Platform Controller Hub

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Block diagram of the Platform Controller Hub-based chipset architecture Intel 5 Series architecture.png
Block diagram of the Platform Controller Hubbased chipset architecture
An Intel DH82H81 PCH with its die exposed Intel DH82H81 PCH.JPG
An Intel DH82H81 PCH with its die exposed

The Platform Controller Hub (PCH) is a family of Intel's single-chip chipsets, first introduced in 2009. It is the successor to the Intel Hub Architecture, which used two chips - a northbridge and southbridge instead, and first appeared in the Intel 5 Series.

Contents

The PCH controls certain data paths and support functions used in conjunction with Intel CPUs. These include clocking (the system clock), Flexible Display Interface (FDI) and Direct Media Interface (DMI), although FDI is used only when the chipset is required to support a processor with integrated graphics. As such, I/O functions are reassigned between this new central hub and the CPU compared to the previous architecture: some northbridge functions, the memory controller and PCI-e lanes, were integrated into the CPU while the PCH took over the remaining functions in addition to the traditional roles of the southbridge. AMD has its equivalent for the PCH, known simply as a chipset, no longer using the previous term Fusion controller hub since the release of the Zen architecture in 2017. [1]

Overview

The PCH architecture supersedes Intel's previous Hub Architecture, with its design addressing the eventual problematic performance bottleneck between the processor and the motherboard. Over time, the speed of CPUs kept increasing but the bandwidth of the front-side bus (FSB) (connection between the CPU and the motherboard) did not, resulting in a performance bottleneck. [2]

Under the Hub Architecture, a motherboard would have a two piece chipset consisting of a northbridge chip and a southbridge chip. As a solution to the bottleneck, several functions belonging to the traditional northbridge and southbridge chipsets were rearranged. The northbridge and its functions are now eliminated completely: The memory controller, PCI Express lanes for expansion cards and other northbridge functions are now incorporated into the CPU die as a system agent (Intel) or package as an I/O chip (AMD Zen 2)

The PCH then incorporates a few of the remaining northbridge functions (e.g. clocking) in addition to all of the southbridge's functions, replacing it. The system clock was previously a connection and is now incorporated into the PCH. Two different connections exist between the PCH and the CPU: Flexible Display Interface (FDI) and Direct Media Interface (DMI). The FDI is used only when the chipset requires supporting a processor with integrated graphics. The Intel Management Engine was also moved to the PCH starting with the Nehalem processors and 5-Series chipsets. AMD's chipsets instead use several PCIe lanes to connect with the CPU while also providing their own PCIe lanes, which are also provided by the processor itself. [3] [4]

With the northbridge functions integrated to the CPU, much of the bandwidth needed for chipsets is now relieved.

This style began in Nehalem and will remain for the foreseeable future, through Cannon Lake.

Phase-out

Beginning with ultra-low-power Broadwells and continuing with mobile Skylake processors, Intel incorporated the clock, PCI controller, and southbridge IO controllers into the CPU package, eliminating the PCH for a system in package (SOP) design with 2 dies; one larger than the other, the smaller one being the PCH. [5] Rather than DMI, these SOPs directly expose PCIe lanes, as well as SATA, USB, and HDA lines from integrated controllers, and SPI/I²C/UART/GPIO lines for sensors. Like PCH-compatible CPUs, they continue to expose DisplayPort, RAM, and SMBus lines. However, a fully integrated voltage regulator will be absent until Cannon Lake.[ needs update ]

Ibex Peak

The Intel 5 Series chipsets were the first to introduce a PCH. This first PCH is codenamed Ibex Peak.

This has the following variations:

Issues

Langwell

Langwell is the codename of a PCH in the Moorestown MID/smartphone platform. [6] [7] for Atom Lincroft microprocessors.

This has the following variations:

Tiger Point

Intel CG82NM10 Terra Pad 1050 - Intel CG82NM10 on mainboard-0635.jpg
Intel CG82NM10

Tiger Point is the codename of a PCH in the Pine Trail netbook platform chipset for Atom Pineview microprocessors.

