When I read the supermicro website:

there are chassis and motherboard products.

I want to know what's the function of them, and what's the difference?

  • 3
    Apart from the answers below, be aware that sometimes "chassis" is used to clarify that somebody is talking about a physical server, not a server that is a VM. Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 19:49

3 Answers 3



The chassis, also often called the "case", is the container or enclosure that holds all of the other pieces of a computer. It might include some switches, fans, and indicator lights. Desktops and servers will each use a chassis of a different size and shape, but the functions are similar.

Empty server chassis:

empty server chassis

Empty desktop chassis:

empty desktop chassis


The motherboard is a circuit board containing slots or sockets for the CPU and memory, and also contains supplementary circuitry. The motherboard will often have networking, video, and audio components built in, and it will usually have expansion slots for additional components to be added or upgraded. Motherboards are mounted in the chassis, typically in the largest open space you see in these pictures. The other open spaces are for other components, like fans, hard drives, and optical drives.

Server motherboards are similar to desktop motherboards, but usually are larger, and are capable of containing more CPUs and more RAM.

Server motherboard:

server motherboard

Desktop motherboard:

desktop motherboard

  • 14
    +1, But i think just for the sake of better presentation of a server motherboard i would recommend a picture like this. The server motherboard you have choosen for example is almost indistinguishable from workstation, or gaming motherboards. Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 7:23
  • 5
    @soorena12: The server motherboard example has noticeably different I/O from the desktop example... 5 ethernet ports instead of one, no audio. That really sets it apart from workstation boards more than say multiple CPU sockets.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 5:54
  • 2
    Well to my somewhat untrained eye they look the same @Ben Voigt :)
    – Jpe61
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 17:01
  • Chassis also includes the power supply... and then there are blades.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 20:11
  • How about a picture like this techxury.com/image/cache/data/motherboard/… becuse it shows that server boards may be custom-fit for specific chassis, much more so than generic PCs.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 1:11

The chassis is the unit that houses the motherboard and other internal components.

The motherboard is the... motherboard. It goes in the chassis.

  • 3
    I think for this especially, a picture is worth a thousand words Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 23:24

The chassis is a housing and sometimes, especially for servers, comes with pieces of printed circuit board that connect individual components of the computer, for example power supply and mainboard.

The motherboard / mainboard of the computer is a device that is needed mostly for it's interconnection functionality. It offers a slot where the computer's processor is inserted, if it is not directly soldered to the board, and slots where random access memory (RAM) modules are inserted. Furthermore, it contains the chipset, which helps individual components of the computer to communicate with each other and a helps with starting up the computer. The mainboard also often provides connectors for peripherals, such as a monitor and mouse and keyboard.

The motherboard then is installed in the housing along with other components to create a fully functional and modular PC.

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