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3 PC Motherboards Combined Teardown

28 October 2011
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview

Dell MicroBTX, and MicroStar MicroATX and HP proprietary form factor motherboards combined in a single analysis. These 3 motherboards are barebones with no processors or memory cards. They are all fairly unremarkable mainstream products, two of which (the Dell and HP) share the same Intel North and Southbridge chips. The MicroStar is a standout using an ATI chipset. Pricing of all 3 boards are within a few dollars - to be expected.

3 PC Motherboards Combined Main Image3 PC Motherboards Combined Main Image


Cost Notes

As one would expect, the cost drivers for these 3 motherboards were very similar from model to model, and without DIMM cards or microprocessors, they come down to the main Northbridge/Southbridge and other I/O controller and interface chips.

Overall these motherboards are in line, in terms of cost with those previously analyzed.

3 PC Motherboards Combined Cost Analysis3 PC Motherboards Combined Cost Analysis

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / EMS Provider

It is assumed that all 3 of these motherboards were made in China, and manufacturing costs have been calculated to incorporate this assumption.

3 PC Motherboards Combined - Dell Motherboard Top - Functional Area3 PC Motherboards Combined - Dell Motherboard Top - Functional Area

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

Motherboards are inherently complex in that they simply have a great number of discrete components on them, which ultimately has an effect on manufacturing and test costs. However, there is some divergence in the absolute component counts of the 3 boards. The MicroStar weighs in lightest in components at a total component count of 1090, versus 1142 in the Dell, and 1369 in the HP motherboard. This translates somewhat to manufacturing costs as is reflected in this analysis.

Design Notes

These motherboards are fairly standard chipset / reference type designs for which many of the component choices are determined by the choice of Processor/Northbridge/Southbridge combination.

3 PC Motherboards Combined - HP Motherboard Top - Functional Area3 PC Motherboards Combined - HP Motherboard Top - Functional Area

Motherboard

CPUs

  • No CPUs Included on these motherboards

Northbridge/Southbridge

  • The Dell and HP motherboards have the identical Intel QG82945GSL8FU chip, however the Microstar features an ATI RS482, Northbridge / Graphic Controller - PCI Express Chipset, 350MHz Graphics Core, 32-bit or 64-bit System Memory Interface, Built-In DirectX.
  • For Southbridge / I/O Controller chips, the two HP and Dell motherboards again share a common Intel NH82801GBSL8FX Southbridge I/O Controller Hub, whereas the Microstar features an ATI SB400 Southbridge chip.

I/O Control & Interface Chips

  • All 3 of the motherboards analyzed here use various SMSC controllers SCH5504-NS (Dell), SCH5307-NS (HP), and LPC47M997-NR (Microstar).
  • Ethernet controllers are from Broadcom and Realtek (Broadcom BCM5751 (Dell), BCM5752 (HP), and Realtek RTL8100C (Microstar).
  • Furthermore, the Dell is the only of the 3 to feature the Trusted Platform Module (from ST Microelectronics, ST19WP18-TPM-x). And the Microstar is the only of the 3 to feature IEEE1394 support.

Memory

  • These boards were bare and had no DIMM's inserted. Memory chips used were standard, minimal NOR flash / EEPROM configurations.


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