Northbridge and Southbridge Architecture
Later in the chapter, we will discuss different bus architectures and types such as the ISA and PCI buses. Briefly, these are two separate methods of data transfer from peripheral devices or circuit boards on the motherboard. The older and slower bus is the ISA bus while the faster and currently more common one is the PCI bus. You may have heard of ISA and PCI cards. Some typical expansion cards that come in either ISA or PCI configurations are modems, Network Interface Cards (NICs), and audio cards.
Although many modern motherboards no longer support an ISA data bus, some older motherboards do. For this reason, it was necessary to create two individual chipset structures to support the different transfer buses and their differing speeds.
The Northbridge architecture supports connections between the high-speed CPU bus and the AGP and PCI buses. The Southbridge architecture supports connections between the PCI and the slower ISA buses.
Keep in mind that there are wide varieties of chipset types. Every time an Intel, AMD, or another processor manufacturer produces a new chip, a new chipset is developed and released. In addition, although Northbridge and Southbridge architectures are popular, the design is getting older.
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