The Northbridge lost the war; now what?

Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2014 - 10:15 AM |
Tagged: motherboard, chipset

As Josh will reminisce while deep in his cups, those heady days when motherboard reviewers anxiously awaited the release of a new chipset are now are in the past.  The CPU has absorbed the Northbridge where all the action was, leaving the Southbridge which is still a very interesting piece of technology but one that has become very similar between boards.  Manufacturers now focus on what DigiTimes is referring to as brand power and channel relationships; recognizable branding, package deals and bundled products like Thunderbolt, DACs and wireless chargers.  Reviewers look to the UEFI features which do differ from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as within the different family lines and software tools for overclocking when looking at the board instead of looking for the significant performance differences that once existed.  There are certainly benefits to this as well, not many people remember reserving IRQ5 to PCI slot 3 nor many of the other unique eccentricities we all used to have to remember to be able to build systems in the past.  After all, the only real constant is change.

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"Competition in the motherboard industry is expected to gradually turn to focus on each player's brand power and channel relationships as newly developed technologies are becoming similar, according to sources from channel retailers in China."

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Source: DigiTimes
May 15, 2014 | 11:06 AM - Posted by JohnGR

I stopped spending on motherboards when I first bought an AMD Athlon64, a few hundred years ago. I also stopped spending on ultra fast RAM back then.
AMD platform is great for having a little of everything for the price of nothing. I have no idea how things are with mobos in the Intel camp but I guess even there, typical RAM and a double digit motherboard, can do wonders with a good cpu.

May 15, 2014 | 12:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

They really push the limits on some of these motherboards. Well, that some is become "most" at this point. Gold plated everything for optimal performance blah blah. Things look prettier than 10 years ago, but they act as if we couldn't implement a lot of these "metals" decades ago. There was a reason for it, the price didn't justify the performance and in this day and age people will pay thousands for a fraction of a performance boost generation to generation.

Kind of makes me sick and a sad panda. Motherboards are hardly anything special, yet are crucial and should be chosen with a lot of thought. The upselling is getting absurd though. You can easily pay $300-$500 these days and many will do so because they're gullible.

May 16, 2014 | 11:53 AM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

So when will Josh or Jeremy, whoever owns that slot A motherboard, sell that mobo/cpu combo? It would make a great PFsense router...

May 19, 2014 | 06:48 PM - Posted by Dream76 (not verified)

Had that same configuration, Slot A comeback!!!

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