This has the following variations:

Topcliff

Topcliff is the codename of a PCH in the Queens Bay embedded platform chipset for Atom Tunnel Creek microprocessors.

It connects to the processor via PCI-E (vs. DMI as other PCHs do).

This has the following variations:

Cougar Point

Cougar Point is the codename of a PCH in Intel 6 Series chipsets for mobile, desktop, and workstation / server platforms. It is most closely associated with Sandy Bridge processors.

This has the following variations:

Issues

In the first month after Cougar Point's release, January 2011, Intel posted a press release stating a design error had been discovered. Specifically, a transistor in the 3 Gbit/s PLL clocking tree was receiving too high voltage. The projected result was a 5–15% failure rate within three years of 3 Gbit/s SATA ports, commonly used for storage devices such as hard drives and optical drives. The bug was present in revision B2 of the chipsets, and was fixed with B3. Z68 did not have this bug, since the B2 revision for it was never released. 6Gbit/s ports were not affected. This bug was especially a problem with the H61 chipset, which only had 3Gbit/s SATA ports. Through OEMs, Intel plans to repair or replace all affected products at a cost of $700 million. [8] [9]

Nearly all produced motherboards using Cougar Point chipsets were designed to handle Sandy Bridge, and later Ivy Bridge, processors. ASRock produced one motherboard for LGA 1156 processors, based on P67 chipset, the P67 Transformer. It exclusively supports Lynnfield Core i5/i7 and Xeon processors, using LGA 1156 socket. After revision B2 of Cougar Point chipsets was recalled, ASRock decided not to update the P67 Transformer motherboard, and was discontinued. Some small Chinese manufacturers are producing LGA 1156 motherboards with H61 chipset.

Whitney Point

Whitney Point is the codename of a PCH in the Oak Trail tablet platform for Atom Lincroft microprocessors.

This has the following variations:

Panther Point

intel BD82HM77 PCH Panther Point Acer TravelMate P253-M-32344G50Maks - motherboard Q5WV1 LA-7912P - intel BD82HM77 PCH Panther Point-0222.jpg
intel BD82HM77 PCH Panther Point

Panther Point is the codename of a PCH in Intel 7 Series chipsets for mobile and desktop. It is most closely associated with Ivy Bridge processors. These chipsets (except PCH HM75) have integrated USB 3.0. [10]

This has the following variations:

Cave Creek

Cave Creek is the codename of the PCH most closely associated with Crystal Forest platforms and Gladden [11] or Sandy Bridge-EP/EN [12] processors.

Patsburg

Patsburg is the codename of a PCH in Intel 7 Series chipsets for server and workstation using the LGA 2011 socket. It was initially launched in 2011 as part of Intel X79 for the desktop enthusiast Sandy Bridge-E processors in Waimea Bay platforms. [13] Patsburg was then used for the Sandy Bridge-EP server platform (the platform was codenamed Romley and the CPUs codenamed Jaketown, and finally branded as Xeon E5-2600 series) launched in early 2012. [14]

Launched in the fall of 2013, the Ivy Bridge-E/EP processors (the latter branded as Xeon E5-2600 v2 series) also work with Patsburg, typically with a BIOS update. [15] [16]

Patsburg has the following variations:

Coleto Creek

Coleto Creek is the codename of the PCH most closely associated with Highland Forest platforms and Ivy Bridge-EP [17] processors.

Lynx Point

Lynx Point is the codename of a PCH in Intel 8 Series chipsets, most closely associated with Haswell processors with LGA 1150 socket. [18] The Lynx Point chipset connects to the processor primarily over the Direct Media Interface (DMI) interface. [19]

The following variants are available: [20]

In addition the following newer variants are available, additionally known as Wildcat Point, which also support Haswell Refresh processors: [21]

Issues

A design flaw causes devices connected to the Lynx Point's integrated USB 3.0 controller to be disconnected when the system wakes up from the S3 state (Suspend to RAM), forcing the USB devices to be reconnected although no data is lost. [22] [23] This issue is corrected in C2 stepping level of the Lynx Point chipset. [24]

Wellsburg

Wellsburg is the codename for the C610-series PCH, supporting the Haswell-E (Core i7 Extreme), Haswell-EP (Xeon E5-16xx v3 and Xeon E5-26xx v3), and Broadwell-EP (Xeon E5-26xx v4) processors. Generally similar to Patsburg, Wellsburg consumes only up to 7 W when fully loaded. [25]

Wellsburg has the following variations:

Sunrise Point

Sunrise Point is the codename of a PCH in Intel 100 Series chipsets, most closely associated with Skylake processors with LGA 1151 socket.

