The front side bus, or FSB, is the term used for the electrical pathway that is on the motherboard of a computer. This is the same pathway that serves as the connection between the various hardware component and the microprocessor or central processing unit. The front side bus can be seen as the roads that connect the components to the central hub, which is the CPU.
Data that travel on the front side bus moves in two directions, this means the components send and receive data from the central processing unit. Because of the large amount of data that goes through the front side bus, the overall speed and performance of the computer is also dependent on the speed of the front side bus. The speed of the FSB is dictated on how wide the “pathway” is, the frequency, and how much data can be processed for every clock tick of the CPU.
The FSB’s width is based on the bit-size, so a 32-bit FSB is double the size of a 16-big FSB. The frequency, on the other hand, is measured in megahertz, so a 400 Mhz FSB is faster than a 300 Mhz FSB.
The FSB is able to send and receive data with the components with the help of the motherboard’s chipset. In a motherboard, there are two chipsets – the Northbridge and the Southbridge. These are the two chips responsible for collecting data to the components. It should be noted that the overall speed of both the Northbridge and the Southbridge will depend on the speed of the front side bus.