Why Motherboard is Called Motherboard – [Guide]

Why Motherboard is Called Motherboard

We are sure that at some point you must have wondered why a motherboard goes by that name. Many fancy technological names could have been given to the computer’s mainboard. Why go for mother of all names?

Well, sometimes, for certain devices, their name is given based on their function. An example will be a printer. This is quite simple as it perfectly describes its function which is to print. Yet the name sometimes might have no relation to the function of the device. An example will be the mouse. This does not in any way give the function of that device.

So, how did the name motherboard come about? Well, stick around, and let’s find out together. We will also show you the functions of some important components of the motherboard.

Why Motherboard is Called Motherboard?

The term motherboard is a bit of both examples that we have considered. This means that it could be descriptive. At the same time, that name sounds a bit ambiguous for its function. This depends on how you perceive this term.

Let’s consider a little history behind the evolution of the motherboards. There was nothing called motherboards until the late 1980s. What was in existence back then were backplanes. They were passive printed circuit boards. They had no controllers in their makeup.

The backplane was just a skeletal frame and nothing like the motherboard. It was something we can call a dumb bridge for different subsets of the computer. As computers were getting invented in the 1980s, there was a need for something beyond the backplanes. Computers demanded chips for different peripherals. This gave birth to the rise of motherboards.

So, let’s consider some of the reasons why the motherboard we have today goes by the name motherboard.

1. It is called a motherboard because it is the main circuit board.

One of the reasons why a motherboard goes by its name is because it is the main circuit board in a computer. The name here is derived from what most people think of a motherboard. there might be different boards in a computer and they all serve different functions.

However, the motherboard is the main board that holds all the components together. It also allows room for communication between these components. So, the name seems to fit its functions here.

2. It is called a motherboard because it is the mother of other components.

The capability of a motherboard can be expanded by adding more circuit boards to it. These other boards can be referred to as daughterboards. This term daughterboard defines the technicality behind the other boards.

So, the motherboard being a mother to other components means that it grants other boards access to its resources. It also helps in conveying their data through its channels. Some daughterboards can also have other daughterboards too.

3. It is called a motherboard because it houses the chip with the instructions for computer operations.

A motherboard houses the ROM chip. This chip contains the instructions that make up the BIOS. These instructions are needed to initialize the computer at startup. They verify that all connected hardware devices are in good condition.

The BIOS is the building block of the operations on your computer. Without this BIOS, your computer will most likely not function. Again, the name motherboard comes fitting for the main board of the computer.

4. It is called a motherboard because it is seen as the center of life for your computer.

Nothing in your computer can run without the contribution of your motherboard. It is responsible for connecting all the components of your computer. The motherboard also ensures that power is well distributed to these components. It also holds these components together and ensures that they are in good condition.

5. It is called a motherboard because it is the largest board on your computer.

The term mother is used to explain the fact that something is a large or the most important item in a unit. An example will be a mother ship. This is used to describe the most important ship in a navy fleet. It usually is in the lead role.

The same goes for the motherboard. The term mother describes the fact that it is the largest board. It is also used to point to the fact that it is the most important board on your computer.

So, the term motherboard holds weight as it describes the function of the motherboard. It also describes the importance of this component in your computer.

Related: What are PCIe Cables Used For

Functions of some important components of your computer

There are different components on your computer’s motherboard. While some are quite important, others are a little less important. So, we will be looking at some important components that make up this board.

1. Central Processing Unit (CPU) Chip

The CPU is the electronic unit of your computer that carries out the instructions to run a program. It is the main processor and it executes the main operations of your computer.

2. RAM Slots

RAM is a computer memory that can be written and read. It is mainly used for storing data and machine code. RAM media is quite fast in reading and writing data.

 3. BIOS

The BIOS is used to perform hardware initialization during the bootup process of your computer. It allows room for runtime services for your operating systems and different programs.

4. USB

This component provides specifications for connectors and cables. It also provides the necessary protocols for connection. It also allows communication between different components of a computer.

Related: How to Tell if Your Motherboard is Bad or Dead

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a motherboard and a backplane?

Backplanes were referred to as dump bridges. This is because they only contain the required circuits for different parts of your computer. However, the motherboard fuses components, controllers, and circuitry into one board.

What are the two main components of a motherboard?

The two most important components of a motherboard are the CPU and the RAM. Their functions rank highly important in any computer operation.


The name motherboard was given to this board because of its importance to any computer system. We have been able to highlight some of the reasons why this board goes by that name. We know you had a great time reading through it.

An extra bit of some of the most important components of the motherboard was also added. So, read through and get informed.

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