Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Troubleshoot North Bridge & South Bridge Controllers On A Computer

North Bridge and South Bridge controllers are the names often used for the chipsets located on the motherboard of your computer. These chipsets are arguably the most important components on the motherboard, controlling all communication between the central processing unit (CPU) and everything else. The North Bridge chip (also called the Memory Controller Hub or MCH) connects to the CPU through the front side bus (FSB) and controls communication between the CPU, memory and video. The South Bridge chipset (called the I/O Controller Hub or ICH) handles communication between the CPU and the external storage, legacy and slower communication devices (mouse, keyboard, hard drives, USB devices, etc). Troubleshooting these chipsets involves using the Hardware Diagnostic Tool provided by your computer manufacturer.


1. Turn off your computer for at least one minute. This enables the computer to clear all electrical current flowing to the memory modules and the peripheral devices connected to the motherboard.

2. Restart your computer and look for any onscreen error messages. Record all messages, visit your computer manufacturer's website and access the "Support and Downloads" section. Use the "Support and Downloads" search field to find the definition and solution for all such error messages.

3. Reset your display settings after your computer reboots. Using your mouse, right- click anywhere on the desktop and in the drop down menu that appears open the "Personalize" tab (Windows Vista and Windows 7). Open the "Display Settings" menu and manually adjust your display settings. The inability to optimally reset these settings is an indication that the North Bridge (or MCH) drivers may need to be updated. To access the "Display Settings" on computers using the Windows XP operating system, right-click anywhere on the desktop and click the "Display Settings" tab found at the bottom of the menu box. Attempt to reset your display settings as just described.

4. Open or download your computer's "Hardware Diagnostic Tools." For computers using the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system, click on the "Start" icon and type "diagnostic tools" in the search field at the bottom of the drop-down menu that appears. If your computer has pre-installed the "Hardware Diagnostic Tools," they will appear in the search window.

5. Click on the "Hardware Diagnostic Tools" tab and follow all onscreen prompts to run the appropriate hardware and memory tests. Record all error messages that may appear onscreen. Visit your manufacturer's website and use the search field in the "Support and Downloads" section to find solutions for all messages. Multiple error messages involving memory and video are a sign that the North Bridge chip (or MCH) is defective or needs driver updating. Multiple error messages involving the USB, storage devices, mouse and keyboard functionality indicates that the South Bridge (or ICH) is defective or the drivers are not up to date.

6. Visit your computer manufacturer's website and in the "Support and Downloads" section find the drivers, downloads and utilities appropriate for your computer make and model. Typing your computer model number in the search field is a quick way to access the documentation, drivers and diagnostic tools appropriate for your computer. Once you have accessed the appropriate "Drivers and Download" section, type "Hardware Diagnostic Tools" in the search field. Once located, download the Hardware Diagnostic Tools to your computer. Follow your computer manufacturer's instructions for downloading the diagnostic tools.

7. Open the "Hardware Diagnostic Tool" utility and follow all onscreen prompts to run both the hardware and memory tests. Record all error messages and as described in Step 5 and visit the manufacturer's website for solutions.

Tags: your computer, Hardware Diagnostic, error messages, Hardware Diagnostic Tools, North Bridge, search field, computer manufacturer