..:: Introduction ::..
If we were able to take a step back in time, I’m sure that many of you reading this article would remember back when Intel proclaimed that processors in socket form were dead in the water. Intel, along with AMD, then progressed forward with slot mounted processors, which didn’t exactly last all that long on the grand scheme of things. Sure, we had Slot A, Slot I and II, but those only lasted through a generation and a half of processors. If you take care to remember, both companies moved back to socket implementations by the time the 1.00GHz mark had rolled around, AMD with their well-loved Socket 462, and Intel with their Socket 370, and then Socket 423/478. Lately, it seems as though Intel and AMD have switched places when it comes to the socket merry-go-round that consumers must deal with. Not long ago, Intel had the 370, 423, and 478 processor sockets, a fact that wasn’t looked well upon by many in our enthusiast community. AMD on the other hand had their Socket A, and, well, Socket A. Since then, Intel has stuck it out with the Socket 478 processor until today, where we’ll be debuting the latest LGA 775 socket while AMD has gained a higher precedence in the community with their Opteron and Athlon 64 processor lines, and have also adopted 754, 940, and now 939 pin sockets. Funny how things work out isn’t it?
Intel’s new LGA, or Land Grid Array, 775 processor socket takes a step away from traditional implementations in that the package no longer features pins, rather the bottom of the LGA 775 processors only have small gold contacts. With the LGA package, Intel has moved the pins into the bottom portion of the processor socket, something that will make installation of the processor easier in that there is no need to watch for bent pins on the package…although it will make it more difficult as well. You no longer need to worry about bent or damaged pins on the processor, rather now you have to worry twice as much about bent pins within the processor socket itself. We’ve heard some horror stories about the frailty of these pins, and from working first hand with LGA 775 motherboards, I can say that these stories likely can be taken with more than a grain of salt. In order to properly install the processor, you need to vertically drop it in the socket. If you angle the processor too much, we have found a slight angle to be alright, you risk bending some of the tiny pins and then smiling with delight at your now useless motherboard.
LGA 775 isn’t all bad, in fact it comes along with quite a few positive aspects. The processor can now deal with a higher amount of current flowing into it due to and increased number of power pins. This helps take the incredible current load off of many of the other power pins, and can help lower the amount of leakage, and also reduce some heat. Heat has been the primary issue with Intel’s latest processors, especially Prescott. Herein lies yet another positive aspect of LGA 775. With the plastic retention mechanisms used on 478 platforms, as heatsinks began to grow in mass due to increased thermal requirements, the motherboards would begin to bow due to the mechanical stress placed upon them. The heaviest heatsinks where mounted through the motherboard, as this helped relieve and disperse some of the stress. With the LGA 775 socket, Intel has allowed for similar implementations to be used as a standard. Many found the 478 heatsinks to offer incredibly easy installation, and with this new socket, Intel has made this task even easier.
Lastly, I know I’m not the only one out there who has went to remove their heavy copper heatsink and had the processor end up pulling right out of the socket with it. This has surely lead to some scary moments for consumers out there as well. With the new socket, Intel has fixed this problem. When the socket is unlocked, there is a small casing with a square portion removed from it that rotates upward. Once the processor is installed, and the socket locked down, this outer casing holds down the processor by the outer edges removing all possibility of damage due to a heatsink swap.