Northbridge and Southbridge

Both the Northbridge and Southbridge are important processors which handle communication between components. These processors are commonly found on the motherboard however, recent processors from Intel and AMD are likely to have the Northbridge integrated on the CPU (Central Processing Unit) rather than the motherboard to reduce the overall cost. This article will give a quick overview of the functions and locations of the Northbridge and Southbridge in computers.

Northbridge:

This processor is either located on the motherboard or directly in the CPU. When the Northbridge is located on the motherboard and is close to the CPU to reduce the distance information has to travel to the components it handles communications with. Quite often this processor is covered by a heatsink to help reduce the risk of overheating.

The Northbridge is very important as it handles the communication between components which need fast communication such as the RAM (Random Access Memory). This processor also communicates with the CPU using a FSB (Front Side Bus) for the transport of information. The Northbridge also communicates with the Southbridge through the internal bus, passing on information to other components such as the CPU.

Southbridge:

The Southbridge is slower than the Northbridge and is located near the bottom of the motherboard, commonly to the right. This processor often has no heatsink however, in premium motherboards this processor could have a heatsink to reduce heat possibly increasing it’s lifespan.

This processor controls communication from components such as hard drives and solid state drives (connected through SATA ports), Ethernet and USB ports. These devices do not require as fast communication like the components connected to the Northbridge.

Both the Northbridge and Southbridge are important. If they where not present, components would not be able to effectively communicate with each other.

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