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Evolution of server chip sets of the corporation of Intel

Evgenie Rudometov,

Victor Rudometov

Basis of the motherboards used as a part of servers, computer networks controlling operation, YO special chipsets of system logic — chip sets are . The most complicated on the inner pattern the chips which are a part of such chip sets, carry out electrical, logical and informational link of high-powered processors with other ситемы components. The largest manufacturer of such chipsets is the corporation of Intel which for support of the server processors releases the appropriate specialised chip sets which architecture evolves together with development of solid-state technologies and the architecture of high-powered processors of the given group.

Prompt perfection of solid-state technologies, improvement of parametres of accessories, development of the architecture of computers, lowering of their price and, as consequence, growth of their number have led to creation of special structures — the networks which are carrying out multiplexing of quite often big number of computers. This multiplexing provides an operative information transfer and joint maintenance of computing resources for the purpose of their effective utilisation. Besides, networks promote reduction of price of possession of the computer equipment at the expense of operation of several users with the common hardware and program resources. In addition to enumerated, usage of networks allows to raise the common productivity, to organise simultaneous performance of the tasks which requirement exceeds individual possibilities of a firmware of each of computers, and also provides possibility of multisequencing of calculations between several computers for rise of speed of information processing, etc .

However such difficult structures as computer, networks demand efficient control. It is carried out by special powerful computers — servers. The basis of the architecture of servers is made by the motherboards which are providing by means of electronic units built in their structure operation of central processor units and carrying out through built in controllers both specialised expansion cards logical and electrical links as between accessories of all system, and numerous peripherals.

It is necessary to mark, that motherboards concern functionally difficult computer accessories accumulating the big number of the newest processing techniques. These processing techniques are realised through the architecture, design, and also electronic units applied as a part of motherboards. Among these units the key role in the architecture of this major computer component, and accordingly, and all server system is played by chipsets of system logic — chip sets. They substantially define potential possibilities of computer systems, the most difficult and made from which are servers. Considering, that for computers of this type their rather high cost is not so critical as for products of other sectors of the market, on them perspective architectures and processing techniques are fulfilled, including chip sets.

Long time chip sets for processors from Intel released indirect corporations. However since the processors 486 (P4), Intel corporation seriously was engaged in this sector of the market and fast became the largest manufacturer of these major and extremely difficult electronic units released for a wide spectrum of computers, including servers.

To users well-known server chip sets of the corporation of Intel, qualities being the original measurement standard and become by a basis of numerous computer systems. Some of these systems already rather are not released for a long time, however thanks to high dependability and wide potential possibilities are capable to work for a long time. Many of such obsolete server systems released sometimes more ten years ago, are till now in maintenance for numerous users. High parametres of server systems are grounded on usage of perfect computer processing techniques and the fulfilled architectures which have transited the durable period of the evolution in numerous chipsets of the system logic.

Server chip sets of last years

For much successful attempts of release on the market of server variants of computer systems for processors of Intels 486 created on the basis of appropriate chipsets of the system logic are known. As an example it is possible to result servers Xpress on following semiconductor chips: Intels 82356CS Memory to EISA Control (MECA), Intel 82356DS Memory DRAM Control (RCA), Intel 82353DS Data Path Parity Unit (DPP), Intel 82351DS Common Local I/O Controller (CLASIC), Intel 82358DT EISA Bus Controller (EBC), Intel 82357 Integrated System Peripheral (ISP), Intel 82352 EISA Bus Buffer (EBB), etc. the Enumerated chips on time of their development and release concern the period of processors of Intel 386 - Intel 486, nevertheless, as a matter of fact the history of server chip sets from Intel has started in the main ambassador of appearance of processors IntelPentium (P5) and sets supporting them.

Considering features of the architecture of chipsets of system logic for computers with processors IntelPentium and estimating their advantages, and also from a position of modern knowledge — and lacks, it is necessary to remind, that on evolution of chip sets the big influence was rendered by various features of development of the architecture of processors.

