What Is a Motherboard Chipset? A Basic Definition

AMD's new Ryzen 3000 CPUs use the X570 chipset. AMD's new Ryzen 3000 CPUs use the X570 chipset.

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 motherboard can support. Chipsets are usually comprised of one to four chips and feature controllers for commonly used peripherals, like the keyboardmouse 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 have a certain feature (like support for up to 10 USB ports), your 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. 

Below is a list of Intel and AMD chipsets:

CPU BrandChipset NameUse
IntelX299Enthusiast
IntelZ370Enthusiast 
AMDX570
Enthusiast
AMDX399Enthusiast
AMDX470Enthusiast
AMDX370Enthusiast
AMDB350Performance
IntelH370Mainstream
IntelQ370Mainstream
IntelB360Mainstream
IntelH310Mainstream
AMDX300Small Form Factor
AMDA300Small Form Factor

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

Further reading:


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