What Is a Chipset? Here’s the Chipset Definition for You [MiniTool Wiki]

A computer consists of multiple small components such as graphics card, monitor, flash memory , Central Processing Unit (CPU), chipset and so on. In a word, the component of a computer is complex and various.

What is a chipset? MiniTool will explain the chipset definition in this post thoroughly.

What Is a Chipset

Chipset is a set of electronic components in the integrated circuit that is famous as a Data Flow Management System . The chipset takes the data flow between the processor, memory and peripherals under control.

Tip: The chipset is usually found on the motherboard . Given to that fact, chipset is also called motherboard chipset. Chipsets are built for working with a specific family of microprocessors.

In other words, the chipset acts like the communication center and traffic controller, which controls the communication between the processor and external devices. Therefore, chipset plays a vital role in deciding the system performance.


You should also note that the chipset and motherboard must be compatible with CPU. Otherwise, you may suffer a system failover . Generally speaking, most chipset drivers are required to be updated and installed manually.

what is a chipset

-image form intel.com

More importantly, it determines the components that can compatible with the motherboard including CPU, RAM , hard drives and so forth. The chipset can also decide the future expansion options of your computer and when the system can be overlocked.

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The Evolution of Chipset

The chipset also has taken many changes since from its release. In the early days, computer motherboards were made from numerous discrete integrated circuits. Under this mode, you are required to get a separate chip or chips to manage each system component like mouse, keyboard, graphics, sounds and other items.

It is imaginable that scattering these multiple chips is efficiency-consuming. To handle this issue, developers created a better system and started integrating these disparate chips into fewer chips. The appearance of bridges improved the situation.

Thanks to bridges, motherboards came with a northbridge and a southbridge rather than a bunch of chips. The two chips can deal with the specific duties and improve the efficiency to a great extent.

Tip: The northbridge chip is located at the top of the motherboard, while the southbridge chip located at the bottom of the motherboard. The northbridge chip is connected to the CPU directly and acts like a communication middleman for RAM, PCI Express controller , AGP controller, as well as previous motherboard designs. The southbridge copes with lower performing components like PCI buss slots, SATA and IDE connectors, USB ports , onboard audio and networking, etc.

If these small components want to get in touch with CPU, they need to go through the southbridge and northbridge one after another and then reach the CPU. Gradually, these chips are known as chipset as indicated by its literally meaning – a set of chips.

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Main Chipset Models

Computer chipset are mainly designed by Intel and AMD, which are found on various third-party motherboard vendors like MSI, Asus and ASRock. Different chipsets support different CPUs. Hence, you need to take the compatibility of the motherboard into account when purchasing a CPU.

Besides, a chipset may only allow for a specific feature. For example, some chipsets can support up to 10 USB ports, but the specific motherboard only supports 4 to 8 USB ports. In this case, this feature cannot work with your computer neither.

The following table will show you the main chipset models of AMD and Intel.

CPU Brand Chipset Name CPU Market
Intel Z490 10 th Gen Comet Lake Enthusiast
Intel H470 10 th Gen Comet Lake Enthusiast
Intel H410 10 th Gen Comet Lake Mainstream
Intel B460 10 th Gen Comet Lake Budget
Intel Z390 9 th Gen Comet Lake Enthusiast
Intel Z370 9 th Gen Comet Lake Enthusiast
Intel H370 9 th Gen Comet Lake Mainstream
Intel B365 9 th Gen Comet Lake Budget
Intel B360 9 th Gen Comet Lake Budget
AMD TRX40 Ryzen 3000 and Athlon processors High-end desktop (HEDT)
AMD X570 AMD 2 nd Gen Ryzen Enthusiast
AMD B550 Threadripper 2000 and 1000 Mainstream
AMD A520 2 nd Gen Ryzen Budget
AMD X470 AMD 2 nd Gen Ryzen Enthusiast
AMD X399 Threadripper 2000 and 1000 High-end desktop (HEDT)
AMD B450 2 nd Gen Ryzen Mainstream
AMD X300 1 st Gen Ryzen Enthusiast small form factor
AMD A300 1 st Gen Ryzen Mainstream small form factor

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Bottom Line

What is chipset? You may find the answer from the post. In addition, you can obtain some extra information about motherboard chipset as well.

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