A socket 754 central processing unit (CPU) is any CPU used in the AMD® socket 754. Socket 754 CPU models use the traditional pin grid array (PGA), in which pins are placed into the socket. The CPUs were unpopular sellers because of conflicting marketing. Socket 754 CPU models ranged in speed from 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) to 2.6 GHz, and were used in both desktop and mobile processors. Only four processors were made for the 754 connector before it was replaced by the slightly tweaked socket 939.
The socket 754, like most traditional CPU sockets, used a PGA grid in which gold-plated pins on the socket 754 CPU fit into socket pinholes. Unlike most sockets, a spring was added to ensure the CPU stayed in place, an especially good feature for mobile computers. The user was required to lift a lever to release the spring, place the CPU in the socket, then push the lever back down to lock the CPU into position. Most sockets do not include this spring and the user just places the CPU over the pinholes.
Speed-wise, socket 754 CPU models had a tight range, going from 2.4 GHz to 2.6 GHz. While 2.4 GHz is supposed to be the minimum speed, most CPUs perform lower than this, around the 1.4 GHz to 1.8 GHz range, especially after aging. With upgrades, or if the computer is configured correctly, the CPUs can perform to the higher specifications of the socket.
Four socket 754 CPU models were made: the Athlon 64®, Sempron®, Turion 64®, and Mobile Athlon 64®. One of the greatest advantages to using this socket and its associated CPUs was that the motherboard costs were drastically less than later motherboards. The CPUs also were powerful for the time, but inefficient marketing kept sales from being satisfactory.
The socket 754 was marketed as a budget solution for mid- to high-end computers and was mostly aimed toward desktop computers. Despite this, the major sales came from high-end mobile platforms. This miscalculation in marketing meant the socket 754 CPUs never sold that well, and the socket was replaced quickly.
The socket 939, which replaced socket 754, only had several small tweaks to differentiate it from the former socket. It increased the amount of memory channels to two, as opposed to one on the socket 754, and increased the bus speed from 800 megahertz (MHz) to 1,000 MHz. the improvements made motherboard costs go up dramatically.