MicroATX is a standard for motherboards, introduced in December 1997. The maximum size of a microATX motherboard is 9.6 × 9.6 in. The standard ATX size is 25% longer, at 12 × 9.6 in. Available microATX motherboards support CPUs from VIA, Intel or AMD. microATX was explicitly designed to be backward-compatible with ATX. The mounting points of microATX motherboards are a subset of those used on full-size ATX boards, the I/O panel is identical. Thus, microATX motherboards can be used in full-size ATX cases. Furthermore, most microATX motherboards use the same power connectors as ATX motherboards, thus permitting the use of full-size ATX power supplies with microATX boards. MicroATX boards use the same chipsets as full-size ATX boards, allowing them to use many of the same components. However, since microATX cases are much smaller than ATX cases, they have fewer expansion slots. Most modern ATX motherboards have a maximum of seven PCI or PCI-Express expansion slots, while microATX boards only have a maximum of four.
In order to conserve expansion slots and case space, many manufacturers produce microATX motherboard with a full range of integrated peripherals, which may serve as the basis for small form factor and media center PCs. For example, the ASRock G31M-S motherboard features onboard Intel GMA graphics, HD Audio audio, Realtek Ethernet, thus freeing up the expansion slots that would have been used for a graphics card, sound card, Ethernet card. In recent years, however, it is common for ATX boards to integrate all these components, as much of this functionality is contained in the typical northbridge/southbridge pair. With the "must-have" functions present on the motherboard, the need for having many expansion slots has faded, adoption of microATX has increased to be used in ATX cases. In the DIY PC market, microATX motherboards in general are favored by cost-conscious buyers, where cost savings for the equivalent feature sets outweigh the added expandability of extra PCI/PCI Express slots provided by the full ATX versions.
Since 2006, dual-GPU configurations became possible on microATX motherboards for high-end enthusiast gaming setups, further reducing the need for full ATX motherboards. In addition, some microATX cases require the use of low-profile PCI cards and use power supplies with non-standard dimensions. Compared to Mini-ITX, microATX motherboards have a maximum of four expansion slots and four DIMM slots, as opposed to the single expansion slot and two DIMM slots on Mini-ITX motherboards; this means that microATX allows dual-graphics card and quad-channel memory configurations
CoreExpress modules are complete computer-on-module integrated, compact computers that can be used in an embedded computer board design, much like an integrated circuit component. COMs integrate CPU, graphics, BIOS, common I/O interfaces; the interfaces are modern, using only digital buses such as PCI Express, Serial ATA, Ethernet, USB, HD audio. All signals are accessible on a high-speed, 220-pin connector. Although most implementations use Intel processors, the specification is open for different CPU modules. CoreExpress modules are mounted on a custom carrier board, containing the peripherals required for the specific application. In this way, small but specialized computer systems can be built; the CoreExpress form factor was developed by LiPPERT Embedded Computers and standardized by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group in March 2010. The specification defines a board size of 58 mm × 65 mm smaller than a credit card and small enough to allow a carrier board in standard PC/104-Plus format.
The module can be embedded into a heat spreader, which distributes the component-generated heat onto a larger surface area. In low power applications, this distribution may be enough for complete thermal dissipation. In higher power applications, the heat spreader presents a thermal interface for mating to additional heat dissipating components such as finned heat sinks. Heat spreaders are simpler and more rugged to connect to than the heat generating components underneath; this simplifies mechanical design for the system builder, but can be less efficient than a complete purpose-built thermal solution. In a complete system, heat spreaders can be part of the electromagnetic Interference containment design; the specification is hosted by the Small Form Factors Special Interest Group and is available on their website. Revision 2.1 was released on February 23, 2010. Embedded System Module Computer-on-module Computer form factor Embedded system CoreExpress website LiPPERT Embedded Computers' CoreExpress-ECO module
A motherboard is the main printed circuit board found in general purpose computers and other expandable systems. It holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit and memory, provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard contains significant sub-systems such as the central processor, the chipset's input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, other components integrated for general purpose use and applications. Motherboard refers to a PCB with expansion capability and as the name suggests, this board is referred to as the "mother" of all components attached to it, which include peripherals, interface cards, daughtercards: sound cards, video cards, network cards, hard drives, or other forms of persistent storage; the term mainboard is applied to devices with a single board and no additional expansions or capability, such as controlling boards in laser printers, washing machines, mobile phones and other embedded systems with limited expansion abilities.
