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The northbridge is one of the two chips, or integrated circuits (ICs), within the chipset on the motherboard. The other chip is called the southbridge. Each chip has a specific set of tasks and communicates between the CPU and external devices through buses.
The northbridge connects the southbridge to the CPU. It is often referred to as the memory controller hub. It handles the faster components on the motherboard, including RAM, ROM, basic input/output system (BIOS), accelerated graphics port (AGP), PCI Express, and the southbridge chip as well as the CPU. It also controls the CPU cache, if it is located on the motherboard.
The northbridge plays a vital role in bus speed and is often used as a baseline for establishing the operating frequency for overclocking (the process of running a computer component at a faster processing speed than the manufacturer’s specifications).
Recent developments indicate that the northbridge may be on its way out. Memory controllers are now being integrated onto the processor die in AMD64 processors. The AMD64 architecture is also implemented in Intel’s newer Pentium 4F and Xeon designs. Additionally, the creation of the PCI Express bus has made the accelerated graphics port (AGP) close to obsolete.