For example, for the technological and economic reasons the cache memory of the second level (L2) rather long time was not a part of a processor chip. In relation to it this memory was external. It was realised by means of the several chips of rather high-speed static memory integrated into the architecture of the motherboard. This cache memory worked usually on frequency of the bus of the processor, promoting alignment of informational streams and optimisation of operation of processors. Such solution essentially increased productivity of system, compensating insufficient for maximum loading of processors capacity of dynamic storage. Handle of this cache memory was carried out by the processor and the chipset of system logic which during development of P5 architecture by Intel corporation it has been developed and released rather much.

For disclosure of the subject which have been taken out in header, consideration of chipsets of system logic it is expedient to start from Intel chip set 430NX PCIset. This chip set was the first set oriented to systems of one-and dual-processor patterns, created on the basis of IntelPentium the second generation with clock rates from 75 MHz. Thus the greatest distribution was received by solutions with the processors which clock rates made 75 -100 MHz. The given chip set, as well as processors supported by it, have been calculated on rather high on those times of frequency of the bus of the processor — 50, 60, 66 MHz.

The main components of a chip set of Intel 430NX PCIset: the memory controller 82434NX PCI/Cache/Memory Controller (PCMC), two 82433NX Local Bus Extension (LBX), and also 82375EB PCI-EISA Bridge (PCEB) and 82374EB EISA System Component (ESC).

The controller of memory PCMC provides support to 256 Mb SIMM DRAM of dynamic storage FPM and the cache memory of the second level (L2) with size of 256 Kbytes (an asynchronous cache memory) or 256/512 To (a synchronous cache memory). Controllers LBX provide the bridge between the processor bus and bus PCI (Host-to-PCI bridge), and together with PCMC exercise administration of a dynamic storage subsystem. 82375EB PCI-EISA Bridge (PCEB components and 82374EB EISA System Component (ESC) provide the bridge between buses PCI and EISA.

On the basis of this chip set were released not only desktop computers, but also servers. As such example it is possible to result ALTServer from Intel.

Fig. 1. Structure of the dual-processor server created on the basis of a chip set of Intel 440NX PCIset

Among server chipsets of system logic of last years of special attention Intel chip set 440HX PCIset deserves . This chip set which has incorporated the advanced reachings of the computer industry of that period, has been calculated for one and dual-processor systems with processors of Intel of Pentium or the similar products created by other manufacturers. The given chip set is calculated for clock rates of the bus of the processor (Host Bus) — 50,60, 66 MHz.

Intel chip set 440HX PCIset intended for servers and powerful workstations. Built in structure of this chip set the controller of the cache memory of the second level (L2) has been calculated for size of 256 and 512 Kbytes, and the built in controller of dynamic storage supported from 4 to 512 Mb EDO/FPM DRAM. For rise of dependability of operation have been provided parity check support and that is especially important — an automatic error-checking (ECC). These built in possibilities became mandatory attributes of server solutions.

Fig. 2. Structure of the single-processor server created on the basis of a chip set of Intel 440HX PCIset

The base structure of a chip set of Intel 440HX PCIset included two main chips: 82439HX System Controller (TXC) in 324-contact tank BGA, 82371SB PCI ISA IDE Accelerator (PIIX3) in 208-contact krpuse PQFP.

Despite advantages of a chip set of Intel 440HX PCIset, after development and release of processors of the bar of Intel of Pentium Pro (P6) were required sootvetstujushchie chipsets of the system logic, capable to realise functionality of the architecture of new products. By the way, models of this bar have been optimised for performance of 32-bit applications. From features of their architecture it is necessary to mark presence of the built in cache memory of the second level working on frequency of a kernel that provided high prizvoditelnosti these arrangements. Besides, there were also other important differences from predecessors, for example, the expanded command system. For implementation of potential possibilities of all novovedeny, made in the architecture of the processor of Intel of Pentium Pro, new chipsets of system logic were required.

This role was incurred by is more functional-sated and perfect chip sets of Intel 450KX/GX PCIset, become by a basis of even more efficient computer systems.

