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A (core logic) chipset contains the basic controlling logic of a computer. It usually consists of three components called the northbridge, southbridge, and BIOS ROM. These chips are mounted on the motherboard and are the basis of the CPU's connection to the outside world. The chipset manufacturers who make chipsets for PC platforms are currently Intel, VIA, SiS, nVidia, AMD, and ATI.

Features common to all northbridges are:

Other features which are sometimes/often found in a northbridge are:
  • Integrated video chipset
  • Interface with video card over AGP bus
All recent northbridges contain one of the two above features.

Features common to all recent southbridges are:

  • Interface with northbridge
  • Keyboard controller
  • Mouse controller
  • Serial and parallel port controllers
  • USB controller
  • IDE controller
  • Floppy drive controller
  • If the northbridge interfaces using a dedicated link, a PCI controller
  • An ISA controller or PCI-ISA bridge
Many southbridges have some of the following features: The BIOS ROM contains the code which is executed at power-on. It performs the POST, supports an extensive hardware configuration interface, and loads a boot loader as the first step of starting an operating system. The BIOS ROM is almost always an EEPROM, allowing the BIOS code to be easily replaced with a newer version from the motherboard manufacturer.

Some PC chipsets are:

Please /msg me with any additions.

This writeup is copyright 2001-2004 D.G. Roberge and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. Details can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ .

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