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North/South Bridge Architecture

i.The Chipset is a group of some specialized chips on the motherboard that connects the
processor to the external devices. The chipset contains the processor bus interface (called frontside bus, or FSB), memory controllers, bus controllers, I/O controllers, and more.
ii. The chipset controls the interface or connections between the processor and everything else.
Hence, the chipset tells us which type of processor is connected; how fast it will run; how fast the
buses will run; the speed, type, and amount of memory you can use; and more.
iii. Most of Intels earlier chipsets are broken into a multitiered architecture incorporating what are
referred to as North and South Bridge components. The Super I/O chip also comes with the
chipset ,but is not really considered as a part of the chipset. 0
iv. The North Bridge:
It is one of the two chips in the core logic chipset on the motherboard .It is called as
Controller Hub (MCH) in Intels Accelerated Hub Architecture (AHA).Some north bridges
also have integrated video controller and hence it is called ad Graphics Mamory Controller
Hub (GMCH).
The northbridge connects directly to the processor via the front side bus (FSB). A memory
controller is located on the northbridge, which gives the CPU fast access to the memory. The
northbridge also connects to the AGP or PCI Express bus and to the memory itself.
Since different processors and RAM requires different signaling , a specific northbridge will
work with one or two types of CPU and only one type of RAM.
The Northbridge plays important role in deciding how far a computer can be overclocked.
It uses a heat sink and some kind of cooling .
v. The South Bridge:
It is a chip that implements the slower capabilities of the motherboard in a
Northbridge/Southbridge chipset computer architecture.
In Accelerated Hub Architecture (AHA) of Intel ,south bridge is called as I/O Controller
Hub(ICH) as connects the Input and output device to the processor.South bridge is not
directly conneted to the CPU,rather it is connected to the CPU through the Northbridge
The interface between the Northbridge and the Southbridge is the PCI bus.
The South Bridge connects to the 33MHz PCI bus and contains the interface or bridge to the
8MHz ISA bus (if present). It also typically contains dual ATA/IDE hard disk controller
interfaces, one or more USB interfaces, and in later designs even the CMOS RAM and realtime clock functions.
The South Bridge connects to the 33MHz PCI bus and contains the interface or bridge to the
8MHz ISA bus (if present). It also typically contains dual ATA/IDE hard disk controller
The South Bridge also contains the Low-Pin-Count(LPC) bus that connets the Southbridge
with the Super I/O chip.
vi.
The Super I/O chip:
Its a separate chip attached to the Southbridge that is not really considered part of the
chipset. The Super I/O chip contains commonly used peripheral items all combined into a
single chip.
Originally , the Super I/O chips are connected to the Southbridge through the 8MHz ISA
bus.Newer Super I/O chips are connected to the Southbridge through the Low-PointCount(LPC) bus ,which operates at 16.67 MBps.

The Super I/O chips contains all the standard peripherals that are built in to a motherboard.
For example, most Super I/O chips contain the serial ports, parallel port, floppy controller,
and keyboard/mouse interface.
Optionally, they might contain the CMOS RAM/Clock, IDE controllers, and game port
interface as well.
Note that most recent South Bridge chips now include Super I/O functions (such chips are
known as Super-South Bridge chips), so that most recent motherboards no longer include a
separate Super I/O chip.