Prior to the invention of the microprocessor, the digital computer consisted of multiple printed circuit boards in a card-cage case with components connected by a backplane, a set of interconnected sockets. In old designs, copper wires were the discrete connections between card connector pins, but printed circuit boards soon became the standard practice; the Central Processing Unit and peripherals were housed on individual printed circuit boards, which were plugged into the backplane. The ubiquitous S-100 bus of the 1970s is an example of this type of backplane system; the most popular computers of the 1980s such as the Apple II and IBM PC had published schematic diagrams and other documentation which permitted rapid reverse-engineering and third-party replacement motherboards. Intended for building new computers compatible with the exemplars, many motherboards offered additional performance or other features and were used to upgrade the manufacturer's original equipment. During the late 1981s and early 1990s, it became economical to move an increasing number of peripheral functions onto the motherboard.
In the late 1980s, personal computer motherboards began to include single ICs capable of supporting a set of low-speed peripherals: keyboard, floppy disk drive, serial ports, parallel ports. By the late 1990s, many personal computer motherboards included consumer-grade embedded audio, video and networking functions without the need for any expansion cards at all. Business PCs, servers were more to need expansion cards, either for more robust functions, or for higher speeds. Laptop and notebook computers that were developed in the 1990s integrated the most common peripherals; this included motherboards with no upgradeable components, a trend that would continue as smaller systems were introduced after the turn of the century. Memory, network controllers, power source, storage would be integrated into some systems. A motherboard provides the electrical connections by which the other components of the system communicate. Unlike a backplane, it contains the central processing unit and hosts other subsystems and devices.
A typical desktop computer has its microprocessor, main memory, other essential components connected to the motherboard. Other components such as external storage, controllers for video display and sound, peripheral devices may be attached to the motherboard as plug-in cards or via cables. An important component of a motherboard is the microprocessor's supporting chipset, which provides the supporting interfaces between the CPU and the various buses and external components; this chipset determines, to an extent, the capabilities of the motherboard. Modern motherboards include: Sockets. In the case of CPUs in ball grid array packages, such as the VIA C3, the CPU is directly soldered to the motherboard. Memory Slots into which the system's main memory is to be installed in the form of DIMM modules containing DRAM chips A chipset which forms an interface between the CPU's front-side bus, main memory, peripheral buses Non-volatile memory chips containing the system's firmware or BIOS A clock generator which produces the system clock signal to synchronize the various components Slots for expansion cards Power connectors, which receive electrical power from the computer power supply and distribute it to the CPU, main memory, expansion cards.
As of 2007, some graphics cards require more power than the motherboard can provide, thus dedicated connectors have been introduced to attach them directly to the power supply. Connectors for hard drives SATA only. Disk drives connect to the power supply. Additionally, nearly all motherboards include logic and connectors to support used input devices, such as USB for mouse devices and keyboards. Early personal computers
Next Unit of Computing
Next Unit of Computing is a line of small-form-factor barebone computer kits designed by Intel. The NUC has had eight generations so far, spanning from Sandy Bridge-based Celeron CPUs in the first generation through Ivy Bridge-based Core i3 and i5 CPUs in the second generation to Gemini Lake-based Pentium and Celeron CPUs and Kaby Lake-based Core i3, i5, i7 CPUs in the seventh and eighth generations; the NUC motherboard measures 4 × 4 inches. The barebone kits consist of the board, in a plastic case with a fan, an external power supply, a VESA mounting plate. Intel does sell just the NUC motherboards, which have a built-in CPU, although the price of a NUC motherboard is close to the corresponding cased kit; this UCFF motherboard and system kit are codenamed Deep Canyon respectively. The base UCFF motherboard and kit without Thunderbolt or USB 3 are codenamed Golden Lake and Ice Canyon respectively; the Thunderbolt capable UCFF motherboard and kit are codenamed Campers Lake and Box Canyon respectively.
The USB 3 capable UCFF motherboard and kit are codenamed Horse Canyon respectively. The stripped-down DC3217BY model has no Ethernet; this model, while stocks were still available sold for a deep discount. The absence of Ethernet may be mitigated by using a USB 2.0 to 10/100 fast Ethernet dongle based upon the Kawasaki LSI one-chip adapter, or a similar dongle based upon a Realtek chip. The DC3217BY runs macOS X flawlessly as the processor's HD4000 is supported by macOS X. Sound is not provided by the basic chassis, but may be provided by a generic USB dongle, C-Media, for example. MDP to SVGA or HDMI to SVGA adapters with integral audio output jack can be made to work for audio output with the appropriate updates to the DSDT; this UCFF motherboard and system kit model were codenamed Forest Canyon. The DN2820FYKH product itself is mis-marked DN2820FYK, but the retail package, all retail documentation, Intel's web site identify this product as DN2820FYKH; the "H" indicates support for internal 2.5" media, SSD or HD.
