Microprocessor Design/Sockets and interfacing

Form FactorsEdit

A Sharp Z80 microprocessor, with a Dual-Inline Package (DIP) with 40 pins.

A matter that is peripheral to the subject of microprocessor design, but not wholely unrelated is the subject of form factors, sockets, and interfacing. When it comes to microprocessors and microcontrollers there is no standard size or shape, no standard connectors, etc. An Intel Pentium chip cannot plug into the same socket as an AMD Athlon chip, even though they are both IA32 chips, and both of them can run the same software. The size, shape, number of connectors and orientation of the connectors are known collectively as the form factor of the chip. Each separate form factor requires a specific interface for the chip to connect to called a socket.


The underside of an AMD Athlon processor, showing the connector pins.


A Socket 479, one of many different and incompatible socket types.