What Kind of Motherboard Do I Have?

Learn About Your Computer Motherboard And What It Supports

As a user of a computer system, it is very imperative that you know as much as you can about the type of motherboard that your computer is running on. There are several reasons you might want to have an in-depth knowledge of your computer. And as we do try to upgrade the capacity of some components on the computers from time to time, it is important to have information about the capacity of the motherboard itself and what it can carry as it is the brain powering every other component.

The smallest of information, and maybe the easiest to grab about your motherboard is its brand and serial number. There are four ways to check these. And getting this information, as mentioned earlier can help you when you are trying to upgrade the system. You would be able to know the available expansion slots for the Random Access Memory (RAM) for example, how many modules you can still add and as much as the total capacity in GB that you can still add.

For a start, we may want to look at what a motherboard is, the different types available, and then proceed with other information about it.

What is a motherboard?

A motherboard is a circuit board that serves as the building block or foundation and gives room for intercommunication among various components while also providing connection interfaces for these other components such as the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), memory, storage and other peripherals such as the speaker, microphone, camera as well as the network connectivity. All computers have a motherboard that powers them, including handheld ones such as tablets and smartphones. However, the only kind of motherboard you can easily purchase yourself as a user is the one for personal computers such as the desktop and the laptop.

Types of computer motherboard

Now, let us dive into the variety of motherboards out there. There are different criteria to look for when classifying motherboards into types. These include the form in terms of shape and size as well as the technology that is powering it. There are three standard types of motherboards and they are highlighted below:

  • AT:

This is the genesis of all motherboards. The early computers were made with AT motherboards. However, their dominance did not go beyond the Pentium 2 systems. Their physical measurement is 13.8 x 12 inches while their power outlets such as plugs and sockets have 6 pins. While this type of motherboard dominated in the early days of computers, they are no longer being adopted today.

  • ATX

As the 20th century began to come to an end, Intel introduced another variation of the AT motherboard believed to be better in terms of power and performance. The Advanced Technology Extended, ATX motherboard has a physical measurement of 12 x 9.6 inches while its power connectors have only with 4-pins.

  • ITX:

VIA Technologies did what Intel did to the manufacturer of the AT motherboard in the first year of the 21st century; introducing a smaller motherboard with room for ATX case compatibility. This was called the Mini-ITX motherboard, with a physical measurement of 6.7 x 6.7 inches. An upgrade to the Mini-ITX; Nano-ITX with 4.7 x 4.7 inches measurement was introduced 2 years later (2003) while a much smaller one; Pico-ITX sized 3.9 x 2.8 inches was introduced in 2007 by the same firm.

Getting motherboard information as an average computer user

You need not be a computer engineer to see what the inner part of your computer looks like. In as much as the computer is able to power on, you can literally get the complete details of what makes up your computer system. We will show you the various ways you can get your computer motherboard and other connected components’ information below.

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Knowing the type of motherboard on your computer through System Information

The System Information provides overview details of all the components on your computer system including the motherboard information, the connected components details, and the operating system. To access this, follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard or alternatively, use the mouse to click on the Start (windows) icon at the bottom left of the screen

  1. Type “msinfo32” without the quotes and select the System Information from the options that show up.

  1. The System Information page provides full details of the stuff running on your computer system
  2. Now scroll to the section where the details start with “Baseboard”. That is where the motherboard information starts from. The key notes to consider here are:
  • BaseBoard Manufacturer: The is the details of the manufacturer of the motherboard
  • BaseBoard Product: This is the model number attached to the motherboard by the manufacturer.
  • BaseBoard Version: The motherboard version number that gives you the hint on the generation number. If the number ends with 02, it denotes that it is the second generation of that particular motherboard product model

Checking the Motherboard information using Command Prompt

One of the limitations of using System Information to get hold of the motherboard details is that it does not provide the serial number of the motherboard. In order to get this, you can use the Command Prompt. Below are the steps involved:

  1. Type cmd in the windows menu as used earlier and select Command Prompt from the options.

Command prompt

  1. Type wmic baseboard get product,Manufacturer,version,serialnumber and press enter

Command prompt opened

  • The prompt will bring the result as shown below

Result

Checking the Motherboard information using third party applications

While the methods given above work very well in fetching you the information about your motherboard, it is worthy of note that those are not the only methods you can use to get information about your computer motherboard and other components of the system. Another technique you can resort to is the use of third-party applications one of which is CPU-Z software. Below are the steps involved in using CPU-Z to get your motherboard information.

  • Download the CPU-Z app from the official website.
  • Install the download app and launch it
  • At launch, the default tab shown to you is the CPU tab. Here, you will see information about your system processor.
  • To get your motherboard data, click on the Mainboard.

One great thing about the CPU-Z is that it provides additional information such as the type of chipset your computer runs on, the Basic Input Output Setup (BIOS), and the graphics cards.

While CPU-Z is recommended, there are other applications that offer the same services out there. Among them are Belarc Advisor and Speccy by CCleaner.

