Front Side Bus, what is it? [or: help a mentally challenged old man learn about computers]...

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Hi,

If a computer has a 500mhz FSB, what exactly does this mean? Just from
searching around, it appears that this is the rate at which "CPU
communicates with the chipset." What does the chipset do?

If my RAM is rated at 200mhz, does this mean that the CPU will
communicate with the RAM
at 200mhz despite the fact that the FSB speed is 500mhz?

Also, how do I convert MHz to MB/sec? I'm thinking that since I'm using
a 32bit CPU and I want to know how fast the CPU can retrieve information
from RAM [yes, it's just an educational exercise -- humor me!], I would
approximate:

200,000,000 pulses per second * (32bits per pulse) / (8,000,000 bits per
megabyte)

equals...

800 MB/sec

So am I right in assuming that my computer can read/write to RAM at a
rate of 800MB/sec?

What is the point of having a FSB that is faster than the RAM speed? Can
this excess bandwidth (of the FSB) be used to talk to other buses like the
PCI bus while simultaneously talking to RAM?

Just when you thought you'd heard every last stupid question, here's a
new one. What is the mhz speed for USB? Since USB is "serial", does only one
bit get transferred per clock pulse instead of 32 bits? Why was USB designed
in this way?

Thanks,

David

Re: Front Side Bus, what is it? [or: help a mentally challen

The chipset in common PC's does pretty much everything else that the
CPU doesn't, It routes interupts and bus data to and from the CPU, it
also handles the IRQ configuration in NVRAM and sends the appropriate
interrupt RQ to the CPU for the device requesting an interrupt, also
it handles most of the "external" functions of the MB like
PWR Man/Wake On Lan (on board video usualy resides in the chipset)