Mainboard Chipset
The mainboard chipset is the set of integrated chips that controls all mainboard functions uncluding the bus and memory and provides all features necessary to support the processor, memory, video and input/output functions.

Mainboard chipsets are integrated chips that provide all the features, control and interfaces between the system mainboard components. This architecture manages communication on the bus the mainboard from two (or more) chips. As of the time this tutorial was originally written, mainboard chipset architectures were based on a Northbridge/Southbridge style architecture.

The chipset determines what capabilities your mainboard will provide including which brand, model and speed of CPU and RAM you will be able to use. They also determine what other features will be available on the mainboard including the type of disk drives and I/O ports.


Most of the personal computer mainboards utilize a Northbridge-Southbridge style architecture first used by the Intel


The Northbridge provides services for high bandwidth components including the CPU, RAM and Video. The Northbridge interfaces to the CPU and RAM are sometimes referred to together as the Front Side Bus or Host Bus. The The Northbridge also connects to the Southbridge.


The Southbridge provides services for medium to low bandwidth components including the I/O ports (RS-232 serial, parallel and USB), PCI slots, floppy, disk and CD/DVD-ROM drives. These devices typically operate at speeds much slower than the processor and main memory.


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