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Does anyone have any intimate knowledge of the design layout of the logic "core" found in the Northbridge chipset used in computer motherboards (desktop and laptops) ? This chipset is made by Intel and AMD respectively at the present.

Would it have just a single core or multi cores ? Where on die would this logic core be located near the top layer ? Could anyone tell me how does this core get executed or run on power on or reset of the device ? Where would the circuit code on die be located that executes this core and makes it active ?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Be aware that for some four or five generations of CPUs and chipsets from Intel that there is no longer a separate "northbridge". The memory and PCIe ports come directly from the CPU chip itself. You must be looking at fairly old documentation. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Karas Nov 1 '15 at 10:39
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The 'northbridge' chipset forms the interface between the CPU and the outside world. It connects the CPU local bus with the memory and the PCI/PCIe busses. The northbridge is responsible for routing memory reads and writes from the CPU to RAM/PCI and from PCI to RAM. The chip doesn't really have 'cores' in the same sense as a CPU has cores. Instead, it will have a lot of interface circuitry - high speed serializers and deserializers, PCI express endpoints, etc - as well as FIFOs and routing circuitry.

Like all silicon dies, the logic would be implemented directly on the surface of the silicon wafer as the logic is implemented with transistors. There are many metal layers on top of this to interconnect the components, but the transistors themselves are all built on one layer.

Since the northbridge does not execute software, it will be active immediately following a reset without significant startup delay since no code has to be loaded or booted. The most significant startup delays would be from high speed transceiver initialization.

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