Living on the motherboard, a PC's chipset controls the communication between the CPU, RAM, storage and other peripherals. The chipset determines how many high-speed components or USB devices your best motherboard can support. Chipsets are usually comprised of one to four chips and feature controllers for commonly used peripherals, like the your keyboard, mouse or monitor.
PC chipsets are designed by Intel and AMD but are found on motherboards from a variety of third-party vendors, such as MSI, Asus and ASRock. Different chipsets support different CPUs, so when you're buying a CPU, you have to consider that your processor will only work with motherboards using a specific chipset (and CPU socket).
It’s important to note that while a chipset may allow for a certain feature (like support for up to 10 USB ports), your specific motherboard may not support that feature (many motherboards only come equipped for four to eight USB ports). If your motherboard doesn’t support a certain chipset feature, that feature will not work with your PC.
Intel and AMD Chipsets
Below we break down Intel and AMD chipsets for consumer desktop CPUs across current and prior generations.
|CPU Brand||Chipset Name||CPU||Market|
|Intel||Z490||10th Gen Comet Lake||Enthusiast|
|Intel||H470||10th Gen Comet Lake||Enthusiast|
|Intel||H410||10th Gen Comet Lake||Mainstream|
|Intel||B460||10th Gen Comet Lake||Budget|
|Intel||Z390||9th Gen Coffee Lake||Enthusiast|
|Intel||Z370||9th Gen Coffee Lake||Enthusiast|
|Intel||H370||9th Gen Coffee Lake||Mainstream|
|Intel||B365||9th Gen Coffee Lake||Budget|
|Intel||B360||9th Gen Coffee Lake||Budget|
|AMD||TRX40||Ryzen 3000 Threadripper||High-end desktop (HEDT)|
|AMD||A520||Ryzen 3000 and Athlon processors||Budget|
|AMD||X470||AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen||Enthusiast|
|AMD||X399||Threadripper 2000 and 1000||High-end desktop (HEDT)|
|AMD||B450||2nd Gen Ryzen||Mainstream|
|AMD||X300||1st Gen Ryzen||Enthusiast small form factor|
|AMD||A300||1st Gen Ryzen||Mainstream small form factor|
This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.
- Dissecting the Modern Motherboard: Connectors, Ports & Chipsets Explained
- How to Choose a Motherboard
- Best Motherboards