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What is... the chipset?


 

The "chipset" is the set (set) of chips that are in charge of controlling certain functions of the computer, like the form in which it interdrives the microprocessor with the memory or the cache memory, or the control of the ports and slots ISA, PCI, AGP, USB...

The chipset Intel FX "Merman"

Formerly these functions were relatively simple to realize and the chipset scarcely was influencing the yield of the computer, therefore the chipset was the last element to which importance was granted at the time of buying a motherboard, if it is that someone was bothering to report at least on the nature of the same one. But the new ones and very complex mikes, together with a very wide technologies fan on the subject of memoirs, cache memory and peripheral that appear and disappear almost of month in month, have done that the importance of the chipset grows enormously.

Of the quality and typical of the chipset they will depend:

  • To obtain or not the maximum yield of the microprocessor.
  • The possibilities of update of the computer.
  • The use of more advanced certain technologies of memoirs and peripheral.

He must stand out the fact that the use of a good chipset does not imply that the motherboard as a whole is of quality. As example, many badges with chipsets that would give support to enormous memory quantities, 512 MB or more, do not include memory sockets for any more than 128 ó 256. Or the case of the ports USB, whose support there is foreseen in almost totality of the chipsets of last two years but which up to recent date have not had the necessary connectors in the basic badges.

We will treat only the chipsets for Pentium and Superior, since the chipset of 486 or low it is not of major importance (inside a reasonable limit) for all are in general in a similar level of services and yield, in addition to completely descatalogados. Neither we will treat all the marks, but only the most well-known or of any more interest; of any form, often it are chipsets seemingly unknown that are not but chipsets ROUTE, ALI or SIS under another mark.

Chipsets for Pentium and Pentium MMX

Of Intel (Mermen)

There were the first one (and very successful) Intel incursion in the world of the chipsets, world in which it has happened of not making practically any to have an almost entire monopoly, which is the form in which Intel likes carrying on the business. This does not turn out to be strange, since anybody better that Intel knows how to extract party to his microprocessors; also, the rest of manufacturers depends on the technical information that Intel gives them, which does it when and as he wants.

  • 430 FX: the classic Merman, of resounding success. A chipset adapted enough for the "normal" Pentium (not MMX) with memoirs type EDO. Nowadays desfasado and descatalogado.
  • 430 HX: the Merman II, the professional option of the previous one. Much more rapid and with support for dual badges (with 2 mikes). Something antiquated but very good.
  • 430 VX: the Merman III? Rather 2.5; slightly slower than the HX, but with support for memory SDRAM. It is possible to be said that it is the review of the FX, or that it was extracted so that the people were not scared at the price of the HX...
  • 430 TX: the last Intel chipset for badges Pentium (you tackle socket 7). If we want to use mikes Intel and applications that are satisfied with badges with 1 Pentium, the option to be chosen. Support MMX, SDRAM, UltraDMA... A problem: if one puts his more than 64 MB of RAM, the cache memory stops acting; although many RAM is more than 64 MB.

Chipsets of Intel for Pentium and Pentium MMX

Concept

430 FX

430 HX

430 VX

430 TX

Number CPUs máx.

1

2

1

1

Maximum RAM

128 MB

512 MB

128 MB

256 MB

Types of RAM

FPM, EDO

FPM, EDO, SDRAM

Maximum RAM cacheable

64 MB

512 MB (according to badge, not all)

64 MB

Cache memory L2 maximum

512 KB

Speed bus máx.

66 MHz

Additional ports

 

USB

UltraDMA and USB

Comments

Desfasado

Not adapted for mikes not Intel of new generation (100 MHz support neither AGP nor bus)

The most outstanding of these chipsets, his good yield, especially with mikes Intel. The worst thing, his scarce support for mikes not Intel, that in the field socket 7 have developments superior to those of Intel, like the AMD K6 (normal and K6-2) or the Cyrix-IBM 6x86MX (M2), in general more advanced than the Pentium and Pentium MMX

Of ROUTE (Apollos)

A few quite good chipsets, they are characterized for having support for almost everything imaginable (memoirs SDRAM or BEDO, UltraDMA, USB...); his fight is in the scale of the HX or TX, although they are usually slightly slower than these on having equipped them with mikes Intel, not this way with mikes of AMD or Cyrix-IBM.

