Chipset Guide

by Anand Lal Shimpi on August 1, 1997 9:36 PM EST
Intel made the first major jump into the chipset industry with the release of their very successful 430FX Chipset, commonly known as the Intel Triton I or simply the FX Chipset.

Although now impractical for most applications, the 430FX was a very strong performer and competitor during its time. Most of the original Triton's success came courtesy of its memory and disk controllers. The 430FX was the very first Intel chipset designed to officially support the, at the time, newest memory standard, Extended Data Out Dynamic Random Access Memory (EDO DRAM for short). This gave users, for the first time, the chance to get a taste of the high end market without shelling out the big bucks. The combination of high speed EDO DRAM with the advanced architectural features the original Pentium [Classic] had to offer made the FX Chipset ideal for most users, and that reign continued for quite some time as there was no real demand to replace the 430FX.

The Triton I also introduced the idea of using a technique called Busmastering to the enhanced IDE controller, which is the part of the chipset used for controlling EIDE peripherals (i.e. HDDs). These Busmastering capabilities were provided by the PIIX controller which in theory, and in practice, speeds up hard disk data transfers on either EIDE channel by granting EIDE peripherals certain SCSI like qualities. In spite of its strengths in memory support and hard disk access, the original Triton chipset had quite a few shortcomings. Although the 430FX allowed the use of up to 512KB of secondary Level 2 Pipeline Burst Cache (PBSRAM) and 128MB of RAM the chipset itself fails to cache any memory beyond the first 64MB. This posed a major problem to high end users expecting the maximum performance and power out of their systems.

Being the first member of the Triton family of chipsets the 430FX does not natively support any enhanced video features or caching schemes, the first introduction of such features came almost 2 years later with the release of the Intel 430VX chipset and its support for the Unified Memory Architecture. Power saving also isn't much of a strongpoint of the 430FX chipset, it fully supports the bare minimum requirements to be used in an "energy efficient" system, however features like Instant-On, and Suspend to Disk aren't included in this category. The performance of the original Triton isn't all that bad, however it is quite pointless to build a 430FX based system now since the torch has already been passed to the better designed 430HX and 430TX chipsets.

Intel 82430FX Chipset
Common Name Triton I
Chipset Packaging Number of chips 3 (82437FX, 82438FX, 82371FB)
Packaging Type 1 x 208-pin QFP; 2 x 100-pin QFP
CPU Support Number of CPUs 1
AMD CPUs Supported N/A
Cyrix CPUs Supported N/A
Intel CPUs Supported Pentium
Cache Type Asynchronous/Synchronous Pipeline Burst Cache
Maximum Supported Size 512KB
Maximum Cacheable DRAM Area 64MB
Memory Maximum DRAM Supported 128MB
BEDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) N/A
EDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 7-2-2-2
FPM DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 7-3-3-3
SDRAM Read Timings (66MHz) N/A
Data Path to Memory 64-bits
ECC Support No
Hard Disk Controller Chip PIIX (82371FB Controller)
Busmastering Support Yes
UltraDMA Support No
Max. Theoretical Transfer Rate PIO Mode 4/DMA Mode 2 (16.6MB/S)
PCI Interface Supported PCI Bus Speeds 25, 30, 33 MHz
Concurrent PCI No
Async. PCI Bus Speed No
PCI Specification 2.0 (66 MHz max.)
Power Management PC97 Compliance No
Suspend to Disk No
HDD Power Down Yes
Modem Wakeup No
System Suspend No
Video AGP Support No
Unified Memory Architecture No
Peripheral Support USB Support No
Plug and Play Port Yes
Write Buffers CPU-to-DRAM 4 QWords
CPU-to-PCI 4 DWords
PCI-to-DRAM 12 DWords
Officially Supported Bus Speeds 50, 60, 66 MHz
Unofficially Achieved Bus Speeds None
ALi Aladdin V Intel 430HX
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  • vortmax2 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    The good ole' days when you could put multiple vendor CPUs into the same motherboard. So simple...
  • PentiumGeek - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    This motherboard was on my 1st PC. I was very disappointed when faced with the problem that DIMM and SIMM memory can't work in the same time. I used Pentium 100Mhz CPU on this motherboard :)
  • Amadeus777999 - Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - link

    Got an ASUS P2L97 board yesterday and I'm reading through this while DoomII is benchmarking. Good times.
  • rogerjowett - Sunday, May 17, 2020 - link

    Does n e 1 know where I can find a Voltage Regulation Module please

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