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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | The Processor | Processor Physical Characteristics ]

Processor Sockets and Slots

The purpose of the motherboard socket originally was just to provide a place to insert the processor into the motherboard. As such, it was no different than the sockets that were put on the board for most of the other PC components. However, over the last few years Intel, the primary maker of processors in the PC world, has defined several interface standards for PC motherboards. These are standardized socket and slot specifications to be used with various processors that are designed to use these standard sockets.

What is significant about the creation of these standards is that Intel's two main competitors, AMD and Cyrix, have been able to use these standards as well in their quest for compatibility with Intel. While packages and sockets/slots do change over time, the presence of standards allows for better implementations by motherboard makers, who can make boards that hopefully support future processors more easily than if each board had to be tailored to a specific chip.

This section discusses socket and slot standards and other issues related to mating processors to the system motherboard. If you are looking for specific information on processor installation, refer to this procedure.

Next: Standardized Sockets and Slots

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