Chipsets of ROUTE for Pentium and Pentium MMX

Concept

VP2

VPX

VP3

MVP3

Number CPUs máx.

1

Maximum RAM

512 MB

1 GB

Types of RAM

FPM, EDO, BEDO, SDRAM

FPM, EDO, SDRAM

Maximum RAM cacheable

512 MB (according to badge, not all)

512 MB ó 1 GB (according to badge, not all)

Cache memory L2 maximum

2048 KB

Speed bus máx.

66 MHz

75 MHz

66 MHz

100 MHz

Additional ports

UltraDMA and USB

UltraDMA, USB and AGP

Comments

Not adapted for mikes not Intel of new generation (100 MHz support neither AGP nor bus)

Without bus to 100 MHz

Very modern, with all the advances

Chip VT82C597, one of the two that form the chipset "Apollo VP3"

The good of the badges with chipsets ROUTE is that 7 continue on the market socket, as what they have support for all the new technologies like the AGP or the buses to 100 MHz, in addition to which his quality is usually intermediate - high. In the badges with chipsets Intel there is a very wide fan between very good badges and frankly bad others, in addition to being already desfasadas (no chipset Intel for socket 7 supports AGP, for example).

The last ROUTE chipset for socket 7, the MPV3, offers all the services of the BX of Intel (except I supported for dual badges), forming what names a Super badge 7 (with AGP and bus to 100 MHz), that with a mike as the new AMD K6-2 does not have anything that to envy to a team with Pentium II.

Of ALI

Very good chipsets, have solutions as advanced as the chipset for Super badges 7 "Aladdin V", which like the MPV3 of ROUTE turns out to be comparable to all the effects to the BX of Intel for badges Pentium II (bus to 100 MHz, AGP...); a fantastic election for mikes as the AMD K6-2.

ALI'S Chipsets for Pentium and Pentium MMX

Concept

M1521/M1523 (Aladdin III)

M1531/M15X3 (Aladdin IV - IV +)

M1541/M1543 (Aladdin V)

Number CPUs máx.

1

Maximum RAM

1 GB

Types of RAM

FPM, EDO, SDRAM

FPM, EDO, SDRAM, PC100

Maximum RAM cacheable

512 MB (according to badge, not all)

Cache memory L2 maximum

1 MB

Speed bus máx.

75 MHz

83,3 MHz

100 MHz

Additional ports

USB

UltraDMA and USB

UltraDMA, USB and AGP

Comments

Adapted for mikes not Intel but not of last generation (AMD K6-2) for lacking bus to 100 MHz

Very modern, with all the advances

Of SiS

As the previous ones, his capacities are advanced, although his speed is sometimes slightly more limited than in those of Intel. There turn out to be advisable for his use along with chips compatible Intel as the K6 of AMD or 6x86MX (M2) of Cyrix-IBM, although unfortunately they do not support for the time being the bus to 100 MHz of the new one K6-2.

SIS'S Chipsets for Pentium and Pentium MMX

Concept

5597/5598

5581/5582

5591/5592

Number CPUs máx.

1

Maximum RAM

384 MB

768 MB

Types of RAM

FPM, EDO, SDRAM

Maximum RAM cacheable

128 MB

256 MB

Cache memory L2 maximum

512 KB

1 MB

Speed bus máx.

75 MHz

83 MHz

Additional ports

UltraDMA, USB and integrated SVGA

UltraDMA and USB

UltraDMA, USB and AGP

Comments

Adapted for mikes not Intel (especially Cyrix) but not those of last generation (AMD K6-2) for lacking bus to 100 MHz

Chipsets for Pentium II and Celeron

Of Intel

To tell truth, still without serious competition, what does not wonder having the Pentium II only one year... and belonging to Intel. They are quite advanced, except the antiquated one 440 FX (that is not properly a chipset for Pentium II, but rather for the dead Pentium Pro) and the EX-bargain sale, based on the LXth but with almost all the limited capacities.

Chipsets of Intel for Pentium II and Celeron

Concept

440 FX

440 LX

440 BX

440 EX-

Number CPUs máx.

