What are PCBs and Backplane Connectors?

Printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are physical boards designed to interconnect various electronic components through the use of conductive copper strips attached to a non-conductive substrate. PCBs are a basic building block of any electronic component. By themselves, they may not hold much function, but when components are attached and they are connected with other PCBs, they have the possibility of becoming single board computers, system host boards, or any other electronic system you can conceive. Backplane connectors are the key to PCBs becoming a more complex system. Backplane connectors, or sometimes just referred to as “backplanes”, are a type of connector that enables coupling of PCBs with each other.

Backplanes physically secure PCBs together while also providing for the integration of daughterboards. Daughterboards are simply other PCBs that are attached to the main one, and these can range from sound cards to GPUs depending on what component is attached.

Through backplanes, expansion and interchangeability of the system becomes possible. This is also how new and custom systems are fabricated during the design and assembly phases. Backplanes do have their limits, however, and data transmission is always a factor that manufacturers strive to improve upon. When signals travel through PCBs, they have to pass through the backplane to be transferred to neighboring PCBs. With high speeds and small data pipelines, signals can become bottlenecked and throttled. To remedy this, backplanes are often specifically engineered for differing applications to have higher speed transmissions and reliable data rates.

Altogether, PCBs and backplanes serve as the basic foundation for all electronic components. As one of the fundamental elements for creating complex electronics, they remain steadfast in their popularity and market growth projection. Along with steady improvement of technology and capabilities, PCBs and backplanes can benefit any computer system, data server, or other electronic infrastructure you wish to build.


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