Identifying chipsets

To make upgrade decisions based on chipset, you must identify which chipset you have. If you are buying a new motherboard, this is straightforward. The motherboard specifications always list the chipset. When you upgrade an existing system, determining which chipset it uses can be difficult. You can identify the chipset in one of the following ways:

  • If you have the documentation for the system board or the PC, the chipset it uses will be listed in the detailed specifications. If you do not have the documentation, but can identify the make and model of the PC or motherboard, the manufacturer’s web site should list the chipset it uses.

  • Use a third-party diagnostics program such as Smith Micro CheckIt or SiSoft Sandra to display system information. Figure 3-2 shows the results of running Sandra on an old Pentium III system. If you have no documentation, using a diagnostic utility is by far the easiest way to identify the chipset.

    SiSoft Sandra identifying the chipset as an Intel 440BX

    Figure 3-2. SiSoft Sandra identifying the chipset as an Intel 440BX


    Many Windows diagnostics programs do not run or have limited functionality under Windows NT/2000/XP, which limit access of applications to underlying hardware. Although Windows utilities such as Sandra provide useful information, they cannot fully test or report on low-level system hardware resources. If you need to run comprehensive testing and diagnostics on an NT/2000/XP ...

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