Socket 478 for the new Pentium 4 all these boards
will be ATX. The short lived fad of the cartridge style CPU is now
being fazed out, these boards were known as Slot 1 and Slot A.