A socket 370 motherboard refers to any motherboard that is fitted with the socket 370 connector. As a standard, most socket 370 motherboard units are very similar, with little variation between the amount of maximum memory, connectors and other specifications. The socket 370 motherboard units were first introduced in 1999 by Intel®, and there have been several socket revisions to increase the power and front side bus (FSB) memory carrying speeds. One unofficial and five official central processing units (CPUs) have been released for the socket 370.
The socket 370 is so called because the socket and its associated CPUs are both fitted with 370 pins and pinholes. When looking at the similar socket 7 motherboard, which has 321 pins, it can be difficult to tell the difference automatically. While the number of pins differs between the two sockets, the arrangement of the pins makes them look nearly identical. Aside from counting the number of pins, which is hard to do manually, the best way is to look at the corners. The socket 370 motherboard will have two corners without any pins, while socket 7 just has one corner without a pin.
Most socket 370 motherboard units have similar specs, with very little variation. They tend to have 1 gigabyte (GB) maximum random access memory (RAM), one or two universal serial bus (USB) ports, ports for a keyboard and mouse, and either a floppy disk slot, a CD slot or both. The variations that do exist usually affect how the computer processes data and may make the computer better for gaming, home use or business use.
Throughout the socket 370’s life, there have been several revisions to the socket to make it work better with next-generation CPUs. These advancements made the FSB quicker and pushed processing speeds and power upward. While each advancement allowed the socket 370 to work with newer CPUs, the revisions are incompatible with older CPUs that the older versions supported, so it is not backward compatible. Technically, the motherboard does not have to be replaced to fit the socket 370 revisions onto the board, but common users typically do not have the technical knowledge needed to solder the new socket on, so a new motherboard with the new socket would have to be purchased.
There are five official CPUs released under the Intel® brand for the socket 370. There are three Celeron® CPUs, including the Mendocino®, Coppermine® and Tualatin®. The two versions of the Pentium III® released for the socket 370 include Coppermine® and Tualatin® generation CPUs. The unofficial CPU, released in 2000, is the Cyrix III® from the VIA® company; it is an x86-compatible CPU.