A chipset is an integrated circuit which manages the communication between the CPU and the other components (memory, hard drives, graphics card for example) of the motherboard. They are made by manufacturers such as Intel and AMD to support their processors. The features of a motherboard largely depends on the choice of chipset.
A chipset is only compatible with certain generations of CPU, which means that two CPU that use the same socket will not necessarily work on the same motherboard. You can find the list of CPU supported by your motherboard on the manufacturer’s website.
Both Intel and AMD often offer several chipsets for the same generation of processor. This allows motherboard manufacturers to have different product lines in terms of features and prices.
For instance, AMD introduced three chipsets for the Zen 3 desktop processors during year 2020: the X570 for high-end motherboards, the B550 for the mid-range and the A520 for the entry level. It has introduced four new chipsets for the Zen 4 desktop processors during year 2022: the X670 and X670e for high-end motherboards and the B650 and B650e for the mid-range. On the other hand, Intel offers the following chipsets for its Rocket Lake desktop processors: Z590 for the high-end, H570 for the mid-range, B560 for the professional motherboards and H510 for the entry level. For the Alder Lake desktop processor family, Intel proposes the Z690 for the high-end, H670 for the mid-range, B660 for the professional motherboards and H610 for the entry level. Finally Intel introduced the Z790 chipset to support the new Raptor Lake last october 2022.
High-end motherboard chipsets offer much more features than the ones of the basic range, but they are also more expensive and power hungry. Therefore, consider how you will use your computer before choosing the motherboard.
You can access a list of CPU chipset here to see their details.
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