Posted 03 November 2011 - 07:04 PM
Motherboard, CPU, and chipset are very much related. Certain motherboards can take only certain CPU's, for a number of reasons, and chipsets can determine what features the CPU has along with motherboard features. With chipsets, things get a little more hazy for the consumer as to what it actually does. Typically, a chipset consists of a northbridge and a southbridge. The northbridge communicates between the CPU, RAM, expansion slots, and the southbridge. More recent CPU's have moved the memory controller portion onto the CPU itself. Newer CPU's, Intel's Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion line (Not the FX series) have the entire northbridge on the CPU. The southbridge handles most everything else, I/O funcationality and ports, interrupts, audio, and IDE. The southbridge is NOT directly linked to the CPU but, instead, to the northbridge. Since the northbridge is, on Fusion and Sandy Bridge CPU's, integrated on the CPU's themselves, the southbridge links directly to the CPU.
As for components, AMD's 900 series chipsets are newer and take both older K10h CPU's, like the Phenom II's, and newer Bulldozer-based FX CPU's. As with all previous AMD chipsets, the numbers do have meaning. The first digit refers to the series, like AMD 900 or 800. The next two determine its market segment, a x70 is considered the base and is good if you are only going to be using a single graphics card, the x80 and x90X, are a slight step up with support for two graphics cards and often come in micro-ATX sizes, the x90FX is the enthusiast line supporting four graphics cards. The x70 models sometimes come with more than one PCI-E X16 slot, this is not part of the chipset feature set but a manufacturer add-on. Becuase the x90FX motherboards are geared for enthusiasts, manufacturers often build those with tougher, more high-grade components. If you are going to be using a single GPU, get a 970, if you are going to be using two or more, a 990FX. If this is a home theater or standard home PC, AMD's Fusion line of APU's are the way to go.