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Intel Socket 7 Specification
Designation: Socket 7
Number of Pins: 321
Pin Rows: 5 (staggered)
Voltage: 2.5-3.3 volts
Motherboard Class: Pentium
Supported Processors: Pentium 75-200 MHz, Pentium OverDrive, Pentium with MMX, Pentium with MMX OverDrive, K5, 6x86, K6, 6x86MX
Description: Socket 7 is the most popular socket for Pentium motherboards, and the closest thing to an industry standard socket on the market today. It supports a wide range of processors, including the highest performance fifth-generation chips from Intel. Furthermore, Socket 7 has been embraced by Intel competitors AMD and Cyrix, who have designed not only Pentium-class processors but also sixth-generation chips (AMD's K6 and Cyrix's 6x86MX) to fit the standard. For its part, Intel has moved on to newer designs, not intending to put sixth-generation technology on the Socket 7 standard.
Socket 7 motherboards were the first to incorporate integral voltage regulators modules, to supply the lower (sub 3.3 volt) voltages required to internally power newer generation processors. Not all Socket 7 motherboards support the lower voltages, however; it was up to the motherboard manufacturer to plan for the future and make this flexibility an option, and not all of them did this before the first Pentium with MMX was released that required sub-3-volt power. Intel produces a Pentium with MMX OverDrive to be used in motherboards that don't support the 2.8 volt power requirement natively.