What are the north and south bridges of a motherboard

chipsetcpucpu-architecturemotherboard

I've been looking for open-source BIOS and I found coreboot (not enough rep for a link here); but when I tried to figure out if my motherboard or chipset was supported they only mentioned "northbridge"s and "southbridge"s and didn't mention any chipsets that I recognized.

(At the time of writing this coreboot's wiki is down so you won't be able to use those links)

My questions are:

  • What is a "northbridge"?
  • What is a "southbridge"?
  • How can I find out which "northbridge" and "southbridge" my desktop has?

Best Answer

Northbridge and Southbridge are two different sections on the motherboard.

  • Northbridge is directly connected to the CPU, thus Northbridge supports high-bandwidth devices such as M.2 SSD's, Video cards, and RAM
  • Southbridge has to go through Northbridge in order to access the CPU and thus supports the lower-bandwidth devices like SATA drives, PCI slots, USB of all speeds, and your BIOS.
  • To find out the Northbridge and Southbridge of your motherboard, contact it's manufacturer.
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