Intel chip sets 450KX/GX PCIset have been oriented to multiprocessing systems which structure included the processors most efficient, made and expensive at that time — models of the bar of Intel of Pentium Pro. The given sets have been intended for usage in servers, powerful workstations and high-powered computers. The architecture of the given chip sets and computer systems admits scaling. It means, that productivity growth is provided at the expense of usage of additional units and increase in number of central processor units in the computer system.

From architectural features and key parametres of the specified chip sets it is necessary to mark, that resources Host Bus raschitany on support of processors of Intel of Pentium Pro with clock rate protsessoronoj buses of 60 and 66 MHz, a 64-bit wire of data and an address 36-bit wire, Parity Protection pilot signals (Control Signals), dual-processor (Intel 450KX) and four-processor (Intel 450GX) patterns, ECC Protection Host Data Bus (Intel 450GX) etc .

The controller of memory which is a part chipsetnogo of a package of chips, — MC (Memory Controller) supports to 1 Gbytes (Intel 450KX) or to 4 Gbytes (on each chip 82453GX as a part of a chip set package); the organisation of dynamic storage with alternation (2-Way interleaved and at Intel usage 450GX 2/4-Way interleaved) and without alternation (non-interleaved); to 2 MC in system (Intel 450GX); 3,3 In and 5 In SIMM; 32/36 bits SIMM or 72 bits DIMM FPM DRAM; chips of 4 Mbit, 16 Mbit and 64 Mbit DRAM; correction single and detection of double errors; handle energopotrebleniem memories (Memory Array Power Management); Read Page Hit 8-1-1-1 (at 66 MHz, 60 nanoseconds DRAM); Read Page Miss 11-1-1-1 (at 66 MHz, 60 nanoseconds DRAM) etc .

The base structure of a package of a chip set of Intel 450KX PCIset includes following components: 82454KX PCI Bridge (PB) and Memory Controller (MC). The MC component consists of following chips: 82453KX DRAM Controller (DC), 82452KX Data Path (DP) and four 82451KX Memory Interface Components (MIC).

Fig. 3. Structure of the dual-processor server created on the basis of a chip set of Intel 450KX PCIset

Intel chip set 450GX PCIset provides implementation still the big functionality in comparison with Intel set 450KX PCIset.

The structure of a chip set of Intel 450GX PCIset includes following units: 82454GX PCI Bridge (PB) and Memory Controller (MC). The MC component of this chip set consists of chips: 82453GX DRAM Controller (DC), 82452GX Data Path (DP) and four 82451GX Memory Interface Controllers (MIC).

Fig. 4. Structure of the four-processor server created on the basis of a chip set of Intel 450GX PCIset

Application of an additional chip 82371SB as a part of the motherboards created on the basis of chip sets of Intel 450KX/GX PCIset, allows to expand functionality at the expense of addition of the existing built in resources with ports USB. Except possibility of usage of this chip, some manufacturers of motherboards in addition to a base package of the chipset applied the chip 82371FB. It provided implementation of popular interface IDE that allowed to use appropriate disk drives: hard disks, CD/DVD arrangements, etc .

Considering chipsets of system logic of Intel 450KX/GX PCIset, concerning Intel bar 450xx, it is necessary to mark, that even more perfect, powerful and is functional-sated chip set of Intel concerns the same bar 450NX PCIset also .

Intel chip set 450NX PCIset has been created as a basis of powerful servers. By the way, here it is necessary to remind, that the given set is presented in two patterns. The first of them, being the most powerful variant and become by the main pattern, has received Intel name 450NX. It provided to 8 Gbytes of dynamic storage and usage of buses PCI of following characteristics: 4Ч32 bit / 2Ч64 the bats working on frequency of 33 MHz. The second — is known as Intel 450NX Base. This simplified pattern provided usage some smaller size of dynamic storage — to 4 Gbytes. Possibilities of bus PCI are reduced also: 2Ч32 bit, clock rate — 33 MHz.

