CPU Socket Types Explained: Socket 5 to BGA

MakeUseOf | 6/19/2019 | Gavin Phillips
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Your computer processor has a home: the socket. The CPU socket is rarely mentioned because it doesn’t help or hinder performance. Rather, it provides a standardized shape for a specific generation of CPUs.

Why, then, should you care about CPU sockets? Well, if you want to upgrade your CPU, you need to know the socket type. Your motherboard socket type dictates which type of CPU you can use, whether your CPU upgrade is worthwhile, or if you should consider upgrading your entire system.

CPU - Sockets

So, what are CPU sockets, and why are they important?

What Is a CPU Socket?

CPU - Socket - Socket - Socket - Part

Your CPU socket is similar to a light socket. A light socket makes your light bulb part of an electrical network, giving the bulb the power it needs to work. Your CPU socket makes a processor part of your computer, providing power and offering a way for the CPU to communicate with the rest of your system hardware.

Modern computers place the CPU socket on the motherboard. (Here’s a short guide to all the parts on your motherboard.) In the past, there were other CPU socket configurations, including slot-mounted processors that you insert like a modern PCI card. Today, however, you place your CPU into the socket, on the motherboard, and secure it using a latch of some sort.

Motherboard - Centerpiece - Computer - Hardware - Well

A motherboard is the centerpiece of a computer, but they're seen as mysterious hardware that shouldn't be tinkered with. Well, here's what you need to know about motherboards.

CPU sockets are decades old. Intel’s famous first processor, the Intel 386, used a 132-pin PGA socket (I’ll explain this acronym in a moment). The original Intel Pentium CPU used Socket 4 and later, Socket 5.

CPU - Sockets - Differences - CPU - Sockets

CPU sockets are not ubiquitous. There are differences between the CPU sockets developed by Intel and AMD, relating to the differences in CPU pin configurations between the...
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