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Exploring Different Xeon Sockets and CPU Heatsinks
September 5th, 2008

Currently there are three different Xeon generations active in the market, all with different CPU heatsink mounting solutions. While the heatsink mounting holes make look similar they are very different and therefore require different heatsinks. View all of our Xeon heatsinks online here.


The first and the oldest of the three generations is the Socket 603 / 604 Xeon processor with a 400 / 533MHz front-side bus and Prestonia core. Motherboards that support this type of processor have mounting holes for the processor heatsink shown below. View all first generation heatsinks we offer.

The second generation of Xeon processors is the Socket 604 Xeon processor with an 800MHz front-side bus and a Nocona, Irwindale, Grandford, or Potomac core. Motherboards that support this type of processor have mounting holes for the processor heatsink shown below. View all second generation heatsinks we offer. Improvements have been made with this new mounting style. In older generations the heatsink was mounted to the motherboard itself. Xeon heatsinks were heavy and over time or in cases of extreme shock, can cause warping of the motherboard, and eventually lead to a fault. The newer Intel Xeon processor heatsink specification calls for the heatsink to be mounted directly to the chassis. The enlarged mounting holes allow for heatsink mounting studs to go right through the motherboard and directly to the chassis.
An example of a newer style heatsink mounted on a motherboard

The third generation of Xeon processors is the LGA 771 Xeon processor with an 800 / 1066 / 1333 MHz front-side bus and a Clovertown, Dempsey, or Woodcrest core. Motherboards that support this type of processor have mounting holes for the processor heatsink shown below. Along with the new heatsink mounting specification as the second generation Xeon processors, Intel has also developed a land grid array interface for their processor. Unlike the pin grid array (PGA) interface found on most AMD and Intel processors, there are no pins on the chip; in place of the pins are pads of bare gold-plated copper that touch pins on the motherboard. The Land Grid Array (LGA) provides higher pin densities, allowing more power contacts and thus a more stable power supply to the chip. View all third generation heatsinks we offer. Important Note: Even though the mount configuration of this processor is similar to that of the second generation Xeon processor mounting configuration, it is not. The hole pattern is the same, but the CPU heatspreader is actually shorter than the second generation processors. If you put a second generation heatsink on the LGA 771 processor, it won't touch it , and the CPU will end up overheating.
An example of an LGA

2 Comments
  1. Very good article, thank you!

    Posted By bahce on September 28, 2008

  2. Thanks, this helped a lot.

    Posted By William on October 29, 2008

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