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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | The Processor | Processor Physical Characteristics | Processor Packaging ]

Single Edge Contact (SEC)

The newest packaging style for desktop PCs, Single Edge Contact or SEC, is a move away from the single-chip-style packaging that Intel has used for all of its processors up to the Pentium Pro. The PPro had integrated secondary cache, inside the same chip package as the chip itself. With the creation of the Pentium II processor, Intel moved the secondary cache off-chip, but wanted to be able to maintain a special high-speed connection between it and the actual processor. To do this, they decided to not sell the Pentium II as a separate chip, but rather as an integrated package with the level 2 cache. SEC was the result.

The SEC is actually a daughtercard, not a chip package at all. The processor itself is packaged using technology similar to regular PGA, but is mounted onto a small circuit board with a proprietary connector on its edge. The level 2 cache is also mounted onto this daughtercard, which goes into a special slot on the motherboard. This allows for a higher-speed interface to the secondary cache, since it is not on the motherboard as it is with the Pentium and Pentium with MMX motherboards. It also allows Intel to create a patented, proprietary motherboard interface for its new CPUs, which caused a fair bit of commotion at its introduction.

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