Motherboard configuration data is stored on NVRAM, also known as Non-volatile Random Access Memory. This type of computer storage has the advantage of retaining its state, even with power disconnected.
This is useful for keeping all sorts of settings and information persistently stored on your motherboard.
For example, it stores the BIOS configuration settings that configure the low-level operation of your motherboard’s hardware devices.
The NVRAM chip can be found on a small daughter card that plugs into a parallel port connector on your motherboard. This type of connection is referred to as a parallel port.
A parallel port refers to the fact that many signals from the motherboard are transmitted to other devices through parallel lines. In addition to connecting NVRAM chips, parallel ports are often used for attaching printers and other computer peripherals.
For simplicity’s sake, computers typically have two parallel ports: one for input and one for output.
Here is the answer for, where do today’s computers store almost all motherboard configuration data?
Here are some points where do computers store all motherboard configuration data:-
1. On the Motherboard, or in the NVRAM chip:-
i. BIOS configuration files are stored in flash ROM/NVRAM to ensure that BIOS data is kept persistent even when power is disconnected.
The important data is stored in “.BIN” files. These .BIN files are copied to an EPROM chip when the BIOS has been updated, and then to a hard drive in order to preserve them permanently.
ii. A motherboard will have a small jumper, usually in the form of a screw, for adjusting the timing for serial port memory reads/writes. This setting is usually accessed through the BIOS, and it is possible to move this jumper to configure NVRAM for temporary storage.
This allows downloading of the NVRAM contents to a connected personal computer for use as knowledge. However, after doing so, the contents will be lost and forgotten when power is disconnected from the motherboard.
2. Computer Knowledge:
- The BIOS configures your motherboard’s hardware devices at boot time by reading/writing data from/to NVRAM on your motherboard. It also typically uses an EEPROM chip for storing CPU information such as serial numbers and timing parameters that are specific to your CPU.
- NVRAM will also store your operating system software, such as Windows operating system files.
- NVRAM is the only storage medium that will store data persistently after power has been disconnected from all hardware devices that use it. As a result, NVRAM is the only way that BIOS and operating system software can be kept persistent after a power failure.
- The BIOS/NVRAM settings are maintained by a small program known as a boot manager, or boot options manager (BOM) for short.
This program runs every time your computer boots up and reads/writes information from/to NVRAM to configure your motherboard hardware devices and operating system software stored in memory at boot time.
3. Information from NVRAM
In the past, NVRAM was often considered a toy for hobbyists, but today it is used to store important information for many computers. One purpose of NVRAM is to maintain the configuration of a motherboard after a power failure.
If a power failure occurs when your computer is powered off, then correct operation will be restored when you power back on.
As a result, the configuration settings stored in NVRAM are referred to as “persistent”. Important information such as BIOS settings and operating system software are typically stored in NVRAM because it has the benefit of being persistent after a power failure.
What data is stored in NVRAM?
Data can be stored in NVRAM for a long period of time, however the following information is held for a short amount of time:-
- BIOS settings are typically held for one minute, no longer than two minutes if the computer has just been turned on.
- Data that persists after power failure usually takes about 20 minutes to be written to the disk drive.
- Once this data has been written to the hard drive, it is safe to assume that it will remain unchanged until you open Windows Explorer and write another file into that location.
4. Disk drives:
- NVRAM is used to store BIOS and operating system settings and important data such as system data and program files, disk drive parameters, etc.
- When you reboot your computer after a power failure, your computer will access the hard drive first in order to access this information, which was previously stored persistently in NVRAM.
- The information that was stored persistently to disk drive by NVRAM is now accessible due to an interruption of electrical power supply which causes the microcontroller to shut down temporarily rather than lose its knowledge completely.