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Bus Buffering and Data Flow
The chipset controls and manages the flow of information from the local bus (PCI on a Pentium or later system) to memory, as well as from PCI directly to the processor. On AGP systems, the chipset also coordinates transfers between the CPU and AGP video card. For higher efficiency, there can be several transactions pending at the same time. Since the processor, memory, and PCI bus are all operating at different speeds, buffers (temporary data storage areas) are used to hold data during transfers. Chipsets vary in the amount of these buffers that they provide; more buffers mean more ability to support concurrent operation of the processor, PCI bus, and memory. Look here for more information on the system buses.
Next: Memory System Timing