ATX - Connectors

Connectors

On the back of the computer case, some major changes were made to the AT standard. Originally AT style cases had only a keyboard connector and expansion slots for add-on card backplates. Any other onboard interfaces (such as serial and parallel ports) had to be connected via flying leads to connectors which were mounted either on spaces provided by the case or brackets placed in unused expansion slot positions. ATX allowed each motherboard manufacturer to put these ports in a rectangular area on the back of the system, with an arrangement they could define themselves, though a number of general patterns depending on what ports the motherboard offers have been followed by most manufacturers. Cases are usually fitted with a snap-out panel, also known as an I/O plate or I/O shield, in one of the common arrangements. If necessary, I/O plates can be replaced to suit a motherboard that is being fitted; the I/O plates are usually included with motherboards not designed for a particular computer. The computer will operate correctly without a plate fitted, although there will be open gaps in the case and the EMI/RFI screening will be compromised. Panels were made that allowed fitting an AT motherboard in an ATX case.

ATX also made the PS/2-style mini-DIN keyboard and mouse connectors ubiquitous. AT systems used a 5-pin DIN connector for the keyboard, and were generally used with serial port mice (although PS/2 mouse ports were also found on some systems). Many modern motherboards are phasing out the PS/2-style keyboard and mouse connectors in favor of the more modern Universal Serial Bus. Other legacy connectors that are slowly being phased out of modern ATX motherboards include 25-pin parallel ports and 9-pin RS-232 serial ports. In their place are onboard peripheral ports such as Ethernet, FireWire, eSATA, audio ports (both analog and S/PDIF), video (analog D-sub, DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort), and extra USB ports.

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