Getting Motherboard Information AS An Engineer

You do not have to be an engineer in order to open your PC up and check the motherboard information. However, it is recommended that you have a basic understanding of electronics so you do not end up damaging some components on the motherboard. Nonetheless, the methods mentioned above might fail, although in a very rear scenario, to fetch the motherboard information especially when the motherboard is faulty. Sometimes, the computer might not power on. Hence, in these situations, the only thing you can do is to open the PC.

There are some manufacturers that leave the motherboard information along the edge of the motherboard sides. Some leave it in the very center near the CPU. In addition to the motherboard, there is usually other information such as the chipset, model, and serial number.

Motherboard Form Factor You Might Want To Know

You may want to know more than just the overview data of your motherboard and computer system as a whole. Sometimes, you want to see the available memory slots, expansion slots SATA ports, and GPU slots. The general guidelines for getting the common form factors of your motherboard are:

Motherboard Type ATX Mini-ATX Micro-ATX
Size 12 x 9.6 inches 9.0 x 7.5 inches 9.6 x 9.6 inches
RAM DIMM DIMM DIMM
RAM slots 2 Up to 4 Up to 8
GPUs Up to 1 Up to 3 Up to 4
SATA ports Up to 6 Up to 8 Up to 12
Expansion slots 1 4 7

Know About The Motherboard Expansion Options

For some reason, you may want to upgrade the configuration of your system. Every now and then, we run into the need to have the computer run faster, accommodate more data, and allow us to add more functionalities such as the fingerprint, camera, and a faster wireless connection. For these reasons, the motherboard is made to have room for likely expansions. They generally have expansion slots to components such as sound cards, networking cards, storage devices and connections, and a host of others. We have seen some quite complex expansion slots over the years. Today, thankfully, things have become much simpler.

The most common slot being used to connect other components today is the PCIe port. While we still have some motherboards having room for legacy support connection through the PCI slots, it is the former that is still the most important slots for component connections in the present age. The PCIe slot has four sizes. They are x1, x4, x8, and x16, with x4 and x16 being the common standard. The two are known as PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0. The four sizes dictate both the throughput of the connection and its size.

As a user, you definitely want to ensure that you have enough expansion slots for future upgrade considerations. They also need to be of the right size to support all of your present and future needs. Motherboards diverge commonly on how many slots they have on their interface, and also where these slots are placed. You will want to be certain that you have sufficient slots, and that they have adequate space around them to fit all your required components now and in the probable future.

GPU Support On Motherboards

While the power of a computer relies on its ability to process the input in a very fast and efficient manner, it is the output visualization that is more important to man. The output visualization is what helps man understand the output of his request. Hence, all PCs need a way to output information in a visual format that we humans can utilize. In its simplest terms, that means presenting images on a monitor. The component in charge of this functionality is the GPU. With this importance, you would need to be sure that your motherboard is the kind of GPU that you need for your intended uses.

RAM Support On Motherboard

While your CPU is turned on and working, it needs somewhere to store information. The place where this happens is called the Random Access Memory (RAM). In the world of computing today, most computers come with at least 4GB of RAM. However, depending on your need, you may likely run into a situation where you need to upgrade the RAM. This is where the RAM expansion slots come into play. The number of RAM slots in a motherboard defines how much RAM you can add, and it most generally varies from two to eight slots. You can add one RAM module at a time. Nonetheless, you will only get the best performance when you install the RAM in matched pairs and slots.

Storage Support on Motherboard

While the data is stored on the RAM while you are working on your PC, it is in the storage devices that they are permanently stored. The operating system itself, the operating system’s applications, and other third-party applications that you run on your system are stored here. As well, as files and folders and stored on the storage component. The most used storage connection today is the Serial ATA also known as SATA. SATA is in its third revision, and SATA 3.0 is a connection that provides up to six gigabits per second (Gb/s) transfer rate. That translates to up to 600 megabytes per second (600MB/s) in read and write speeds for SATA SSDs and usually significantly less than 150MB/s read and write for HDDs.

While your system readily supports storage connections, you may as well need to look at the future expansion probabilities. Does your motherboard support storage that is twice sized as the current one that came with the PC? That is a question you might want to ask.

Other Components Support On Motherboard

Your motherboard runs with more than just the RAM, storage, and GPU. There are other components and peripherals that you use on your PC. Knowing how your motherboard support these can give you the knowledge on what to add and what to expect.

And that is it. Now you should have more than enough information on your motherboard. We hope this has been a great read for you. For your questions, you can contact us or leave a comment. Good to have you here!

  1. The System Information page provides full details of the stuff running on your computer system
  2. Now scroll to the section where the details start with “Baseboard”. That is where the motherboard information starts from. The key notes to consider here are:
  • BaseBoard Manufacturer: The is the details of the manufacturer of the motherboard
  • BaseBoard Product: This is the model number attached to the motherboard by the manufacturer.
  • BaseBoard Version: The motherboard version number that gives you the hint on the generation number. If the number ends with 02, it denotes that it is the second generation of that particular motherboard product model