How to Install an H4 Socket Processor
For most users, the processor is the heart of your system, while the motherboard represents the spine. While most enthusiasts use Core series processors, the equivalent for business and workstation use is the Xeon processor.
How Do Sockets Work?
Every computer needs some form of interface between the processor and the motherboard. This is where all the data flows between the CPU and the rest of the system from memory to your graphics card. The difficulty with designing such an interface is that it needs to be robust enough to transfer both data and power without errors and simultaneously allow for easy CPU removal and replacement. There are two primary approaches:
- Socket: The standard ZIF socket features a series of holes which match up with corresponding pins on the processor. You insert the CPU into the socket and then use a lever to lock the processor into place.
- LGA: In the LGA approach, the pins are moved from the bottom of the processor die to the motherboard. This makes for a more durable CPU and allows for a greater pin density as well.
What is a Xeon?
Intel makes a number of different processor lines for different purposes and market segments. The two primary lines are the consumer-focused Core line and the business-focused Xeon line. The company differentiates these processors according to a number of different factors:
- Core Count: Whereas Core series processors offer anywhere from 2 cores on up, Xeons can offer as many as 28 cores in a single package. The higher the core count, the better the multi-processing capabilities, especially since most models can support two threads per core.
- Cache: Onboard cache is high-speed memory built into the processor package. It allows for rapid data access and helps increase overall throughput by reducing stalls.
- Clock Speed: While speed matters, it's often less important for Xeons than for the Core series, as it primarily benefits single-threaded workloads, such as gaming rather than business applications.
Using a Xeon
When mounted on a motherboard with quad-channel memory and fast I/O, a Xeon can give you superb performance under business loads. It may not be as fast for gaming as some Core models, but it will give you much higher overall performance on everything from databases to spreadsheets. They also work well for 3D rendering and other computationally intensive applications. An Intel Xeon processor may not be the optimal gaming solution, though with up to 4.5 GHz Turbo frequencies it's no slouch, but it is something that can give you the performance you need for demanding workloads without trading away the functionality you need for daily use.
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