The word "ChipSet" is a trademark of Chips and Technologies Inc. (San Jose, California).


An integrated set of chips that performs all of the vital functions of a computer system, including the functions that once required separate chips. The types of devices replaced by the chipset includes:
memory controller
EIDE controller
PCI bridge
RTC (real-time clock)
DMA controller
IrDA controller
keyboard controller
PS/2 mouse controller
secondary cache controller
low-power CMOS SRAM

Not all of the above devices are necessary for a working PC.

Chipset has become a common name for integrated chip solutions. Therefore chipset can refer to specialised graphic, network, mainboard and other chips. For instance a graphic chipset may contain the funtions of a clock generator, DAC, memory controller and graphics engine.

This is an excerpt form the AMI BIOS guide:
A PC consists of different functional parts on its motherboard: ISA , EISA, VESA and PCI slots, memory, cache memory, keyboard plug etc... The chipset enables a set of instructions so the CPU can work (communicate) with other parts of the motherboard. Nowadays most of the discrete chips; PIC (Programmable Interrupt Controller), DMA (Direct Memory Access), MMU (Memory Management Unit), cache, etc... are packed together on one, two or three chips; the chipset.
In some well integrated motherboards, the only components present are the CPU, the two BIOS chips (BIOS and Keyboard BIOS), one chipset IC, cache memory (DRAMs, Dynamic Random Access Memory), memory (SIMMs, Single Inline Memory Module, most of the time) and a clock chip.

One of the first chipsets for PC was the legendary NEAT. All following chipsets use its 2 port - 8bit way of programming.

22h/23h Chips&Technologies, OPTi, ETEQ, EliteGroup, Forex, SiS, Cyrix (486SLC)
22h/24h UMC, PC Chips
28h/24h Headland
E0h/E1h ACT
programmable Texas TACT

related topics
Northbridge / Southbridge
Chipset features