There is no "non-H" version of this product as it does not include an on-board mSATA connector, hence media, external to the board is mandatory, hence the "H" version. This product introduces for the first time a new 12 volt, 3 ampere "wall wart", in place of the traditional 19 volt, 3.42 ampere power brick and its "Mickey Mouse" AC power cord. Four region-specific plug-on adapters, including North America and three overseas countries, are included in the retail package; these models shipped with the problematic BIOS revision 13, however this revision did not recognise most low voltage SO-DIMMs and would report as having zero capacity. Keyboard escapes for BIOS interfacing had been problematic, legacy booting was not supported, it had been elected to only include UEFI booting. BIOS revision 48 has been released and resolved the problems, enabling the recognition of most low voltage SO-DIMMs, keyboard escapes and legacy booting; this UCFF motherboard and system kit models were codenamed Thin Canyon.
UCFF motherboard and system kit models were designated Wilson Canyon containing Haswell processors were revealed in June 2013. In early 2015 a new generation of NUCs, powered by 5th generation Intel processors was released and in Q2 2015 the first NUC with Core i7 processor will become available; the available collection of 5th generation of NUCs include adaptive/smart performance technology and Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. UCFF motherboard and system kit models were designated Rock Canyon. UCFF motherboard and system kit models were codenamed Maple Canyon. All models include: Dual-channel DDR3L SO-DIMM, 1.35 V, 1333/1600 MHz, 16 GB maximum One Gigabit Ethernet port Internal support for M.2 22×42, 22×60, 22×80 SSD card supporting PCIe 2.0 and SATA 6 Gbit/s Two USB 3.0 connectors on back panel Two USB 3.0 connectors on front panel Two internal USB 2.0 ports via header Up to 7.1 surround audio via mini HDMI and mini DisplayPort Headphone/microphone jack on the front panel These UCFF system kit models known as Pinnacle Canyon, are based on 5th generation Celeron and Pentium-branded Braswell 14 nm processor family.
There is the UCFF complete system model known as Grass Canyon, based on 5th generation Pentium-branded Braswell 14 nm processor family and comes with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC with Windows 10 installed. All models include: One memory channel DDR3L SO-DIMM, 1.35 V, 1333/1600 MHz, 8 GB maximum One Gigabit Ethernet port 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 Internal support for M.2 22×30 wireless card supporting PCIe 2.0 ×1, USB 2.0 Two USB 3.0 connectors on back panel Two USB 3.0 connectors on front panel Two internal USB 2.0 ports via header Up to 7.1 surround audio via HDMI Headphone/microphone jack on the front panel Headphone/TOSLINK jack on the rear panel SDXC slot with UHS-I support on the side CIR Sensor According to the Intel Technical Product Specification, these models have fans. UCFF system kit (NUC6i3SYK/NUC6i3SY
Home theater PC
A home theater PC or media center computer is a convergence device that combines some or all the capabilities of a personal computer with a software application that supports video, audio playback, sometimes video recording functionality. In recent years, other types of consumer electronics, including gaming systems and dedicated media devices have crossed over to manage video and music content; the term "media center" refers to specialized application software designed to run on standard personal computers. An HTPC and other convergence devices integrate components of a home theater into a unit co-located with a home entertainment system. An HTPC system has a remote control and the software interface has a 10-foot user interface design so that it can be comfortably viewed at typical television viewing distances. An HTPC can be purchased pre-configured with the required hardware and software needed to add video programming or music to the PC. Enthusiasts can piece together a system out of discrete components as part of a software-based HTPC.
Since 2007 Digital media player and Smart TV software has been incorporated into consumer electronics through software or hardware changes including video game consoles, Blu-ray players, networked media players and set-top boxes. The increased availability of specialized devices, coupled with paid and free digital online content, now offer alternatives to multipurpose personal computers; the HTPC as a concept is the product of several technology innovations including high-powered home computers, digital media, the shift from standard resolution CRT to high definition monitors and large screen televisions. Integrating televisions and personal computers dates back to the late 1980s with tuner cards that could be added to Commodore Amiga PCs via the Video Toaster; this adaptation would allow a small video window to appear on the screen with broadcast or cable content. Apple Computer developed the Macintosh TV in late 1993 that included a tuner card built into a Macintosh LC 520 chassis but withdrew from the market with only 10,000 units shipped.
