But it also contains some silicon chips which make all of those parts work together. The most important of these chips are called the motherboard chipset. The chipset has a driver which can affect the speed and stability of many of the devices built into your motherboard.
It is fairly common for computers to be running with old chipset drivers or to use the basic default drivers built into Windows. If you're having any kind of stability problems with your motherboard then it's a good idea to install the latest chipset drivers.
AGP slots are especially susceptible to flakiness caused by old chipset drivers. Even if you don't have an AGP motherboard, it's a good idea to be sure that your chipset drivers are updated to the latest version. The chipset is usually made up of two chips: The northbridge is the main chip which connects to the CPU and high-speed expansion slots. The southbridge is a support chip which provides things like USB ports, network connections, and disk drive controllers.
Sometimes the northbridge and southbridge are built into one chip in which case it's still called a chipset even though there's only one chip. Most chipset drivers come as a single unified software package which contains the various drivers for both chips.
You just install the chipset driver and it automatically takes care of setting up individual drivers for each of the devices in the chips. But a few motherboards use northbridge and southbridge chips from different manufacturers in which case you need to load the drivers for each chip separately.
The southbridge is rarely mentioned. Even though it's not strictly correct, you'll see the terms "northbridge" and "chipset" used interchangeably in many programs and websites. They just use the name of the northbridge the main chip and ignore the southbridge the support chip. In most cases you find chipset drivers only by searching for a package which matches the name of your northbridge. You don't need to know the name of your southbridge to find it. You can usually just ignore the name of your southbridge when it comes to installing your chipset drivers unless you have one of those rare motherboards which has one brand of northbridge and another brand of southbridge.
To install your chipset drivers, the first thing you have to do is figure out which chipset is used by your motherboard. CPU-Z has two versions: Running the one with the installer is a little easier so just download it and execute it to install it. Or if you don't like installers and declining included software then just download the zip file and unzip it. CPU-Z uses the term chipset rather than northbridge. That's just a list of variants on a single northbridge.
This particular machine actually has the Intel P45 but you don't need to know that. When they give you a list of names it means that they're all variants on the same design and will use the same chipset driver.
Sometimes people shorten the chipset names. For example, a chipset which shows up as Intel iP may also be referred to as an Intel or Intel P. So when you look for the matching name on a website you may have to be shorten the official name a little. The chipset numbers are the important part. To find a match on the website often requires dropping an extraneous letter here and there. Usually the websites give a list of all chipset names so it's pretty obvious which one you have to pick.
Once you have the name of your chipset, you have to find the right driver. The best drivers you can get are the "latest and greatest" drivers which can be downloaded from the website of the manufacturer of your chipset. Those drivers are often more recent than the drivers you can download from the maker of your computer or motherboard. The process of installation is usually quite simple. You just download a file, unzip it if it's a.
ZIP file , and then run it. For most chipset drivers, you do not need to uninstall your old chipset drivers before installing the new ones. The cases where you need to uninstall first are noted in the table below. Be sure to read any instructions on the download web page or in a readme file in case its steps are different than the ones listed below. If you're installing a new operating system from scratch then Windows will use default chipset drivers to get your system running.
Those default drivers have limited functionality. Generally, the first thing to do once Windows is up and running is to install the chipset drivers. It's best to install chipset drivers before anything else because some of your motherboard devices won't appear until after the chipset drivers are installed.
In most cases things will still work if you install chipset drivers later, but generally speaking, it's best if they're installed first. If you're updating an AGP driver then it may be referred to by many different names.
Keep in mind that most driver updates work perfectly but sometimes things can go wrong. You should only be doing this if you currently have problems. If you want to play it safe, then you should make a system restore point as explained here before fiddling with your drivers.
Then if something goes wrong, you can roll Windows back to the state it was in before you got into trouble. To install most drivers, you must have administrator rights. This page explains how to make sure you have the appropriate priveleges.
It's also a good idea to disable your anti-virus software before changing drivers. After they became one company the naming got confusing. Now you can find the same chipset referred to by two names: Sadly, AMD's support site is a mess of confusing searches, broken links, redirects which snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and varying strategies for updating your drivers. There are four sections below which explain the chipset driver update procedure for the various cases.
Take a look at how short the explanations are for all other brands of chipsets. AMD's is a mess. If you have a newer chipset then it's usually not that difficult to update your chipset drivers. If you have an older chipset then you may need a bit of patience to get it done. For all but very old chipsets, AMD produces unified chipset drivers which support many chips in the same package. This is the driver you need to find in most cases.
You may be asking, "Fine, but what about the northbridge? Some of the AMD southbridge drivers also include a northbridge driver which you can see in the unpacked directories after running the installer. I don't have an AMD chipset motherboard to prove that the northbridge driver is actually installed. But the northbridge driver is in some of the driver packages so I assume that's where they put it when one is needed.
If you go looking for "chipset drivers" on a motherboard maker's website, they'll aim you at one of these AMD southbridge driver packages. So this is the "official" way of doing it on an AMD chipset motherboard. Very old AMD chipsets: Unfortunately, this sort of page has been disappearing or becoming inaccessable on AMD's site so I don't know how long that link will work.
If it's gone then go here and under the "Chipsets" section click "All Chipsets". Yours are in there. Then go to the "Product" drop down list near the top of the page and select "AMD series" and click the "Submit" button. The "Drivers and Downloads" tab contains your drivers and a few which don't work for your chipset.
The driver packs contain the various drivers for your chipset including an AGP driver. The pack automatically figures out what operating system is running and installs the drivers for the chips in your system. Keep in mind that these chipsets are very old and don't support the most recent operating systems very well. New operating systems if they run at all will have to make do with their built in drivers.
These drivers haven't been updated for years anyway so new operating systems will already have the most recent drivers built in. If your motherboard uses another brand of southbridge then you'll need to find the drivers for the southbridge and install them for a full update. Download your driver s , run them, and reboot when you're done. Depending on how you search, your drivers can be anywhere from very easy to find to totally impossible to find. These drivers are old so they don't change anymore.
I'd give you a direct link to your driver but AMD's site redirects it to their "bandwidth leech" page which refuses to allow a download. Your best shot for finding the GART driver is to try this page. If that link still works then you'll see your GART driver.
And the release notes link actually works rather than being broken as it is on many pages. If the link doesn't work then go to the main page and try the "Download Drivers" area in the upper right-hand corner. Then under "Operating System" select "Windows Professional". Do that even if you're running another operating system. If you search for it under any other Operating system then you won't find it. Then click "View Results".
Download the GART driver and run it. If you're running Windows or XP then the South Bridge Driver on that same page will probably include your southbridge. The release notes give a list of the supported chips.