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Its been a while since I installed a CPU. Used to be they had pins on the chip the went into the motherboard. Am I seeing this right? Are the pins now on the motherboard and the CPU just has contacts?

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Although you've already received some good responses. I just wanted to note that the chips you're referring to are the Core i series processors from Intel. It is important to say "Core i" as it might otherwise be confused with the IBM iSeries midrange computer systems. (Similar to as how PS/2 and PS2 are distinct, one being a computer and a video gaming system) –  ewindisch Jan 13 '11 at 1:14

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Yes, you are seeing this correctly. As supported by this website, the i7 series of processors have no pins on the processor, they are actually on the motherboard. They do this to help protect the pins so that people are less likely to bend the pins. But unfortunately it is still just as fragile as before. If you accidentally drop the CPU on the pins or touch the pins a little too rough, you will have to replace your motherboard. Also, if you touch the gold connectors on the processor, the oils can damage the processor. They have been doing this for server motherboards and processors for a while lately.

Here is a couple of picture which can be found at pcstats.com alt text alt text

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Thank you very much! –  Tim Jan 13 '11 at 1:01
    
I'm still editing. :) I just wanted to make sure my answer got in first because I enjoy talking about things this so much. –  David Jan 13 '11 at 1:03
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I'd say that pins are now even more fragile that before. It's just harder to access them. –  AndrejaKo Jan 13 '11 at 1:06
    
+1 @Andrejako. I would have to agree, but the initial design was to help from damaging them as it is easy to bend a pin when pulling the processor out of the socket. Now you just have connections sitting on top of pins. The design is still fragile which I explained in my answer. I was just to let people know the reason for the new design. Logically, if you are a computer architect, it seems that it would be a better design. :) –  David Jan 13 '11 at 1:10
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@David I agree. –  AndrejaKo Jan 13 '11 at 1:14

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