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AMD Motherboards > 
AMD Compatible Desktop Chipset Guide
 

AMD Compatible Desktop Chipset Guide

Table of contents


Introduction

The chipset is the core of the motherboard. A motherboard's CPU support, graphics support, major I/O device support and expansion (add-in) card support all depend on the chipset. When building a computer, please determine your processor first, and then find the right motherboard to support it and the all other hardware you will be using through the chipset information provided here.

The term "chipset" (sometimes called core logic) often refers to the two main chips on the motherboard: the Northbridge and the Southbridge (some vendors name their products differently, i.e. NVIDIA calls it either SPP or IGP or MCP). The Northbridge and Southbridge are sometimes combined. This is called single-chip design. The Northbridge often refers to the chip that handles communications between the CPU, and the AGP or PCI Express bus and the Southbridge. Traditionally the Northbridge contained the memory controller, but for K8 AMD processors (most Semprons, Athlon 64 series), the memory controller is integrated into the CPU. Some Northbridge chips have integrated graphics units as well.

The Southbridge provides connections to I/O devices, such as the PCI bus, USB, PATA, SATA and PCI Express devices. Other Southbridge functions include interrupt controller, real time clock, power management (ACPI and APM), SMBus and so on. Southbridge chips are usually connected to Northbridge chips.

There are four major chipset makers that provide AMD platform core logic products today: ATI, NVIDIA (ULi has been acquired by NVIDIA), SiS and VIA. Let's find out what they have in store.

Notice:

1. Here we only provide chipset specifications - the actual motherboard features (such as CPU support and memory support) may be slightly different due to each motherboard manufacturer’s chosen implementation. Please refer to each motherboard’s detailed specifications for more accurate information.

2. The following section is not a full list of all chipset products (for instance, all chipsets designed for K7 and earlier processors are not included), only popular/commonly used chipsets have been included.


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Product Tour

Since memory controllers are an integrated feature of the K8 processor core, memory support is not presented in the chipset features. Please note that all Socket 754 processors support single-channel DDR400 memory of up to 4GB, while all Socket 939 processors support dual-channel DDR400 memory of up to 4GB. All Socket AM2 processors support up to dual channel (128-bit) DDR2 667, with the exceptions of Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon FX models supporting up to dual channel DDR2 800 memory.

ATI

The following chipsets support AMD K8 processors (Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX).

The Northbridge chips listed above are usually paired with one of the following Southbridge chips:

Some motherboards pair ULi Southbridge chips with ATI Northbridge chips. Please refer to NVIDIA & ULi section for details.

NVIDIA & ULi

NVIDIA Chipsets

NVIDIA chipsets listed here can be single-chip designs or MCP/SPP combination designs. All of them support the full range of K8 processors.

 

ULi Chipsets

ULi chipsets listed in the below table can be single-chips or combination-chip designs, Each supports the full range of K8 processors.

ULi Southbridge chips (usually paired with the following ATI Northbridge chips):

SiS

The following chipsets support AMD K8 processors (Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX).



The Northbridge chips listed above are usually paired with one of the following Southbridge chips:

VIA

The following chipsets support AMD K8 processors (Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX).


The Northbridge chips listed above are usually paired with one of the following Southbridge chips:



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