An integrated chipset is generally a term used in discussing computers to refer to a type of chip that is built onto a motherboard and comes standard with the board. Though it can have a number of different possible meanings, the most common uses of the term are in referring to graphics processors and the general processors on a computer. Whenever either of this type of processor is incorporated into the design and construction of a motherboard, it is typically referred to as an integrated chipset. A graphics chipset is typically less powerful than a separate card that must be installed onto a motherboard.
The various chips and device cards used within a computer are often separate parts that must be installed on the motherboard within the computer. While the motherboard itself typically consists of various circuits, ports, and connectors soldered onto the board, many devices must be connected later to the board. Whenever a processor is supplied as part of the motherboard, however, then it is typically referred to as an integrated chipset and is usually chosen by the motherboard manufacturer to work well with the board.
There are typically two major types of chipset a person will encounter when purchasing a motherboard. The first is an integrated processor, which is often soldered onto the board and comprises the north and south bridges of the motherboard’s processing. These usually work with a central processing unit (CPU) and work together to process data while a computer is in use. This type of chipset should be considered by someone building a computer to ensure compatibility with whatever CPU he or she is looking to use.
The other common type of integrated chipset, and the type most often considered by computer users, is the video or graphics processor in a computer. A chipset on a motherboard will typically allow a user to connect a monitor and display graphics of a fairly simple nature. For running graphically intensive applications, however, like computer games and three-dimensional modeling software, an integrated chipset is usually not powerful enough. A separate graphics card is often installed onto the motherboard to overwrite the chipset and provide greater processing power.
There can also be a sound device built onto a motherboard as well. This is usually referred to as onboard sound or an integrated soundcard, however, rather than as an integrated chipset. For most computer users, this type of onboard sound will usually be sufficient and is often less of a concern than the integrated graphics chipset.