Intel's Nehalem architecture integrated memory control into the CPU die, leaving little reason for a traditional northbridge.
Although the high-end X58 chipset continued to employ a two-chip approach, mainstream Core CPUs with on-die memory and PCIe control relied on a single-chip Platform Controller Hub, incorporating southbridge functionality and communicating with the CPU through a Direct Media Interface offering 10 Gb/s of bandwidth.
Here, Intel significantly simplified its chipset line-up. Whereas there were 17 chipsets for the second generation of desktop Core 2 processors, LGA 1156-based CPUs connected to one of four different PCHes. Five other chipsets served the mobile market, but that was still less than Intel's second-gen Core 2 platform portfolio.
P55, H57, and Q57 were essentially the same, exposing eight lanes of PCIe 2.0, six SATA 3Gb/s ports, and and 14 USB 2.0 ports. The P55 chipset lacked support for Intel's Flexible Display Interface, while the Q57 PCH added business-oriented functionality like vPro technology. A fourth PCH, H55, was intended as a budget-friendly solution with two fewer PCIe lanes and less USB 2.0 connectivity.
Main new features:
- PCH (Platform Controller Hub)
- DMI Interface
- SATA 6 Gb/s (2009)
Processors from this era:
- 1st-Gen Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 Processors
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