What Is a Socket AM2 Motherboard?

Andy Josiah

A Socket AM2 motherboard is a motherboard of a computer system that contains a central processing unit (CPU) socket named Socket AM2. The motherboard functions as the heart of a computer, as it contains several of its major components or performs some of its primary functions. This includes housing the processor. Semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) released this component in 2006 primarily for its Athlon desktop personal computer (PC) processors, which constitute what was once the company’s primary consumer-oriented brand.

A dual core CPU mounted to a motherboard.
A dual core CPU mounted to a motherboard.

The Socket AM2 motherboard typically uses the micro Advanced Technology eXtended (mATX or micro ATX) motherboard form factor, which can be as small as 6.75 by 6.75 inches (171.45 by 171.45 millimeters) or as big as 9.6 by 9.6 inches (244 by 244 mm). Companies that manufacture the Socket AM2 motherboard include Taiwan-based ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASUS) and Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. (Foxconn) and United States-based Hewlett-Packard (HP). Like other CPU sockets, Socket AM2 is designed to electrically connect the computer chip to the motherboard for data transmission. It also provides the physical support to keep the CPU in place and protect it from potential damage.

Socket AM2 Motherboards feature a built-in sound card.
Socket AM2 Motherboards feature a built-in sound card.

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The Socket AM2 itself has 940 pin holes to accommodate the processor. It uses pin grid array (PGA), which is a socket form factor that involves the orderly arrangement of the holes in a grid-like layout. Socket AM2 comes in two PGA variants, ceramic pin grid array (CPGA), which is made of ceramic; and organic pin grid array (OPGA), which denotes an organic-plastic manufacture. It is used for more than the Athlon brand of desktop CPUs. Other Socket AM2-compatible chips come from the budget-oriented Sempron; the server- and workstation-oriented Opteron; and the Phenom, which eventually replaced the Athlon as AMD’s flagship CPU family.

The typical Socket AM2 motherboard provides two 240-pin dual in-line memory module (DIMM) sockets for installing the computer’s system memory. The installed memory modules must use second-generational double data rate synchronous dynamic random access memory architecture (DDR2 SDRAM). Other components of the Socket AM2 motherboard include an integrated graphics chipset for video and graphics, an Ethernet driver for wired networking, and a built-in sound card for the computer’s high-definition audio. Connectors include audio and video ports for the computer’s audio and video capabilities, PS/2 connectors for the computer mouse and keyboard, and serial advanced technology attachment interfaces for the hard drive and optical drive. Also included are universal serial bus (USB) 2.0 ports for data transmission and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) slots for expansion cards such as a graphics processor unit.

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