Northbridge and southbridge chipset, their location on the mainboard

This post is lesson 16 of 42 in the subject Computer Hardware

Chipset is a bridge component for all components on the mainboard. Mainboards usually have 2 types of chipsets: Northbridge chipset and Southbridge chipset.

1. Northbridge chipset

It is also called Memory Controller Hub (MCH).

Northbridge chipset is responsible for communication between high-speed components such as CPU, RAM, AGP, PCI Express and the Southbridge chipset. The Northbridge chipset can integrate video controller program, called Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH).

Northbridge chipset

2. Southbridge chipset

It is also known as Input Output Controller Hub (ICH).

Southbridge chipset is responsible for managing and communicating with components which have slow processing speed such as PCI slot, USB port, IC Sound, LAN IC, BIOS ROM, IC SIO. IC SIO usually manages keyboard, mouse, FDD, COM port, etc. The Southbridge chipset will receives all the data from the other devices and then sends them to the Northbridge chipset.

Southbridge chipset

3. Location of chipsets on mainboard

Block diagram of mainboard

The Northbridge chipset is usually located near the CPU, RAM. The Southbridge chipset is located near the HDD, SIO, the ports connecting peripheral devices.

Location of chipset on mainboard

Note: Not all mainboards have Northbridge chipset and Southbridge chipset. The mainboards using new CPU series, the Northbridge chipset can be integrated into the CPU. In others, both the Northbridge chipset and the Southbridge chipset are integrated into the CPU.

On motherboards with only Southbridge chipset, the Southbridge chipset is usually called Platform Controller Hub (PCH). This is the type of chipset introduced by Intel in 2009.

Block diagram with chipset PCH
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Posted by Vinh Le

Composer at ITLearningCorner.

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