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Old 10-30-2008, 05:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default correlation between BIOS and chipset

Hi guys,

I've dived into hardware and many google searches have led me to a great many forum posts here:happy:. So I decided to register

Basically (in short of course), I know the BIOS is responsible for setting up the hardware and getting the OS to boot. I also know the BIOS code is the first piece of software a CPU runs. Moreover, it is an abstration layer between the hardware and the OS (well it used to be more so but now OS's tend to bypass the BIOS and access the hardware in a more direct manner)

The chipset regulates access to memory and peripherals by the use of busses.

Now my mind can't grap the relationship between BIOS and chipset. Well, the BIOS is a chip with program code on it but what is the chipset exactly? How does the BIOS interact with the chipset? Is the chipset software too?
Also the OS can interact with the chipset (with this I mean it can communicate with devices as the BIOS does, thus it must use the chipset also), probably similar as the BIOS does.

As you can see I'm somewhat in the dark:-) mostly no one explains how the chipset actually works, just that it serves a some kind of central hub for communications.

Any insights on the matter will be greatly appreciated!

cheers,

Jeroen
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Old 10-31-2008, 02:59 PM   #2 (permalink)

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Default Re: correlation between BIOS and chipset

The chipset is a combination of 2 processors. The northbridge controls the high speed devices like PCI-E/AGP graphics, RAM and the CPU. The southbridge controls the other low speed devices like USB, IDE/SATA and PCI. The southbridge is what corresponds with the BIOS as well.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: correlation between BIOS and chipset

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvb724 View Post
The chipset is a combination of 2 processors. The northbridge controls the high speed devices like PCI-E/AGP graphics, RAM and the CPU. The southbridge controls the other low speed devices like USB, IDE/SATA and PCI. The southbridge is what corresponds with the BIOS as well.
So the motherboard itself has two additional processors?

I knew about South Bridge and North Bridge. But I only knew to look out for certain ones as they either 1) Over clocked great or 2) had hdmi/blu-ray support/and etc. Thanks for the insight cvb.
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:58 AM   #4 (permalink)

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Default Re: correlation between BIOS and chipset

No problem.

The motherboard has the two processors yes. That's why the southbridge needs a heatsink and sometimes a fan on the northbridge to keep them cool. They also require a certain amount of voltage like a CPU. They are more like transfer points than true processors though.

Think of the hard drive as where you're shipping from, the northbridge as the shipping depot and the CPU as the destination. Obviously there are more steps than that but those are the main steps.

The usual or most common trip data takes is: HDD -> Southbridge -> CPU -> RAM -> Northbridge -> CPU. The last 3 steps cycle the most often and at absolute blazing speeds. You realize out just how fast the data transfers between these 3 when creating a C++ program to test it.

If it needs more explaining I might just make a guide on it.
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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THe CMOS chip contains programs that the BIOS program accesses to carry out the CMOS instructions contained within the BIOS setup utility settings.

In other words, the BIOS uses CMOS to carry out lines of code contained on the CMOS chip (burned in at the factory), and then after the POST, the bootstrap portion of the operating system starts up the operating system.

All this is done from the BIOS program. The CMOS Setup Utility screen allows you to make changes to the CMOS configuration obviously, but it's the BIOS that conducts the earlier business of the startup of a PC.

And like CVB said, the chipset is the North and SouthBridges. They are made by the same manufacturer as a set. Intel makes a lot, I think VIA is another manufacturer as well.

The two chips in the chipset are made as a tandem, mostly because of their inherant characteristics that they must work together, and are designed to do so. So they are usually made by the same manufacturer because they must work so closely with each other. The CPU "talks" with the chipset and other devices via the system's address buses and external data buses.

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....

All this is done from the BIOS program....
And by this ^^^^^^^ I mean to say that the CMOS Setup Utility is a program whose screen is found within the BIOS settings that you can access just before booting the OS by hitting a particular hotkey, such as DEL, or F1 or something like that depending on the PC manufacturer in question. They use different BIOS chip makers. The BIOS is contained on a chip as well (oddly enough called the BIOS or system chip).
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Old 11-10-2008, 06:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: correlation between BIOS and chipset

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THe CMOS chip contains programs that the BIOS program accesses to carry out the CMOS instructions contained within the BIOS setup utility settings.
CMOS ram is nothing more than battery backed up static ram that's usually contained in the clock chip. The BIOS is stored in a EPROM. The CMOS ram does nothing but store variable data used by the computer.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: correlation between BIOS and chipset

Yes, the BIOS is an EPROM. Obviously I didn't mention that, but suffice it to say my statement was correct. The BIOS is a chip (more exact: an EPROM as you mentioned KurrentEweser).

CMOS nowadays is on the system clock chip, but used to be a dedicated chip. So I thought that was worth mentioning, that it has been changed from a dedicated chip to what you pointed out, Kurrent. (Thanks for adding that part as well.)
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