While you connect graphics card, fan, processor and RAM directly to the motherboard, you connect devices like hard drives or disk drives to your motherboard via cables. The terms "mainboard" and "motherboard" are one and the same.
If you just want to build a functional system that performs well and reliably, but don't want to bother with anything else, in many cases a fairly inexpensive entry-level board with a chipset that serves the basic requirements will do.
If you're interested in overclocking (running processors or other components at a higher clock speed), you'll probably want a board with an overclocking chipset. However, pricey motherboards with overclocking features are often cleverly marketed as "gaming motherboards" to suggest that this gives them a competitive advantage, which is often not the case. Therefore, pay attention to the actual features of the motherboard and do not let yourself be blinded by colorful fancy or great product names.
The pins on the back of the motherboard should never be in direct contact with the case. Therefore use small spacer screws.
Since a case usually fits several motherboard sizes, you first have to find the right places for the screws. The best way to do this is to lay the case on its side.
In the next step you have to exchange the old cover for the connectors of the mainboard against a new cover, because the arrangement and number are different from model to model. Most of the time these parts are only clamped, so you can push them out carefully.
In the last step, carefully place the motherboard on the screwed-in spacer screws and check if everything is centered and all connectors are properly seated in the bezel. Screw the enclosed screws into the holes provided in the mainboard.
You place the processor on the socket and fix it with an aluminum bracket. Depending on whether you have an Intel or AMD CPU, you will need a different socket, as the manufacturers have different processor connections.
Most processors already have a graphics unit integrated. For more complex programs or games, however, you need an additional graphics card, which you place in the PCI slots.
The RAM (Random Access Memory) fits into the slots of the same name. You can find the memory units in different sizes and versions. Gamers and graphic designers who work with a lot of data in the buffer need more RAM.
SATA ports are used to connect mechanical hard drives, SSDs and optical drives to your computer. Transfer rates of up to 600 MByte/s are now possible via this port, which is particularly noticeable with SSD hard drives.
In addition to the standard connections for the main hardware of your PC, there are many other connection options on the mainboard:
HDMI, VGA, DVI
Once you have downloaded and opened the tool, you will find detailed information about the mainboard in your computer and the BIOS version used in the "Mainboard" tab. In the next step you can go to the website of the motherboard manufacturer and search for your motherboard.
Once you've found it, you can check the motherboard's product page for some information about the CPUs and BIOS updates to use. So check which processor fits into your motherboard and if a BIOS update is necessary for operation.
In addition to these sources, the corresponding information can also be found via various tools:
Some memory manufacturers offer their own software that you can use to find out which memory modules are compatible with your current hardware.
Use tools like "CPU-Z" or "HWMonitor" to check which memory modules are installed in your system.
With this information, you can then look for a suitable memory module.
Error messages when starting your PC are a sure sign that the mainboard battery is empty. Typical messages are "Invalid Date and Time", "Mismatch CMOS" or "Configuration Error". In this case you should change the battery.