So, the chip set of the main pattern is characterised by following parametres. It supports to 4 processors of Intel of Pentium II Xeon or Intel of Pentium III Xeon (36 bits of the address, 64 data bit), clock rate of the processor bus — 100 MHz, size of dynamic storage to 8 Gbytes (the bus of 64 bits, parity check and ECC, 16 and 64 Mbit, 60 nanoseconds and 50 nanoseconds, 3,3 In EDO DRAM, speed to 1 Гбайт/c) and other functions and arrangements. The given chip set also supports PIIX3 components and PIIX4E South Bridges (south-bridges) which support: PCI-to-ISA Bridge, USB, the controller enhanced DMA, the system timer, controller IDE. As Intel chip set 450NX PCIset is oriented to the market of powerful servers, it does not provide usage popular in desktop bus systems AGP as usually in servers powerful tools of support of a drawing are not required.

450NX PCIset Intel chip set consists of four komponetov, presented by following chips: 82451NX Memory and I/O Bridge Controller (MIOC), 82454NX PCI Expander Bridge (PXB), 82452NX RAS/CAS Generator (RCG), 82453NX Data Path Multiplexor (MUX).

Each PXB component supports the interface of following buses: two independent on 32 bit with clock rate of 33 MHz satisfying specifications Rev.2.1 Compliant PCI bus, or one which width makes 64 bits, and frequency of operation of 33 MHz satisfying, as well as in the previous case, specification Rev.2.1 Compliant PCI bus.

For reaching of high efficiency of the systems created on the basis of the given chip set, is important, that each of components RCG supports to 4 banks of dynamic storage. It allows to accelerate data access in operations with memory.

As one more essential operating performance it is necessary to mark, that a package of chips of Intel 450NX PCIset which structure includes two RCG components, four MUX, two PXB and one MIOC, disseminates as heat of 47 W at usage of a supply voltage 3,3 V.Otsjuda not difficultly to estimate for the specified chipset the consumption current which value reaches rather considerable for chip sets of that time of the value. It is obvious, that together with similar parametres of processors and expansion cards the specified features of chip sets demand adequate resources of power supplies, and also appropriate resources of maintenance of optimal temperature modes of maintenance.

Except the considered specialised chipsets of the system logic which has received a wide circulation among manufacturers of server systems, it is necessary to mark and Intel chip set 440GX AGPset, released for support of processors of P6 ¬«ЎЯФУТ¬Фїуб Slot 1 architecture and Slot 2. It is announced in remja release as a basis for high-powered workstations and servers of scale of large firm. It is optimised under single-processor systems and supports a symmetric multiprocessor pattern (SMP — Symmetric Multiprocessor Protocol) from two processors on the uniform system bus. It supports all processors of Intel of Pentium II and Intel of Pentium III with Slot 1 plugs and Slot 2, including processors of Intel of Pentium II Xeon and Intel of Pentium III Xeon, 100 MHz of the processor bus calculated for clock rate (64-bit Host Bus GTL + and AGL +).

Intel chip set 440GX AGPset is advanced modification of Intel 440BX AGPset, therefore unlike earlier created server chip sets realises Quad Port Acceleration (QPA architecture with usage of double-speed port AGP, bus PCI, etc .

Besides, the given chip set supports: the bus of memory in width of 64 bits, parity check and ECC, dynamic storage of specification PC100 SDRAM with size from 16 Mb to 2 Gbytes with pattern DRAM of 64/72 bits (64 bits + 8 bits ECC), providing usage of chips of memory 16, 64, 128, 256 Mbit, Bus Mastering, UltraDMA/33, Power Management, ACPI, PCI 2.1, AGP 1.0 with modes 1X/2X, USB and other functions and arrangements.

440GX AGPset Intel chip set consists of two components presented by following chips: 82443GX and 82371EB (PIIX4E).

The Form factor coincides with Intel 440BX AGPset.

Fig. 5. Structure of the dual-processor system created on the basis of a chip set of Intel 440GX AGPset

As an example of the server solutions fulfilled on the basis of a chip set of Intel 440GX AGPset, it is possible to result Intel L440GX + and Intel С440GX +. Thus system of Intel L440GX + are two processors of Intel of Pentium III or Intel of Pentium II, Ultra2 SCSI, to 2 Gbytes of dynamic storage PC100 SDRAM with support ECC, two buses PCI — one 33 MHz and one 66 MHz, Intel PRO/100 + Fast Ethernet etc .; Intel С440GX + has similar parametres, except for processors in which quality use IntelPentium III Xeon or IntelPentium II Xeon.

