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Obituary - Slot 1, Slot A, Socket 7, K6, and Baby AT!

Say goodbye to some old "friends":

  • Slot 1 CPUs and motherboards,

  • Slot A CPUs and motherboards,

  • Socket 7/Super7 CPUs and motherboards,

  • Baby AT form factor motherboards and cases, and AT power supplies and keyboards.

They are either dead or pretending not to be.

The Slot 1 processors (Pentium II, Pentium III, and Clereron) have shifted to a Socket 370 configuration.  This was mainly brought about when Intel moved the L2 cache' memory on separate cache' chips, which necessitated the larger Slot 1 package ("toaster"), to the CPU die (chip) itself.  Slot 1 motherboards hang-on in advertisements, etc., but they are essentially dead.

The Slot A CPUs and motherboards are dying in infancy, having been around for less than a year.  Like Intel, AMD is putting the cache' on the CPU die and moving to a Socket A Pin Grid Array (PGA) configuration.

According to estimates by one major Taiwan motherboard manufacturer, AOpen,

"The market share of slot motherboards will reach 30% by the end of the second season [this Summer]; while socket motherboards will completely replace them by the end of the year."

Which is supported the following quote from an AMD News Flash received 6/27/00: 

"Supply for Slot A AMD Athlon(tm) processors is limited. AMD recommends that you place your orders TODAY as we will be ramping up our transition from the Slot A to Socket A infrastructure over the next 1-2 months."

Socket A CPU's are cheaper to make and that is the reason I say Slot A motherboards and CPUs are essentially history right now.  Don't listen to double-speak from anyone trying to unload obsolete Slot A motherboards.

Along with a Socket A Athlon processor, AMD has introduced Athlon's little brother, the Socket A Duron.  This processor is essentially an Athlon on a smaller chip and less cache' on the chip.  The performance of this CPU approaches that of the original Athlon and noticeably exceeds the performance of the AMD's Socket 7 K6-2/3 processors.  The street price of a 600 Mhz Duron is quite close to the 550 Mhz K6-2.  Furthermore, Socket A motherboards will support both Durons and Socket A Athlons.  This provides a very nice upgrade path which was not available to Socket 7 motherboard owners.  The K6-2 and Socket 7 motherboards are therefore dead or will be shortly (in a month or so) when motherboard manufacturers, etc. have unloaded their Slot A boards, and production of the Socket A motherboards ramps-up and prices for them drop, which they will.

The death of the Socket 7 CPU and motherboard marks the inevitable demise of the oldest of these friends, the Baby AT form factor.  Socket 7 CPUs will be in short supply soon.  I have not seen any Socket A Baby AT  motherboards and doubt that any will be made.  There are some Socket 370 Baby AT motherboards, but I believe they will fade with the Socket 7 Baby AT's, as the Duron, which is currently faster than both, comes online.  That essentially pounds the last two nails into this coffin.

The ISA bus still lingers, but its days are growing very short.


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