The following variants are available: [26]

Union Point

Union Point is the codename of a PCH in Intel 200 Series chipsets, most closely associated with Kaby Lake processors with LGA 1151 socket.

The following variants are available: [27]

Lewisburg

Lewisburg is the codename for the C620-series PCH, supporting LGA 2066 socketed Skylake-X/Kaby Lake-X processors ("Skylake-W" Xeon).

Lewisburg has the following variations:

Basin Falls

Basin Falls is the codename for the C400-series PCH, supporting Skylake-X/Kaby Lake-X processors (branded Core i9 Extreme and "Skylake-W" Xeon). Generally similar to Wellsburg, Basin Falls consumes only up to 6 W when fully loaded.

Basin Falls has the following variations:

Cannon Point

Cannon Point is the codename of a PCH in Intel 300 Series chipsets, most closely associated with Coffee Lake processors with LGA 1151 socket. [28]

The following variants are available: [29]

Comet Lake PCH

Rocket Lake PCH

See also

Related Research Articles

Xeon Line of Intel server processors

Xeon is a brand of x86 microprocessors designed, manufactured, and marketed by Intel, targeted at the non-consumer workstation, server, and embedded system markets. It was introduced in June 1998. Xeon processors are based on the same architecture as regular desktop-grade CPUs, but have advanced features such as support for ECC memory, higher core counts, more PCI Express lanes, support for larger amounts of RAM, larger cache memory and extra provision for enterprise-grade reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features responsible for handling hardware exceptions through the Machine Check Architecture. They are often capable of safely continuing execution where a normal processor cannot due to these extra RAS features, depending on the type and severity of the machine-check exception (MCE). Some also support multi-socket systems with two, four, or eight sockets through use of the Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) bus.

Land grid array Type of surface-mount packaging for integrated circuits

The land grid array (LGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging for integrated circuits (ICs) that is notable for having the pins on the socket rather than the integrated circuit. An LGA can be electrically connected to a printed circuit board (PCB) either by the use of a socket or by soldering directly to the board.

In computing, Direct Media Interface (DMI) is Intel's proprietary link between the northbridge and southbridge on a computer motherboard. It was first used between the 9xx chipsets and the ICH6, released in 2004. Previous Intel chipsets had used the Intel Hub Architecture to perform the same function, and server chipsets use a similar interface called Enterprise Southbridge Interface (ESI). While the "DMI" name dates back to ICH6, Intel mandates specific combinations of compatible devices, so the presence of a DMI interface does not guarantee by itself that a particular northbridge–southbridge combination is allowed.

I/O Controller Hub (ICH) is a family of Intel southbridge microchips used to manage data communications between a CPU and a motherboard, specifically Intel chipsets based on the Intel Hub Architecture. It is designed to be paired with a second support chip known as a northbridge. As with any other southbridge, the ICH is used to connect and control peripheral devices.

LGA 1366 CPU socket for Intel processors

LGA 1366, also known as Socket B, is an Intel CPU socket. This socket supersedes Intel's LGA 775 in the high-end and performance desktop segments. It also replaces the server-oriented LGA 771 in the entry level and is superseded itself by LGA 2011. This socket has 1,366 protruding pins which touch contact points on the underside of the processor (CPU) and accesses up to three channels of DDR3 memory via the processor's internal memory controller.

Haswell (microarchitecture) Intel processor microarchitecture

Haswell is the codename for a processor microarchitecture developed by Intel as the "fourth-generation core" successor to the Ivy Bridge. Intel officially announced CPUs based on this microarchitecture on June 4, 2013, at Computex Taipei 2013, while a working Haswell chip was demonstrated at the 2011 Intel Developer Forum. With Haswell, which uses a 22 nm process, Intel also introduced low-power processors designed for convertible or "hybrid" ultrabooks, designated by the "U" suffix.

