What is a chipset?
In a computer system, a chipset is a set of electronic components in an integrated circuit that manages the data flow between the processor, memory and peripherals. It is usually found on the motherboard. Chipsets are usually designed to work with a specific family of microprocessors. Because it controls communications between the processor and external devices, the chipset plays a crucial role in determining system performance.
In home computers, game consoles and arcade game hardware of the 1980s and 1990s, the term chipset was used for the custom audio and graphics chips.
Based on Intel Pentium-class microprocessors, the term chipset often refers to a specific pair of chips on the motherboard: the northbridge and the southbridge. The northbridge links the CPU to very high-speed devices, especially RAM and graphics controllers, and the southbridge connects to lower-speed peripheral buses .
In many modern chipsets, the southbridge contains some on-chip integrated peripherals, such as Ethernet, USB, and audio devices.
The manufacturer of a chipset often is independent from the manufacturer of the motherboard
In the 1980s, Chips and Technologies pioneered the manufacturing of chipsets for PC-compatible computers. Computer systems produced since then often share commonly used chipsets, even across widely disparate computing specialties.