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Most motherboards have special functions that are unknown or just forgotten by users. Quite often, though, these functions can be quite interesting to use. Today we’ll discuss those forgotten motherboard functions.

  • IrDA bus: Most motherboards on the market have a connector on the board for the IrDA (Infrared Developers Association) bus that allows the wireless communication between the PC and peripherals equipped with infrared sensors, as some printers and notebooks. In order to use this bus, it is necessary to install an adapter on the IrDA connector existing in the motherboard that unfortunately is not shipped with motherboard.
  • Additional USB ports: ATX motherboards usually are equipped with two USB ports in their back side. Some motherboards have more USB ports, but they are not located in the back side but in the middle of the board. To use these additional ports, it is necessary to install an adapter that will convert the plug format used in the motherboard to the standard format of the USB plug, permitting the installation of USB peripherals in those additional ports. Most motherboards won’t come with this adapter.
  • Suspend to RAM (STR): You can configure PC in such a way as to store all component information in RAM e power off all components but RAM. Therefore motherboard will power only RAM, keeping all remaining components powered off resulting in a bare 5W consumption when PC is in such a state. The advantage is that when PC is awaken it will be in same position it was when it was put to sleep, holding the same programs and documents that were open, for example. You can even program PC to execute some tasks while PC is sleeping, such as downloading e-mails (PC wakes up, executes scheduled task and goes back to sleep). Some motherboards have a STR connector that allow the installation of a LED that will light when PC is in STR mode and turns off when PC is in normal state.
  • Wake Up On LAN (WOL): This facility allows a computer being turned on by means of the LAN. This enables some administrators to turn on remotely the PCs in the network, execute their maintenance procedures and then turn them back off. This maintenance procedure can even be automated, greatly simplifying network administrators job. Without this facility, the administrator would have to turn on and off each network station manually in order to do the machine maintenance. In order to have it operating, the network board must support the facility, just like the motherboard should. The network board and motherboard must be interconnected via a small three wires cable that is connected to motherboard by means of a connector called WOL. 
  • Wake Up On Ring (WOR): Like WOL, this facility allows the computers to be turned on and off remotely by means of the phone line. Therefore, you can turn on, access, and turn off a computer that is placed miles away from you. in order to have this facility running, both the modem board and the mother motherboard must support it and modem must be connected to motherboard by means of a pair of wires, in a proper connector in motherboard (marked as Wake Up On Ring or something similar). Besides, modem must be connected to phone line e programmed to receive connections. Proper software must be enabled in the machine in order to permit external access – as Windows 98 Dial Up Server – in such a way you can remotely access the machine (obviously this access is done by means of a login and password).