2

1

Maximum RAM

512 MB

1 GB EDO ó 512 MB SDRAM

1 GB

256 MB

Types of RAM

FPM, EDO

FPM, EDO, SDRAM

SDRAM and PC100 SDRAM

FPM, EDO, SDRAM

Maximum RAM cacheable

 

Not applicable (inside the microprocessor, fixed size)

Cache memory L2 maximum

Speed bus máx.

66 MHz

100 MHz

66 MHz

Additional ports

UltraDMA and USB

UltraDMA, USB and AGP

Comments

Desfasado

 

 

Adapted only for Celeron

Of other marks

They are not too much, but those who exist have all the capacities that need in a badge Pentium II. The problem which they meet is not his absence of efficacy, since although those of Intel are slightly more rolled, the yield is very similar; but the fact that for one year the people only have heard to speak about FX, LX, BX and EX-it is difficult that enter on a market where Intel has an absolute monopoly.

Chipsets of other marks for Pentium II and Celeron

Concept

ROUTE Apollo Pro

ALI Aladdin Pro II M1621/M15X3

SIS 5601

Number CPUs máx.

1 ó more depending on the badge

 

 

 

?

Maximum RAM

1 GB

1 GB SDRAM ó 2 GB FPM or EDO

Types of RAM

FPM, EDO, SDRAM, PC100 SDRAM

Maximum RAM cacheable

 Not applicable (inside the microprocessor, fixed size)

Cache memory L2 maximum

Speed bus máx.

100 MHz

Additional ports

UltraDMA, USB and AGP

Comments

Much advanced, equivalent to the Intel BX

In project

Glossary of related terms

It turns out a very nice knowledge that the chipset supports this or that one, but if to know what this is or that one we do not go to any side. The most important terms to be known are:

  • AGP: a type of port or slot specialized for graphs 3D.
  • Bus (of the system): the channel for which he communicates to himself the mike with the memory and usually with the cache memory L2. The more wide be, better, especially for very rapid mikes.
  • Cache memory L2: the secondary cache memory or of level 2 (level 2). It is the external cache memory, which accelerates the yield of the computer; all the more memory RAM let's have, more I caught we will need (for example, approximately 512 KB for 32 MB of RAM).
  • PC100: the normalized type of memory 100 MHz SDRAM.
  • RAM cacheable: the quantity of maximum RAM that is capable of handling the cache memory. If we overcome this number it is as if we had no cache memory.
  • UltraDMA: a technology for the hard disks modern IDE that her support that it raises the theoretical information transference up to 33,3 Mb / century
  • USB: a type of modern port to connect external devices of speed average - fall, with the advantage of being universal (the same one for all) and to be able to tune in in chain some to others.

The election of the chipset

Chipset and motherboard form an indissoluble set and of the maximum importance, therefore his buy must be accompanied by a certain reflection. The first thing is to remember that a good chipset only does not do a good badge; if we find two badges with the same chipset but one costs the double that other one, for something it will be (although sometimes that one something is simply the mark of the badge, for example the badges Intel, which in general are not so advanced like the Asus, Iwill or Gigabyte but that cost the same or more than these...)

Likewise, a badge must be bought thinking about the future. For example, if we are going to buy one for Pentium II, he is worth buying one with a chipset capable of working to 100 MHz of bus (an Intel BX, Apollo Pro or Aladdin Pro II), with what we will be able to extend it in the future to mikes to 350 MHz or more, thing that we will not be able to do if we buy a LX, for example.

Do not get obsessed with Intel Inside. It is not that it has a special mania to Intel, and if it had it, one would bear it; it is a question of many people preferring to allow to go for the attraction of a mark without finding out about the characteristics of what he buys. For example, although the chipset BX of Intel for Pentium II is still the best of his category, in the field socket 7 the best developments do not belong to Intel, which has left it in favor of the field Pentium II. For it, to buy to him a badge TX now would be an error, not because it is Intel but because this chipset is antiquated (although a few months ago it was probably the best of his category); and the same happens with EX-, that it is much worse than Apollo Pro or Aladdin Pro II.

And finally, study well the buy. It can be that the chipset admits a lot of memory, but that the badge has few sockets to install it; or that we are buying a motherboard or a second-hand computer, and really it is important for us more that the memory is sufficient and easily extendable (EDO better than FPM, with empty sockets...) that the fact that it has a chipset without AGP or without AGP or UltraDMA, when it is possible that we are going to use neither one nor other.


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