Socket A Motherboard

At the start of the millennium, Socket A was introduced by Advanced Micro Devices and went on to dominate the computer world for several years. It was used with AMD Athlon processors that were released between the first Thunderbird and the last Thorton. The Socket A motherboard was a popular choice during these years, especially with a small group of enthusiasts who overclock their processors to higher than rated speeds. Socket A is still used today by the Geode series of mobile processors, and it is still possible to buy a secondhand Socket A motherboard from websites on the internet.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is a multinational corporation based in California, USA. It was founded in 1969 and is now one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world. AMD produces a wide range of semiconductor products for the computer industry including their popular line of processors. Only Intel supplies more processors for the desktop computer and laptop markets. AMD recently purchases ATI Technologies, a major producer of processors for video graphics cards. The purchase should help AMD to compete better with Nvidia, their main rival in the graphics processor market.

Socket A is just one type used to connect an AMD processor with a motherboard. While Socket A is the commonly used name, it is also known as Socket 462. It has a capacity for 462 pins but nine are blocked to prevent the insertion of other processors. Socket A comes in the form of a zero insertion force pin grid array, which means that the contacts are pressed against the processor pins after it has been inserted into the socket. The socket is made of plastic and has a arm for moving the contacts, and also two lugs for attaching a cooling device.

There are many processors that can be used in a Socket A motherboard. The Athlon series is the main line of AMD processors and spans several socket types. Socket A was first used for the Athlon Thunderbirds in 2000 and its use continued right through to the Athlon Thortons. The last Athlon processor to be based on Socket A was the XP3200. Socket A was superseded by the arrival of the Athlon 64 series in 2003 which used other sockets including Socket 754. Socket A was used for the Duron series of budget processors and also for some Sempron processors.

Overclocking is the practice of running a processor at a clock speed higher than the one it was intended to be run at. It is done by changing the speed of the front side bus in the BIOS. Overclocking allows the processor to run faster and do more work, but it also uses more power and produces more heat. This extra heat requires extra cooling to keep computer running normally. AMD processors are well known for their ability to be overclocked, and those for the Socket A motherboard were some of the best. They easily accommodated a larger heatsink or water cooling block to remove the extra heat.

Adequate cooling is important for all processors, even those that have not been overclocked. Running a processor without a cooling device can destroy it in a very short time. Installing a cooling device on a Socket A motherboard is not a difficult task but it needs to be done with care to avoid cracking the processor. There needs to be firm contact with the cooling device to allow heat to flow out of the processor efficiently. Spring clips are attached to lugs on the side of the socket to hold the parts together, and a thin layer of heat transfer paste fills in any small spots where there is no contact.

This Socket A Motherboard Review is Written/Updated on Nov 1st, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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