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A chipset describes the architecture of an integrated circuit. This includes the layout of the circuitry, the components used within the circuit, and the functionality of the circuit board. For example, the chipset of a modem card is much much different than the chipset of a computer's CPU.

Processors themselves also have different chipsets. For example, A PowerPC processor, which uses RISC architecture, will have a much different chipset than an Intel processor that uses CISC technology. Even a Pentium II and Pentium III have slightly different chipsets, though they are both made by Intel. Regardless of what chipset a circuit uses, the important thing is that it works with other components inside the computer. Therefore, whenever you upgrade your computer's hardware, make sure you buy components that are compatible with the chipsets in your machine.

Published: October 12, 2008

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Definition from the PC Glossary