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Intel Chipsets

Finding information at this point becomes very hard because there are so many narrative explainations including Wikipedia's that totally confuse the issue.

Intel's own website Intel Chipsets is the only place I found to get a proper diagram of the Intel architectures.

Tom's Hardware X58 v P67 provides a useful comparison between the performance of these two architectures.

Here are the diagrams obtained from Intel Chipsets for my three preferred architectures.

X58 Chipset

Intel describes the X58 as a "performance desktop chipset" which prompted me to look at it. Points about this architecture are;
  • Triple channel memory bus 6 DIMMs, Max. 24 GB, DDR3 1866/1800/1600/1333/1066
  • The 2 GB/s DMI bus connecting the IOH to the ICH could be a bottle neck.
  • Intel Socket 1366 Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition/Core i7 Processor.
  • Intel Core i7 950 3.06GHz 8MB Cache 4 Core £197
  • Intel Core i7 Extreme i7 980X 3.33GHz 12MB Cache 6 Core £835
The trouble is that according to Tom's Hardware X58 v P67 this chipset doesn't seem to deliver the offered performance with most software. I think this chipset might be better where there is intense memory use.

P67 Chipset

Intel describes the P67 as a "mainstream desktop chipset". Points about this architecture are;
  • Double channel memory bus 4 DIMMs, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1866/1800/1600/1333/1066
  • 20 GB/s DMI bus connecting the CPU to the PCH means no bottle neck. 
  • Intel® Socket 1155 for Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i7 Processor/Core™ i5 Processor/Core™ i3 Processor/
  • Intel Core i3 2100 3.10GHz 3MB Cache 1? Core £94
  • Intel Core i7 2600k 3.4GHz 8MB Cache 4 Core £238

According to Tom's Hardware X58 v P67 this chipset seems to deliver performance very close to that of the X58. I think this chipset might be better where there is intense disk use as it supports Rapid Storage Technology such as Solid State Drives SSD.


H67 Chipset

Intel describes the H67 as a "mainstream desktop chipset". Points about this architecture are;
  • Double channel memory bus 4 DIMMs, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1866/1800/1600/1333/1066
  • 20 GB/s DMI bus connecting the CPU to the PCH means no bottle neck. 
  • Intel® Socket 1155 for Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i7 Processor/Core™ i5 Processor/Core™ i3 Processor/
  • Intel Core i3 2100 3.10GHz 3MB Cache 1? Core £94
  • Intel Core i7 2600k 3.4GHz 8MB Cache 4 Core £238
This chipset is very similar to the P67 but with support for onboard graphics. For this benefit over the H57 it looses 2 PCI express ports and the "extreme tuning support" i.e. you can't over clock it.


Other Intel Chipset Information

For a somewhat confusing account of chipsets take a look here Wikipedia - Intel Chipsets near the bottom of the page is the sections for the "Core i series chipsets".

Because many writers seem to confuse matters by using multiple names for the same things I shall give these two descriptions of Intel architectures. I am not sure if they help!

In one Intel architecture the;
  • Central Processor Unit CPU connects through the Front-Side Bus FSB to the,
  • Memory Controller Hub MCH called charmingly "Northbridge".  This serves as the interface to fast external devices;
    • primarily it connects through the Back-Side Bus BSB to Random Access Memory RAM, and also connects to
    • the PCI Express graphics slot and
    • the Input/output Controller Hub ICH called "Southbridge". This serves as the interface to slower devices such as; hard drives, CD and floppy drives, Ethernet, keyboard/mouse, PCI cards, the system clock, and PCI graphics cards.
See Wikipedia - Motherboard

Some Intel architectures have integrated the Memory Controller Hub MCH (Northbridge) onto the CPU chip thus cutting out the slow external connection between these two, and uprating the Direct Media Interface DMI from 2 to 20 GB/s

The Input/output Controller Hub ICH (Southbridge) function is left outside the CPU and renamed as the Platform Controller Hub PCH.

Where the CPU chip contains a Graphics Processor Unit GPU then this can be connected to the PCH via a dedicated bus the Flexible Display Interface which consists of 2 independent 4-bit fixed frequency links/channels/pipes at 2.7GT/s data rate. If the PCH supports the FDI it will then provide a standard digital audio/video connection from the computer for the users screen or/and home theatre system. See the DisplayPort standard.

© Tom de Havas 2011. The information under this section is my own work it may be reproduced without modification but must include this notice.

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