Key Takeaways

  • A PCB is not a motherboard but a critical component of it.

  • Motherboards connect various computer components and provide power.

  • PCBs are customized circuit boards tailored to specific electronic devices.

  • The relationship between a PCB and a motherboard is analogous to a puzzle piece fitting into a larger picture.

  • PCBs can be single-sided, double-sided, or multilayer, while motherboards are typically multilayer.

  • The complexity and layers of a PCB vary depending on the device’s functionality.

What is a PCB?

A printed circuit board, or PCB, is a thin, layered laminate that serves as a foundation for mounting and interconnecting electrical components. Made from non-conductive material, such as fiberglass, PCBs are etched with conductive pathways that connect electronic components through copper traces. The components are soldered onto the board’s surface, creating a complete circuit.

Circuit Board Manufacturing Process

PCBs are manufactured through a complex process that includes the following steps:

  • Design: The board layout is designed using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

  • Printing: The circuit pattern is transferred to a copper-clad laminate via photolithography.

  • Etching: The unwanted copper is chemically removed, leaving behind the desired circuit pathways.

  • Drilling: Holes are drilled into the board for component placement and electrical connections.

  • Soldering: The components are soldered onto the board’s surface.

  • Testing: The board is rigorously tested for functionality and reliability.

Types of PCBs

There are several types of PCBs, each tailored to specific applications:

  • Single-sided PCBs: Have conductive pathways on one side of the board.

  • Double-sided PCBs: Have conductive pathways on both sides of the board.

  • Multilayer PCBs: Have multiple layers of conductive pathways, allowing for more complex circuitry.

Is a PCB a Motherboard?

No, a PCB is not a motherboard. While a PCB is an essential component of a motherboard, it is not the entire motherboard. The motherboard is a larger circuit board that connects various computer components, provides power, and allows for communication between components.

The Motherboard in a Computer

The motherboard is the backbone of a computer, connecting the following components:

  • Central processing unit (CPU)

  • Memory (RAM)

  • Storage devices (HDD, SSD)

  • Graphics card

  • Input/output devices (keyboard, mouse)

The motherboard provides power to the components through voltage regulators and supplies data paths for communication.

The PCB in a Motherboard

A motherboard typically consists of multiple PCBs. Each PCB serves a specific purpose, such as:

  • CPU socket PCB: Holds the CPU and provides connections to other components.

  • Memory PCB: Holds the RAM modules and provides data paths to the CPU.

  • Expansion PCB: Provides slots for additional components, such as graphics cards or sound cards.


A PCB is a crucial component of a motherboard, but it is not the entire motherboard. The motherboard is a more comprehensive circuit board that integrates various PCBs and provides power and connectivity to the computer’s components. Understanding the distinction between a PCB and a motherboard is essential for comprehending the intricate workings of electronic devices.

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