Several very old CPU sockets have remained on the market to support the least expensive processors, as buyers expect to pay more for the latest technology. In chronological order, these progress from Socket 370 and Socket 462 to Socket 478 and 754, followed by LGA 775 and Socket 939 and finally Socket AM2.
Multi-processor PCs were once feasible for desktops, and AMD's upcoming 4x4 technology may once again make dual-socket solutions more attractive to PC buyers. Until then, these are limited to business-oriented solutions such as AMD's Opteron and Intel's Xeon multi-processor series. The days of running two 300 MHz Celeron processors at 50% beyond rated speed may be well behind us, but the low-cost performance of two highly-overclockable cores can still be found in a single socket, via the Pentium D 805.
It should be noted that four- and eight-way solutions are also popular in demanding business applications, and dozens of such platforms can be linked together for even higher demands such as required in physics research.
Socket 370 (Intel Pentium III, Celeron)
Initially developed in the 1990's for Intel Celeron and Pentium III processors, Socket 370 (that is the pin count) has seen several revisions with eventual support up to 1.40 GHz Pentium III Tualatin cores at 133 MHz bus speed and a virtual end to platform development around 2002. But VIA still officially supports it through its C3 series of ultra low-wattage, ultra-low performance processors. Unofficially, all that remains on the market are embedded versions of the C3, with the processor soldered directly to the motherboard. Lackluster performance and scarce availability makes this antiquated interface a poor choice for even the cheapest computers.
Bus speed support and electrical specification changes prevent later boards from supporting the earliest processors and vice versa. Anyone purchasing a motherboard separately from the CPU should consult the manufacturer's Website to check compatibility.
Socket 462 (AMD Athlon XP, Duron)
AMD's answer to Socket 370 was Socket A, also known as Socket 462. Supporting everything from a 600 MHz Duron to the 2.2 GHz Athlon XP 3200+, processor availability is still good. Price to performance ratios are quickly falling out of favor however, so we'd suggest choosing a newer solution.
As with Socket 370, changes in supported bus speeds and electrical specifications restrict compatibility between certain generations of boards and processors, so that anyone considering these should consult the manufacturer's Website to determine compatibility.
- Which Features Matter Most To You?
- Motherboard Component Overview
- Layout Considerations
- Choosing The Right Size (Form Factor)
- BTX Through Pico-BTX
- Choosing The Right Processor Socket
- Socket 478 (Intel Pentium 4, Celeron)
- LGA 775 (Intel Pentium 4, Pentium D, Celeron, Core 2 Duo)
- Choosing The Right Chipset
- Quad Data Rate Northbridge Technologies (S478, S775)
- The Southbridge
- Memory And Expansion Card Slots
- BIOS Features