The motherboard bus is a set of wires that allows one part of the motherboard to connect and communicate with other parts of the motherboard, including the central processing unit (CPU). It also serves as an interface between the CPU and various external devices. The motherboard bus can be one of two types — internal and external.
An internal bus serves as the communication highway of the motherboard. It links the different parts of the computer to the CPU and the main memory. Its primary task is to send data and instructions to the different parts within the motherboard, including the external bus.
The external type of motherboard bus, which is also known as the expansion bus, serves as the interface for peripheral devices like hard disks, CD-ROM drives, and flash drives to get connected to the CPU. The shape of each interface is unique. This prevents plugging a device to a wrong port, which could cause damage to the device while being connected to the CPU.
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All buses have a control bus, data bus, and power bus. The control bus is used by the CPU to send signals to the different parts of the computer system to keep the actions of the different parts coordinated. The data bus provides the path to transfer data and instructions among the different components of the computer. It is assisted by the address bus, which provides the physical address of data in the system memory to facilitate data transfers. The power bus energizes the different components of the computer system.
Motherboard buses differ in terms of data bandwidth, which refers to the amount of data expressed in bits that the bus can transfer in a single pass. They also differ in clock speed, which is measured in terms of megahertz (MHz) and tells how fast the bus can transfer data. The maximum devices that can be effectively supported also vary among motherboard buses. Finally, a motherboard bus can communicate using either a serial or parallel bus.
Hardware engineers continuously develop new buses with higher speeds to keep up with state-of-the-art CPUs that work faster. Some buses become obsolete, while some others get enhanced. It is therefore a must to carefully review the specifications of the computer system and inspect it thoroughly before deciding to buy it to make sure that the computer is not yet technologically obsolete.