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What Is Socket L?

By Andy Josiah
Updated May 17, 2024
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Socket L, also known as Socket L1, is the name that graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer Nvidia calls the central processor unit (CPU) socket from semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). It is for the AMD Quad FX platform, for which Nvidia supplied a chipset. Officially known as Socket F, Socket L is the major component of a personal computer (PC) motherboard format that contains two sockets so that users can plug in two dual-core processors.

Made for increased computing power, the dual Socket L-equipped AMD Quad FX platform was released on 30 November 2006 for hardware enthusiasts or performance-oriented customers. This particular application of the Socket F is also known as Socket 1207FX. The very socket itself had been released three months earlier than the motherboard platform, on 15 August 2006, for AMD’s 2xxx and 8xxx series under its workstation- and server-oriented Opteron brand. It is also compatible with the FX-7x series of the company’s PC gamer-focused FX division of the Athlon 64, which explains the FX suffix of the platform and socket.

Socket L is notable for being the first AMD processor socket to use the land grid array (LGA) form factor. This means that it had pins on the socket rather than the most popular type of integrated circuit packaging, called pin grid array (PGA), which usually had pin holes with the pins on the CPU. Socket L’s pins, numbering 1,207, are arranged in four neat rows on the socket’s square-shaped structure. It uses an LGA variant called flip-chip LGA (FCLGA). The Opteron or Athlon 64 FX computer chip has the back of the die—the piece of semiconductor material that stores the CPU’s cores, or processing units—exposed, thereby permitting the introduction of a heatsink for heat dissipation and promoting energy efficiency.

The three Athlon 64 FX chips that Socket L supports have a data transfer speed of 1,000 megahertz (MHz), or 1 billion transfers per second (GT/s). The Opteron has a better rate, with a range of 1 to 2.4 gigahertz (GHz), or 1 billion to 2.4 GT/s. All Socket L-compatible chips use AMD’s HyperTransport, a technology employed in place of the traditional front-side bus interface for improved efficiency.

In 2010, two sockets replaced the Socket L. Socket C32, which has the same number of pins, was designed for the entry-level 4000 series of the Opteron. Socket G34 appeared as the CPU socket for the upper-level Opteron 6000 series and surpassed the other two sockets with its 1,974-pin count.

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