Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Longest-Running Tech Reference on the Planet

A CDE Definition

You'll love The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) for Tech Term of the Day (TTOD)

LOOK UP ANOTHER TERM


Northbridge

The high-speed part of a common chipset architecture in a computer. The Northbridge is the controller that interconnects the CPU to memory via the frontside bus (FSB). It also connects peripherals via high-speed channels such as PCI Express. The Northbridge may include a display controller, obviating the need for a separate graphics card.

The Southbridge controller handles the remaining I/O, including the PCI bus, parallel and Serial ATA drives (IDE), USB, FireWire, serial and parallel ports and audio ports. Earlier chipsets supported the ISA bus in the Southbridge. Starting with Intel's 8xx chipsets, Northbridge and Southbridge were changed to Memory Controller and I/O Controller (see Intel Hub Architecture).


      Northbridge Connects CPU to:
      RAM
      Built-in graphics
      PCI Express (PCIe)

      Southbridge Connects CPU to:
      SATA drives
      USB bus
      Built-in audio




Northbridge/Southbridge Chipset
The Northbridge part of the chipset controls the high-speed channels, while the Southbridge controls the lower speed devices.






Intel Hub Architecture

Intel's architecture for the 8xx family of chipsets, starting with the 820. It uses a memory controller hub (MCH) that is connected to an I/O controller hub (ICH) via a 266 MB/sec bus. The MCH chip supports memory and AGP, while the ICH chip provides connectivity for PCI, USB, sound, IDE hard disks and LAN.

Because of the high-speed channel between the sections, the Intel Hub Architecture (IHA) is much faster than the earlier Northbridge/Southbridge design, which hooked all low-speed ports to the PCI bus. The IHA also optimizes data transfer based on data type. See Northbridge and Intel chipsets.




Intel Hub Architecture
Intel introduced its hub architecture starting with the 820 chipset, which divides control between a memory controller chip (MCH) and an I/O controller chip (ICH). This is an illustration of the 850.






Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
BeforeAfter
NOPNorthgate
NORNorthwood
NOR flashNorton AntiVirus
noreplyNorton Desktop for Windows
normal wearNorton Navigator
normalizationNorton SI
NormandyNorton Utilities
NortelNOS
Nortel NetworksNOS/VE
North bridgeNoSQL

Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.
Computer Words You Gotta KnowSystem design
Job categoriesUnix/Linux
Interesting stuffPersonal computers
InternetIndustrial Automation/Process Control
Communications & networkingAssociations/Standards organizations
HistoryDesktop publishing
Audio/VideoGraphics
MainframesSecurity
ProgrammingHealthcare IT
System design