AMD Athlon XP CPU Installation

In the past few years, number of people using AMD based machines has
increased substantially. There are many reasons for this. Some of them
are Low costs, rock solid performance and upgradeability. It is also interesting to note that AMD based systems are more popular
in the student segment, Enthusiast segment in short it is more
appreciated amongst the younger lot.

Most of the younger people who particularly go for AMD generally do
have basic knowledge about computer hardware. Although there are some
people out there who tend to go for AMD because they heard it from
somewhere about the benefits of AMD. Such people might or might not
have sound knowledge of hardware but at the same time they are very
eager to build their own system.

Now whenever you build a system based on Athlon XP CPU, the first
problem you encounter is how to safely install the CPU & it’s
Heatsink? If you are not familiar with computer hardware in general.

Hence today let us see how easy it can be to install the CPU and the
heatsink even if you have no prior knowledge. So lets get started,

System Requirements

  • AMD Athlon XP CPU
  • Compatible motherboard
  • Screw driver
  • Thermal Paste
  • Cleaning Tissue paper [might come handy]

Getting started

The socket:

Lets take a look at how the actual Socket on the motherboard looks like. By the way AMD Athlon XP CPUs are based on ‘Socket A’

Installing the CPU

Now lets get to the actual job.

As shown in the below figure, remove the locking lever adjacent to the
socket. The CPU cannot be fitted into the socket before the lever is
unlocked and raised fully.

Now lets see how the lever should look like once it is raised fully,

To verify whether you have raised the lever properly or not there is a
simple way to do so. The lever when raised fully makes an angle of 90
degrees with the socket as shown in the figure.

Once the lever is opened, it is time to seat the CPU in the socket

Please observe carefully where the golden arrow on the cpu is situated.
Once you locate this then you align the cpu as shown in the figure
above. Just release the cpu and it will effortlessly seat in the socket
as it is ZIF [Zero Insertion Force] socket mechanism. This means that
you are not supposed to exert any force to seat the cpu properly. If it
doesn’t seat properly, the pins on the cpu are bent. Do not exert force
on the cpu in order to fit it in the socket, immediately remove the cpu
and see which pins are bent. Straighten them with help of a nose plier
& then seat the cpu.

Here is a picture showing the cpu seated properly in the socket,

Once the cpu is properly seated we need to lock it in the socket. To do
this simply we have to lower the locking lever. Lets see how to do it.

Lower the lever till you don’t feel and hear the locking of the lever.
Here is a picture showing the cpu firmly seated in the socket and the
lever locked,

Once this is done the cpu is firmly seated in the socket. Now you can
apply thermal paste on the core.

After doing this we have to fit the Heatsink.

While installing the Heatsink you need to be very careful
especially in the case of Athlon XP cpus. I am saying this because
these cpus have the main core open unlike those found in Intel Pentium
4 or the new AMD Athlon 64, where there is a metal heatspreader which
acts as a protection for the core too.

Please remember NOT to install the heatsink in any other way but
vertically. Do not keep the heatsink on the cpu in slanting position.
This might cause damage to the cpu core hence making them unfunctional.

Ok lets see how to install the heatsink,

If you observe the picture above you will see that on the heatink there
is an offset. This is meant for adjusting the level with the socket.
Where the exact adjustment is needed is shown in the figure by the 2
red arrows. Once you align the heatsink properly with the socket, place
it on the cpu in exactly vertical direction. Keep it gently over the cpu.

Now you have to firmly fix it to the socket. Lets see how to do it,

As shown in the above figure match the notches on the socket and the
holes in the retention clip. Once it is aligned, insert them
properly. Push the clip a little bit so that all the notches and holes
are locked properly into each other.

Now comes the tricky part.

Finalizing the heatsink installation. If you have observed carefully
you will notice that there are similar looking 3 holes on the other
side of the clip too. There is a minor difference though. There is an
arrangement over the holes to insert the screw driver in order to press
it to fix it firmly.

Lets see how to do it,

As mentioned above there is an arrangement for inserting the screw driver.

Here too follow the same procedure, align the holes and the notches
properly. Now once this is done, we need to push the clip downwards so
that it locks firmly in the socket notches.

For doing this insert a flat headed screw driver of appropriate size
and then press it downwards till holes are perfectly aligned with the

Once this is done push the clip towards the socket. The holes will get locked with the notches as shown below,

Once this done the Heatsink is properly fixed on the socket and the cpu. It should look like this,

Now your CPU & Heatsink are properly installed and you are ready to proceed with building the remaining system.

Best of Luck.


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