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Motherboard Diagram Basics and Wiring

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 4/26/2010

Whether it be a custom PC build or replacing some hardware components on your existing PC, you will likely need to do some basic motherboard wiring. This is where the motherboard diagram comes in handy. This article explains how to understand and use motherboard diagrams for your own PC.

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    Where to Find a Motherboard Diagram for Your PC

    The majority of motherboards come with a motherboard manual, which is essentially the same thing as a motherboard diagram. However, there are some situations in which you may not have a motherboard diagram readily available. For example:

    • You lost or misplaced the motherboard diagram that came bundled with your board.
    • You purchased a used motherboard off of a site like eBay that did not come with a motherboard diagram.
    • The manufacturer forgot to include a motherboard diagram with your motherboard.

    In situations like this, you can still obtain a wiring diagram for your motherboard. The heavy majority of motherboard manufacturers post motherboard diagrams and other support resources on their official websites. Here are some quick links to help you out, should you not happen to have a motherboard diagram or manual.

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    Understanding Motherboard Diagrams

    Now that you have a diagram or manual for your specific motherboard, you need to note some important info about motherboard wiring. Check out the below picture to see a basic motherboard wiring diagram from Gigabyte. Also, here is an example of a full motherboard manual, which you should check out, as manuals are more common than diagrams.

    Motherboard Diagram Example 

    As you can see from the above picture, a motherboard diagram is basically a blueprint view of the motherboard, with each connection port labeled. This comes in extremely handy for first time custom PC builders, as it details where each component is located on the board. Rather than having to manually identify each connection type, you can simply consult your motherboard manual to see which part goes where. As noted above, a full motherboard manual is much more detailed than a motherboard diagram alone. Often times, motherboard manuals even have instructions for installing each component, such as RAM, graphics cards, processor, etc...

    Experienced PC builders may not need to consult a motherboard diagram at all. For the most part, each motherboard has the same basic expansion ports and connectivity options. Of course, some motherboards offer more advanced features than others, but the video card can only fit in one place, the RAM can only fit in one place, the CPU goes in the socket, and so on. Once you have this concept down, custom PC building becomes second nature.

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    Understanding Motherboard Jumper Settings

    One thing that even experienced PC builders do need is a motherboard jumper settings diagram. Not to worry, as this is usually part of the motherboard manual. Motherboard jumpers are difficult to identify by look alone. Basically, jumpers are just a couple of pins, placed tightly together. Very small wires connect to each pin, or a combination of pins, to allow you to do things like turn on your PC using the power button, run PC case lights, and connect USB devices to your PC using front-access USB ports. All of these things require very specific motherboard jumper placement. Check out the picture below for a more clear understanding of how motherboard jumper settings work.

    Jumper settings 

    Notice that the motherboard jumper settings diagram displays two sets of paired jumpers. Paired jumpers can be two individual wires that need to be connected to two side by side pins, or a two pronged wire that needs to be connected to two side by side pins. It is very important that you connect motherboard jumpers as verbatim as possible, with the motherboard jumper settings diagram for your motherboard.