Introducing the AMD 760-MP Chipset
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Well, we couldn’t very well have a new Athlon MP processor capable of multiprocessing without a motherboard chipset to go along with it! Once again, AMD itself is the front-runner in pioneering its Socket A platform, being the first to offer the latest step in Athlon technology with their AMD-760 MP chipset.
We have seen this cycle repeating many times throughout the life of the Athlon processor. Starting with the AMD-750 chipset (which powered the Asus K7M motherboard, the founding component of Amdmb.com), AMD has released the chipset that gets their latest technology of the ground instead of VIA, Ali or Sis doing it for them. Many critics claim that AMD’s chipsets are the weak link in the AMD line of products but without them there wouldn’t have been innovations and changes in the AMD market. When AMD wanted to launch the Athlon, they pushed the AMD-750 chipset; when AMD wanted to launch DDR and 266 MHz FSB Athlons, they pushed the AMD-760 chipset. Now, AMD wants to launch the Athlon MP and multiprocessor systems, so they are pushing the AMD-760 MP chipset.
Below you will see the diagram of the typical AMD-760 MP chipset, as provided by the AMD Press Presentation I received.
The chipset is broken down into two separate chips, the northbridge and the southbridge. The AMD-762 Northbridge includes two separate point-to-point system buses (FSB). This allows for very large amount of combined bandwidth between the two processors. We’ll cover that more a little later.
The memory system is comprised of the DDR bus but this time with added support for Error Correction (ECC). This feature, though slows memory access somewhat, is vital for the enterprise server market. Another important addition to the chipset that will please high-end server manufacturers and users is support for a 33 MHz/32-bit/64-bit PCI bus. Many SCSI enthusiasts, especially our own Dieu, tell of the wonders of a 64-bit bus on a SCSI RAID controller boosting hard drive throughput from 100 MB/s to 150 MB/s.
A 4x AGP bus keeps the AMD-760 MP chipset on the blistering end of the graphics card revolution. Those who are eager to join up their GeForce 3 cards with an AMD-760 MP motherboard will be glad to see this here.
The AMD-766 Southbridge provides the ATA 100 support for IDE I/O bandwidth. There is also support for Legacy I/O such as ISA, etc.
The AMD-760 MP chipset still uses the .25-micron technology, just as the regular AMD-760 chipset does. The MP chipset adds an additional bus, as mentioned above, supporting the extra 266 MHz FSB processor. Each bus can push 2.1 GB/s, totaling 4.2 GB/s of total throughput on the Northbridge between processors.