In 1996 Gateway Computer unveiled the Destination computer that included a tuner card and video card. The unit cost $4,000 and integrated television viewing and computer functions on one color monitor; the Destination was called a "PC-TV Combo" but by December the term "Home-theater PC" appeared in mainstream media: "The home theater PC will be a combination entertainment and information appliance". By 2000, DVD players had become ubiquitous and consumers were seeking ways to improve the picture; the value of using a computer instead of stand alone DVD player drove more usage of the PC as a home media device. In particular, the desire for progressive scanning DVD players with better video fidelity led some consumers to consider their computers instead of expensive DVD players; as DVD players dropped in price, so did PCs and their related video processing and storage capabilities. In 2000, DVD decryption software using the DeCSS algorithm let DVD owners consolidate their DVD video libraries on hard-drives.
Innovations like TiVo and ReplayTV allowed viewers to store and timeshift broadcast content using specialty designed computers. ReplayTV for instance ran on a VxWorks platform. Incorporating these capabilities into PCs was well within the ability of a computer hobbyist, willing to build and program these systems. Key benefits of these DIY projects included more features. Advancements in hardware identified another weak link: the absence of media management software to make it easy to display and control the video from a distance. By 2002, major software developments facilitated media management, hardware integration, content presentation. MythTV provided a open source solution using Linux; the concept was to combine a digital tuner with digital video recording, program guides, computer capabilities with a 10-foot user interface. XBMC was another free and open software project started with re-purposing the Xbox as a home theater PC but has since been ported to Windows and Macintosh operating systems in various forms including Boxee and Plex.
Mainstream commercial software packages included Microsoft's XP Media Center Edition, bundled with Windows XP and Apple's Front Row software bundled with Mac OS X. By early 2006, commercial examples of this integration included the Mac mini which had the Apple Remote, 5.1 digital audio, an updated Front Row interface that would play shared media. Because of these features and the Mini's small form factor, consumers began using the Mini as a Mac-based home theater PC; as digital cable and satellite became the norm, HTPC software became more dependent on external decoder boxes, the subscription costs that came with them. For instance, MythTV is capable of capturing unencrypted HDTV streams, such as those broadcast over the air or on cable using a QAM tuner. However, most U. S. cable and satellite set-top boxes provide only encrypted HD streams for "non-basic" content, which can be decoded only by OpenCable-approved hardware or software. In September 2009, OEM restrictions were lifted for cableCARD devices, opening up the possibility for HTPC integration.
The advent of the digital HDTV displays helped to complete the value and ease of use of a HTPC system. Digital projectors, plasma and LCD displays came pre-configured to accept computer video outputs including VGA, DVI and Component Video. Furthermore, both the computers and the displays could include video scalers to better conform the image to the screen format and resolutions. Computers included HDMI ports that carry both audio and video sig
LPX (form factor)
LPX developed by Western Digital, was a loosely defined motherboard format used in the 1990s. There was never any official LPX specification, but the design featured a 13 × 9 in motherboard with the main I/O ports mounted on the back, a riser card in the center of the motherboard, on which the PCI and ISA slots were mounted. Due to the lack of standardized specification, riser cards were compatible from one motherboard design to another, much less one manufacturer to another; the internal PSU connector was of the same type used in the AT form factor. One of the more successful features to come out of the LPX specification was its use of more compact power supplies, which became used on Baby AT and full size AT cases; because LPX form factor power supplies became ubiquitous in most computer cases prior to the ATX standard, it was not unusual for manufacturers to refer to them as "AT" power supplies though the actual AT and Baby AT power supply form factors were larger in size. The LPX form factor power supply formed the basis for the ATX form factor power supply, the same width and height.
The specification was popular in the early-mid 90's, displaced the AT form factor as the most used. However, the release of the Pentium II in 1997 highlighted the flaws of the format, as a good airflow was important in Pentium II systems, owing to the high heat dispersal requirements of the processor. LPX systems suffered a restricted airflow due to the centrally placed riser cards; the introduction of the AGP format further complicated matters, as the design not only increased the pin count on riser cards, but it limited most cards to one AGP, one PCI and one ISA slot, too restrictive for most users. Some lower-quality LPX boards didn't feature a real AGP slot, but used a physical AGP slot and connected it to the PCI bus; this was noticed however, as many "AGP" graphics cards of the time were in fact PCI cards internally, did not take advantage of the features offered by AGP. LPX was phased out around 1998. NLX was the intended successor, though many manufacturers chose MicroATX or proprietary motherboard formats instead.
