No one can doubt that computers are essential for daily living. They’re in our cars, in our workplace, in schools, and almost everywhere imaginable. It would be hard to picture life without computers in this day and age, with so much of society depending on them, it’s a wonder how we ever existed without them. The most important aspect of a computer is the printed circuit board assemblies within each and every computer. These are mostly referred to as different names, such as a motherboard, video card, sound card, RAM and various other components. The motherboard is the heart and brain of a computer, the video card provides the graphics, the soundcard provides the sound and the RAM provides the computer it’s “mental capacity.” However, all of these components of a computer are nothing more than printed circuit board assemblies, copper wire etched into a insulated board which is the base of various electrical components. Some of these assemblies are more complicated than others. Just take a look at a motherboard from the 1990s and compare it with a motherboard of present day.
The motherboards of yesterday are much simpler, with usually a single chip and slots for a video card, soundcard and a little bit of RAM. Motherboards today are much beefier, containing sometimes two processor chips, a internal cooling system, space for a state-of-the-art video and sound card (both of which have come a long way since their ancestors) and the capacity to host a lot of RAM. However, no matter how beefed up these motherboards are, they are still only advanced printed circuit board assemblies. Printed circuit board assemblies began their illustrious careers in the 1840s as nothing more than various electrical components mounted on pieces of wood and connected by means of metal strips or rods. They were large, bulky and served no purpose in the manufacturing or commercial fields as they would later. They were the brainchild of pioneering electrical engineers whom were still trying to unravel the mysteries of electricity and the various ways it could be harnessed. It wasn’t until the 1950s that printed circuit board assemblies began to take shape into the boards they are today, at a time when the first, room-sized computers were being developed and the invention of new electrical technologies, such as the television, were on the rise.
It was at this time these printed circuit board assemblies found their way into commercial and manufacturing industries, where they would use them to create the technologies we see and enjoy today. Although printed circuit board assemblies took nearly a century to find their niche in the world, they are now found in almost every electrical device on the market. They are the guts to the electronic devices found in the average household all the way to the space shuttle and probes being launched to the farthest reaches of the solar system. They are a vital part of our lives today. The world would be a far different place without them.