North Bridge and its functions
North Bridge is bridge that manages communication between Central Processing Unit (CPU) and parts of motherboard. After CPU, North Bridge chip is essentially main component of motherboard and is only motherboard circuit besides CPU that normally runs at full processor bus speed (Front side bus). System controller and memory controller functions are mostly implemented by North Bridge. North Bridge chip is usually located near upper edge of board and hence it has got unique name. It is core of chipset and incorporates interface between processor and rest of motherboard.
Functions of the North Bridge :
The major functions of the North Bridge are described below.
- Processor Support –
One of most important decisions made by anyone choosing or building a new PC in which processor is desired. Motherboard, in particular chipset, decides what type, speed and even what number of processors to use on motherboard. Processor support functions of the.
- L2 Cache Support –
North Bridge of chipset contains cache controller circuitry to control functioning of Level 2 (L2) cache. Cache buffers recent memory accesses by processor, which improves performance drastically since it operates much faster than system memory.
- Main Memory Support –
As a memory controller, North Bridge links processor to memory system logically and electronically, establishes main memory and cache architectures, and assures ne reliability of data stored in RAM chips. As there are different kinds of memory and different speeds of RAM chips, a North Bridge chip supports a specific type of RAM at specific speeds.
- Maximum Memory Support –
The chipset dictates maximum amount of RAM possible on the motherboard.
- DRAM Support –
North Bridge decides type of memory motherboard can use. Changing memory type impacts way that memory is read and written to, which is controlled by chipset. Moreover, some chipsets are better than others with certain types of memory, i.e. a chipset can be optimized to provide faster access to a certain kind of memory, while being less efficient in using a different type of memory.
- AGP functionality –
North Bridge also determines AGP functionality on motherboard. Some chipsets have integrated video, while others support AGP slot on motherboard. AGP slot is used to house video card. AGP is essential for high performance graphics cards.