LPX form factor at the PC Guide
A desktop computer is a personal computer designed for regular use at a single location on or near a desk or table due to its size and power requirements. The most common configuration has a case that houses the power supply, disk storage; the case may be oriented horizontally or vertically and placed either underneath, beside, or on top of a desk. Prior to the widespread use of microprocessors, a computer that could fit on a desk was considered remarkably small. Early computers took up the space of a whole room. Minicomputers fit into one or a few refrigerator-sized racks, it was not until the 1970s when programmable computers appeared that could fit on top of a desk. 1970 saw the introduction of the Datapoint 2200, a "smart" computer terminal complete with keyboard and monitor, was designed to connect with a mainframe computer but that didn't stop owners from using its built in computational abilities as a stand alone desktop computer. The HP 9800 series, which started out as programmable calculators in 1971 but was programmable in BASIC by 1972, used a smaller version of a minicomputer design based on ROM memory and had small one-line LED alphanumeric displays and displayed graphics with a plotter.
The Wang 2200 of 1973 had cassette tape storage. The IBM 5100 in 1975 had a small CRT display and could be programmed in BASIC and APL; these were expensive specialized computers sold for business or scientific uses. Apple II, TRS-80 and Commodore PET were first generation personal home computers launched in 1977, which were aimed at the consumer market – rather than businessmen or computer hobbyists. Byte magazine referred to these three as the "1977 Trinity" of personal computing. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, desktop computers became the predominant type, the most popular being the IBM PC and its clones, followed by the Apple Macintosh, with the third-placed Commodore Amiga having some success in the mid-1980s but declining by the early 1990s. Early personal computers, like the original IBM Personal Computer, were enclosed in a "desktop case", horizontally oriented to have the display screen placed on top, thus saving space on the user's actual desk, although these cases had to be sturdy enough to support the weight of CRT displays that were widespread at the time.
Over the course of the 1990s, desktop cases became less common than the more-accessible tower cases that may be located on the floor under or beside a desk rather than on a desk. Not only do these tower cases have more room for expansion, they have freed up desk space for monitors which were becoming larger every year. Desktop cases the compact form factors, remain popular for corporate computing environments and kiosks; some computer cases can be interchangeably positioned either horizontally or upright. Influential games such as Doom and Quake during the 1990s had pushed gamers and enthusiasts to upgrade to the latest CPUs and graphics cards for their desktops in order to run these applications, though this has slowed since the late 2000s as the growing popularity of Intel integrated graphics forced game developers to scale back. Creative Technology's Sound Blaster series were a de facto standard for sound cards in desktop PCs during the 1990s until the early 2000s, when they were reduced to a niche product, as OEM desktop PCs came with sound boards integrated directly onto the motherboard.
While desktops have long been the most common configuration for PCs, by the mid-2000s the growth shifted from desktops to laptops. Notably, while desktops were produced in the United States, laptops had long been produced by contract manufacturers based in Asia, such as Foxconn; this shift led to the closure of the many desktop assembly plants in the United States by 2010. Another trend around this time was the increasing proportion of inexpensive base-configuration desktops being sold, hurting PC manufacturers such as Dell whose build-to-order customization of desktops relied on upselling added features to buyers. Battery-powered portable computers had just 2% worldwide market share in 1986. However, laptops have become popular, both for business and personal use. Around 109 million notebook PCs shipped worldwide in 2007, a growth of 33% compared to 2006. In 2008, it was estimated that 145.9 million notebooks were sold, that the number would grow in 2009 to 177.7 million. The third quarter of 2008 was the first time when worldwide notebook PC shipments exceeded desktops, with 38.6 million units versus 38.5 million units.
The sales breakdown of the Apple Macintosh have seen sales of desktop Macs staying constant while being surpassed by that of Mac notebooks whose sales rate has grown considerably. The change in sales of form factors is due to the desktop iMac moving from affordable to upscale and subsequent releases are considered premium all-in-ones. By contrast, the MSRP of the MacBook laptop lines have dropped through successive generations such that the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro constitute the lowest price of entry to a Mac, with the exception of the more inexpensive Mac Mini (albeit with