An HDMI® motherboard is a motherboard that is equipped with a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI®) port. HDMI® is a standard that can allow high-definition video and high-quality audio to be transmitted via the same cable. This can allow a computer with such a motherboard to be connected to a variety of monitors and televisions without requiring a secondary audio cable. HDMI® motherboards can be found in both desktop and laptop computers, and many monitors and televisions come equipped with one or more HDMI® ports.
Many motherboards contain basic audio and video functions, doing away with the need for a dedicated video or sound card. This is especially true with budget-priced laptops in which both space and price concerns can lead to the use of integrated graphics. A motherboard with integrated graphics is simply a motherboard that has a video card embedded on it and, thus, has an HDMI® port, VGA port or both.
While integrated graphics often don't have the power to run resource-intensive games, they can be sufficient for lighter uses. Many televisions come equipped with HDMI® ports, and a computer with an HDMI® motherboard may use a television as a monitor. This can allow high-definition Internet video and other media to be viewed on a large screen without an expensive video card. It can also allow the computer to be connected to a television or monitor via a single cable for both audio and video.
While early computer monitors traditionally had only one VGA input, many displays now can be found with multiple HDMI® inputs. This can allow a single display to be used with many different video sources, including a computer equipped with an HDMI® motherboard. HDMI® is fully backward compatible with two of the three Digital Video Interface (DVI) types. This means that a computer with an HDMI® motherboard and an adapter can connect to the DVI port of a display that lacks HDMI® ports. While DVI doesn't support audio input, using an HDMI®-to-DVI adapter won't result in any loss of video quality.
If a computer has a dedicated video card, an HDMI® motherboard is unnecessary. When a system built with an HDMI® motherboard is upgraded with a dedicated video card, the HDMI® port on the motherboard simply stops working. An HDMI® video card may provide all the same useful functionality of an HDMI® motherboard while also being able to run more graphically intensive programs and games.