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What Is Socket 462?

By Andy Josiah
Updated May 16, 2024
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Socket 462, also known as Socket A, is a central processing unit (CPU) socket, or processor socket, that semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) chiefly designed for its second- and third-generational production of its then-flagship brand of personal computer (PC) chips called Athlon. The number 462 stands for the number of pin holes to which the pins of the CPU attach. With its introduction in 2000, Socket 462 followed the path of previous CPU sockets in mechanically and electrically connecting processors with the motherboard.

The holes on Socket 462 are arranged in neat rows that cover the square-shaped component, an arrangement that is known as pin grid array (PGA). There are two PGA types available: ceramic pin grid array (CPGA), which means that the socket is made of ceramic; and organic pin grid array (OPGA), which denotes its organic plastic manufacture. The physical dimensions of Socket 462 comprise a 2.6 inch (6.55 centimeter) width and 2.2 inch (5.59 centimeter) length. Intel typically employs zero insertion force (ZIP) for this socket to eliminate the reliance of force for plugging in or removing the CPU. This is useful for preventing possible damage to the processor.

The computer chip fitted on the Socket 462 must have a data transmission speed of 200, 266, 333 or 400 megahertz (MHz). This means that the chip must be able to conduct 200, 266, 333 or 400 million transfers per second (MT/s), respectively. The socket itself uses a 1 to 2.05 volt (V) operational voltage range.

AMD primarily made Socket 462 for the Athlon's second and third generations of production-codenamed Thunderbird and XP/MP, respectively. They appeared in 2000 and 2001. AMD also used it for Duron, which was its low-end CPU brand at the time and appeared in the same year as the Thunderbird Athlon. When the company replaced Duron with Sempron in 2004, it began using the new chips on the socket as well. A fifth brand compatible with Socket 462 is the Geode NX, a chip that combines the characteristics of a computer system and was once manufactured by National Semiconductor.

In 2003, the year AMD assumed manufacturing rights of the Geode NX from National Semiconductor, the company introduced Socket 754 as the socket for Athlon 64, which was Athlon XP’s immediate successor. With this socket, AMD increased the number of pin holes by almost 70 percent. The following year, Socket 939, which more than doubled Socket 462’s pin holes, appeared for the same purpose. The arrival of these components signaled the end of Socket 462 dominance, although it retained its use for the Geode NX chips.

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