In addition to the server chipsets of system logic described above it is necessary to mark and that fact that is frequent as a basis of server solutions manufacturers was used by the chip sets created originally for the market of workstations and powerful desktop computers. As an example it is possible to result a known and popular chip set of Intel 440BX AGPset. This set, by the way, as well as its predecessors of Intel 440FX and Intel 440LX, is capable to ensure functioning of patterns from two processors of the sixth generation which Intels of Pentium II and Intel of Pentium III concern  , and also to support processing techniques of a safe operation with a dynamic storage subsystem. As a result, on the basis of Intel 440BX AGPset server motherboards of Intel T440BX and Intels N440BX intended for small servers (Small Server) have been released. Possibly, there is no necessity to prove and result similar examples of rather simple server solutions on the basis of Intel chip sets 440FX and Intel 440LX. That of it to be convinced it is enough to access to appropriate sources of the information.

Considering potential possibilities of construction of server systems with usage of not server chipsets of system logic, it is impossible to ignore and a chip set of Intel 840. This chip set concerns to following after Intel 440xx to Intel bar 8xx. Though the chip set of Intel 840 basically has been oriented for sector of powerful workstations, on the basis of the given set of Intel 840 were successfully released as well server systems.

The chip set of Intel 840 (i840 Сhipset) is specially developed for high-powered multiprocessors on the basis of processors of Intel of Pentium III and Intel of Pentium III Xeon.

The given chip set has habovuju the architecture similar to the architecture of the ancestor of similar chip sets, received the name of Intel 810.

The main distinctive tags of a chip set of Intel 840 from the traditional sets providing usage of two main chips, realising functions North Bridge and South Bridge, consist in implementation of following characteristics: clock rate of the system bus of 133 MHz, mode AGP 4X, specifications PCI 2.2 and usage of the high-speed local bus jointing the main components of a chip set. But the most important characteristic of Intel 840 is dynamic storage RDRAM support (Rambus DRAM). The maximum memory size for the given chip set makes 8 Gbytes. Support as memories PC100 (SDRAM), and memories PC600 and PC800 (RDRAM) is thus provided. Support of the two-channel bus of memory RDRAM — dual RDRAM channels is Besides, organised, allowing to reach speed to 3,2 Gbytes/with. It twice above, than in case of usage of a related chip set of Intel 820, by the way, not reached due popularity among users and manufacturers of computer systems basically because of rather high cost of RIMM units of memory RDRAM.

The base package of a chip set of Intel 840 consists of following main chips: 82840 Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH), 82801 Integrated I/O Controller Hub (ICH), 82802 Firmware Hub (FWH). Usage of additional chips is Besides, provided: 82806 64-bit PCI Controller Hub (P64H) (support of 64-bit bus PCI with frequency of 33 or 66 MHz), 82803 RDRAM-based memory repeater hub (MRH-R), 82804 SDRAM-based memory repeater hub (MRH-S).

It is necessary to mark, that all considered chip sets, despite their functional saturation, otlazhennost the architecture and solid-state technologies, high dependability and popularity concern already history. After release of server versions of processors with NetBurst architecture the chip sets enumerated above were replaced by the bar of more perfect chipsets of the system logic which is carrying out effective support of new models of processors. Bar E75xx chip sets the chipset of system logic of Intel E7500 became which ancestor became them. Representatives of the given bar already became a basis of a new generation of high-powered server systems.

The architecture and the parametres, new models of chip sets from Intels created for support of 32-bit processors of NetBurst architecture and 64-bit processors of IntelItanium set, and also some features of maintenance of server systems, become a subject of the following part of the given browse which will be presented in log "Byte" future issue.

In article technical substances of the corporation of Intel have been used

Article is published in log Byte (

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