The chipset is an inherent part of a Mini-PC. The term described the chips on the mainboard that are used for the Northbridge and Southbridge.
What is the chipset responsible for?
The main task of the chipset is to control the single components of a PC and also the external periphery devices. It also regulates the data transmission between CPU, RAM and the graphics card.
Setup of a chipset with Northbridge and Southbridge
Intel has developed the bridge architecture that has established as the standard on the market. Here the chipset is divided into the Northbridge and the Southbridge. These have different functions and are responsible for different things.
The Southbridge controls the data transfer between the bus systems such as PCI and PCI express. Also the USB controller is located here. The power management and the network controller are as well taken over by the Southbridge.
The Northbridge generally has a higher speed than the Southbridge and is therefore responsible for the more important things. This includes the control of the CPU and its clocking, as well as the control of the memory chips.
System-on-a-Chip for small PCs
PCs just like our spo-comm Mini-PCs, are getting smaller and smaller. In these cases the regular setup of a chipset, as described earlier, takes up too much space. The solution for this are the so-called System-on-a-Chips in which as many functions as possible are accommodated on only one chip. In doing so, the Southbridge is a fix part of the Northbridge and its functions are integrated into the Northbridge. We already explained how that works in our article about SoC.