LGA 1156 Intel desktop CPU socket

LGA 1156, also known as Socket H or H1, is an Intel desktop CPU socket. Its incompatible successor is LGA 1155.

Intel 5 Series is a computing architecture introduced in 2008 that improves the efficiency and balances the use of communication channels in the motherboard. The architecture consists primarily of a central processing unit (CPU) and a single chipset. All motherboard communications and activities circle around these two devices.

LGA 2011

LGA 2011, also called Socket R, is a CPU socket by Intel released on November 14, 2011. It launched alongside with LGA 1356 to replace its predecessor, LGA 1366 and LGA 1567. While LGA 1356 was designed for dual-processor or low-end servers, LGA 2011 was designed for high-end desktops and high-performance servers. The socket has 2011 protruding pins that touch contact points on the underside of the processor.

LGA 1155

LGA 1155, also called Socket H2, is a socket used for Intel microprocessors based on Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge microarchitectures.

The Intel X79 is a Platform Controller Hub (PCH) designed and manufactured by Intel for their LGA 2011 and LGA 2011-1.

Skylake (microarchitecture) CPU microarchitecture by Intel

Skylake is the codename used by Intel for a processor microarchitecture that was launched in August 2015 succeeding the Broadwell microarchitecture. Skylake is a microarchitecture redesign using the same 14 nm manufacturing process technology as its predecessor, serving as a "tock" in Intel's "tick–tock" manufacturing and design model. According to Intel, the redesign brings greater CPU and GPU performance and reduced power consumption. Skylake CPUs share their microarchitecture with Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Cannon Lake, Whiskey Lake, and Comet Lake CPUs.

LGA 1150 Intel motherboard socket for Haswell CPUs

LGA 1150, also known as Socket H3, is a microprocessor socket used by Intel's central processing units (CPUs) built on the Haswell microarchitecture. This socket is also used by the Haswell's successor, Broadwell microarchitecture.

Ivy Bridge (microarchitecture)

Ivy Bridge is the codename for Intel's 22 nm microarchitecture used in the third generation of the Intel Core processors. Ivy Bridge is a die shrink to 22 nm process based on FinFET ("3D") Tri-Gate transistors, from the former generation's 32 nm Sandy Bridge microarchitecture—also known as tick–tock model. The name is also applied more broadly to the Xeon and Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E series of processors released in 2013.

Broadwell (microarchitecture) Fifth model generation of Intel Processor

Broadwell is the fifth generation of the Intel Core Processor. It's Intel's codename for the 14 nanometer die shrink of its Haswell microarchitecture. It is a "tick" in Intel's tick–tock principle as the next step in semiconductor fabrication. Like some of the previous tick-tock iterations, Broadwell did not completely replace the full range of CPUs from the previous microarchitecture (Haswell), as there were no low-end desktop CPUs based on Broadwell.

LGA 1151 Intel microprocessor compatible socket

LGA 1151, also known as Socket H4, is an Intel microprocessor compatible socket which comes in two distinct versions: the first revision which supports both Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs, and the second revision which supports Coffee Lake CPUs exclusively.

Intel X99, codenamed "Wellsburg", is a Platform Controller Hub (PCH) designed and manufactured by Intel, targeted at the high-end desktop (HEDT) and enthusiast segments of the Intel product lineup. The X99 chipset supports both Intel Core i7 Extreme and Intel Xeon E5-16xx v3 and E5-26xx v3 processors, which belong to the Haswell-E and Haswell-EP variants of the Haswell microarchitecture, respectively. All supported processors use the LGA 2011-v3 socket.

LGA 2066

LGA 2066, also called Socket R4, is a CPU socket by Intel that debuted with Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors in June 2017. It replaces Intel's LGA 2011-3 (R3) in the performance, high-end desktop and Workstation platforms, while LGA 3647 replaces LGA 2011-3 (R3) in the server platforms based on Skylake-SP.

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