View Full Version : What is meant by chipset?

05-26-2002, 02:07 PM
What is meant by a "motherboard's chipset"?

05-26-2002, 02:36 PM
The core logic controller chip(s) on a motherboard. Typically, they're the most prominent chips on the board besides the CPU. One of them, referred to as the 'northbridge' is usually covered by some sort of heatsink. It's located in the upper half of the board, near the CPU and RAM. The other chip, sort of the sidekick, is the 'southbridge'. This takes care of the PCI, IDE, USB, and legacy portions and whatever else the Northbridge leaves behind.

You can also think of the chipset as the brains of the motherboard, or maybe the boss. They pretty much say what goes where, when, how, etc. much like traffic cops.

05-26-2002, 02:50 PM
Gotcha, thanks. Few more questions if you don't mind. I'm reading my motherboard manual and it's talking about DRAM. What is the significance of clock rate vs. bus width vs peak bandwidth, and how do these three relate to the performance of my system?

Just as an example... I'm looking at RDRAM vs. DDR SDRAM. RDRAM is listed with a 400 MHz clock rate, and 16 bits of Bus Width, and 1.6 GBps of peak bandwidth. DDR SDRAM is listed at 133 MHz clock rate, 64 bits bus width, and a peak bandwidth of 2.1 GBps. It seems like DDR SDRAM is top of the line at the moment, but why is that? RDRAM has a faster clock rate, and bandwidth that appears (from a newbie's eyes) to be comparable to the DDR SDRAM. Only the bus width is lower. What's the difference?

Appreciate the help.

05-26-2002, 03:05 PM
RDRAM is more useful in places like servers, that handle large chunks of data and need to do it fast. The bad news is RDRAM has high latency--comparable to the 0-to-60mph time in a car, which is "the lower, the better"

DDR is a faster version of SDR SDRAM.

Here's the way I put it:

RDRAM is a 2 lane highway at 200mph: not as much traffic can get on, but the ones that do go really fast.

DDR is a 4 lane highway at 100mph: more traffic can get on, but it doesn't have the pure speed RDRAM does. Additionally, there is more room to move if one lane gets bogged down.

May not be totally clear, but this should give you an idea of how things work.

05-26-2002, 03:35 PM
I follow, thanks for the help.

05-28-2002, 02:46 AM
good analogies with the higways :smokin:

Mr. C
05-28-2002, 12:15 PM
good analogies with the higways :smokin:

Yeah, Morgan is quite a good teacher.
Hec, I think I even understood that:thumb:

05-28-2002, 01:41 PM
Thanx. I try:p

05-30-2002, 05:50 PM
RDRAM is more useful in places like servers, that handle large chunks of data and need to do it fast.

Err... servers need to access small chunks of data and fly about all over the place. DDR would wollop RDRAM in a server :)

Video editing and 3D rendering on the other hand... RDRAM would win hands down.

06-02-2002, 01:23 PM