English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What does the "north of the northbridge" mean?

Source: http://duartes.org/gustavo/blog/post/what-your-computer-does-while-you-wait

I tried Googling it but nothing came up. Is it even a common phrase?

share|improve this question
up vote 17 down vote accepted

This is a very computer-related question. A northbridge is:

one of the two chips in the core logic chipset on a PC motherboard, the other being the southbridge.

This name, in itself, comes from its placement in a map of the chip's architecture. One example, also from Wikipedia, is this one:

chip map

Then, the "north of the northbridge" refers to the relative north in this map--the CPU and the memory, as referred to in your original source.

share|improve this answer
+1 for the rough map of a motherboard architecture. – whoabackoff Jul 13 '11 at 5:39

The article makes a few references to the northbridge and the southbridge. "The north of the northbridge" appears to mean the northernmost part of the object referred to as the "northbridge." So, it is akin to saying "the very top of the top part."

Here are all mentions of "bridge" in the article:

Let’s start with CPU and memory, the north of the northbridge: [graphic]

Down in the southbridge we have a number of other buses (e.g., PCIe, USB) and peripherals connected: [graphic]

Sadly the southbridge hosts some truly sluggish performers, for even main memory is blazing fast compared to hard drives.

I posted a full diagram showing both north and south bridges here if you’re interested.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.