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smallbluedisk.gif The Baby AT motherboard
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This page provides an overview of the various styles of motherboards.

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motherboard Form Factors
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An At-A-Glance Comparison Look At motherboard Form Factors

The Baby AT Motherboard
The Baby AT Motherboard set a standard for all future motherboard designs.
  • Old and obsolete computer hardware.

  • Did set the standard for future AT based motherboards.

  • Designed for 8088, 80286, 80386, and 80486 based computers.

 

The motherboard pictured here can support the following technologies:

  1. Any Intel 486 based central processing unit designed on the left hand side of the motherboard.

  2. (6) 8 bit ISA slots designed on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  3. (2) 16 bit EISA slots designed at the bottom of the motherboard.

  4. (8) Single Inline Memory Modules (SIMM's).

  5. (1) AT Keyboard.

  6. Other components need to plug into the ISA or EISA expansion slots on the motherboard.

  7. This motherboard has no built in support for hard disk or optical storage drives. A seperate hard drive controller card was required to control a hard disk sub system.

This hardware is considered obsolete and is explained here for reference purposes only.

 
The Baby AT Motherboard
The Baby AT Motherboard set a standard for all future motherboard designs.
  • Old and obsolete computer hardware.

  • Did set the standard for future AT based motherboards.

  • Designed for 8088, 80286, 80386, and 80486 based computers.

 

The motherboard pictured here can support the following technologies:

  1. Any Intel 486 based central processing unit designed on the left hand side of the motherboard.

  2. (6) 8 bit ISA slots designed on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  3. (2) 16 bit EISA slots designed at the bottom of the motherboard.

  4. (8) Single Inline Memory Modules (SIMM's).

  5. (1) AT Keyboard.

  6. Other components need to plug into the ISA or EISA expansion slots on the motherboard.

  7. This motherboard has no built in support for hard disk or optical storage drives. A seperate hard drive controller card was required to control a hard disk sub system.

This hardware is considered obsolete and is explained here for reference purposes only.

 
The Micro ATX Motherboard

Everything to do with PC motherboard design seem to relate to them becoming smaller and more components being embedded into the motherboard directly. The innovation of ATX motherboard technologies permitted board manufacturer's to implement everything (sound, audio, and networking capabilities) into the design directly. This resulted in much more powerful motherboards and a far greater room for expansion and upgradability.

The Micro ATX motherboard pictured here is of a Micro ATX type. ATX is the predecessor to AT style boards, yet the Micro ATX board can be considered in the same family of ATX motherboards just in a smaller design structure.

  • Mini version of the ATX.

  • Best Used in "shuttle" and media center style PCs.

The motherboard pictured here can support the following technologies:

  1. Any Intel Pentium IV based central processing unit designed on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  2. (3) PCI slots designed on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  3. (1) 32 bit ISA slot designed at the bottom of the motherboard.

  4. (2) Dual Inline Memory Modules (DIMMS)

  5. (1) AT Keyboard.

  6. Other components need to plug into the PCI or ISA expansion slots on the motherboard.
The ATX Motherboard
The ATX motherboard picture here is the most common type of motherboard to be used in PC's at present day. ATX boards offer more room for expansion and are cheaper to implement into systems, than the other types of motherboards listed in this section.
  • Most popular motherboard style.

  • Best used in either a desktop or tower based PC.

  • ATX motherboards offer the most room for expansion and are easier to add upgrades when needed.

The motherboard pictured here can support the following technologies:

  1. Any Intel Pentium IV based central processing unit designed on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  2. (4) PCI slots designed on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  3. (1) AGP slot designed specifically for high end video cards.

  4. (2) hard disk drives and (2) optical drives.

  5. (2) Dual Inline Memory Modules (DIMMS)

  6. (1) PS/2 Keyboard.

  7. (1) PS/2 Mouse.

  8. (1) Sound, (1) network, and (2) USB controllers.

  9. Other components need to plug into the PCI or ISA expansion slots on the motherboard.
motherboard Style Illustration Best Uses
Baby AT Baby AT Mainboard

- Old and obsolete computer hardware.

- Did set the standard for future AT based motherboards.

- Designed for 8088, 80286, 80386, and 80486 based computers.

AT Baby AT Mainboard - Designed for Pentium I and II based computers.
ATX ATX Mainboard

- Most popular motherboard style.

- Best used in either a desktop or tower based PC.

Micro ATX Micro ATX Motherboard

- Mini version of the ATX.

- Best Used in "shuttle" and media center style PCs.


How Do AT Boards Differ From ATX Boards?

There are a large number of differences between AT and ATX style motherboard's. The most obvious difference is size. An AT style board is built more in the shape of a square, while an ATX motherboard has a larger rectangular shape to it.

The earliest style Baby AT motherboards had very large dimensions with approximately 9 inches occupying the width, and 10 inches occupying the length. Most motherboards of these types were used in older 80286, 80386, and 80486 based personal computer systems. Most Pentium I and some Pentium II based systems were based on this design as well. Although this design set the standard for most AT based motherboards, it was quickly phased out by the ATX form factor, a far more advanced style of motherboard design, as it was the actual ATX form factor that permitted all connectors (including serial port, parallel port, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, and on newer motherboards, sound, game, and network connectors) to be incorporated into the board design itself. The AT form factor normally required separate interface cables to be attached to the motherboard, which further added to the clutter inside the actual tower. The ATX form factor eliminated this element and offered a much more cleaner design

 


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