A+ Certification / Beginners

Identifying Socket Types

Intel decided to develop a new standard for upgrading a processor on motherboards, beginning with the 80486 chips and continuing with the Pentium-class processors. This standard was called processor sockets. A processor socket is a socket designed to hold a specific processor chip with the appropriate number of pins. This enabled Intel to develop new chips with compatibility of a particular socket in mind. For example, if a socket is developed with 321 pins, Intel could develop a new processor that has 321 pins and know that the processor will work with any motherboard that has the right socket. This allows the consumer to upgrade a processor much easier than in the past. Intel could design a new chip for an old socket so that customers could update their computers by dropping the new processor in the compatible socket.

Original Pentium processors supported mainly Socket 5 with 320 pins or Socket 7 with 321 pins. Thus, to add a Pentium processor to a motherboard, you would have to find out what socket existed on that board and then purchase a CPU that would fit in that socket. You would also have to remember to match the voltage of the board to the voltage required by the CPU.

The sockets are normally labeled with the type of socket it is along the side of the socket. For example, the socket is labeled as PGA 370, meaning it's Socket 370 and will hold any processor designed for socket 370. Socket 370 is a socket that holds a processor containing 370 pins.

Table below lists the different types of sockets and the processors that are placed in the sockets. For more information about the processors, read the sections, "Looking at Popular Intel Processors" and "Don't Forget Non-Intel Chips," later in this tutorial. Table below also shows the number of pins associated with the different types of sockets.

Processor Socket Types
SocketProcessorNumber of Pins
Socket ALater Athlon, Duron, and Athlon XP462
Socket 180486, 80486DX2, 80486DX4169
Socket 280486, 80486DX2, 80486DX4238
Socket 380486, 80486DX2, 80486DX4237
Socket 4Pentium 60/66273
Socket 5Pentium 75-133320
Socket 7Pentium 75-200321
Socket 8Pentium Pro387
Socket 370Celeron and Pentium III370
Socket 418Itanium418
Socket 423Pentium 4423
Socket 478Later Celerons and Pentium 4478
Socket 603Xeon (Pentium 4 version)603
Socket 611Itanium611
Socket 940Opteron940
Slot AAthlon242
Slot 1Pentium II and Pentium III242
Slot 2Xeon330

It is important to know the socket types used to hold the Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4, Celeron, Athlon, Athlon XP, and Duron processors. You will not be expected to memorize the entire chart, but you should be familiar with the sockets used by today's popular processors.

Originally, the sockets were simply called Socket 1, Socket 2, and so on up to Socket 8. To make it easier to understand what processors went into which sockets, Intel started naming the sockets after the number of pins that existed on the processor that the socket would support. For example, Socket 370 holds a processor with 370 pins, while Socket 478 holds a processor with 478 pins. It is much easier now to identify what processors go into which sockets! Now that you understand some of the characteristics of processors and you understand what a socket is, take a look at some of the popular Intel.

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