A Socket 478 heatsink is a device used to cool down processors compatible with a central processing unit (CPU) socket called Socket 478, or Socket N. This is a socket that semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corporation primarily introduced in 2002 for connecting its Pentium 4 chips to the motherboard of personal computers (PCs). The Socket 478 heatsink is designed to transfer heat from the CPU into the atmosphere. As a result, the computer chip has a cooler temperature, and that reduces the risk of malfunction. Although Intel makes the Socket 478 heatsink, other computer product companies such as Taiwan-based ASUSTeK Computer Incorporated, Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. and Thermaltake produce it, too.
The design of Socket 478 itself permits the introduction of a heatsink. This particular CPU socket uses a form factor standard called flip-chip pin grid array (FCPGA). This means that the processor’s die, or the piece of semiconductor material that the manufacturer places in the chip’s core(s), is flipped to expose its back, which is the hottest part of the component. This way, a heatsink can be placed on it to cool it down.
The typical Socket 478 heatsink is made of aluminum, with a black plastic fan placed on top of it. Depending on the manufacturer, the speed and size of the fan, as well as the air flow and noise level, varies. For instance, the Thermaltake A4012-02’s fan spins at 2,500 revolutions per minute (rpm) and has an 3.15-inch (80-millimeter) diameter; the air flow is 32.4 cubic feet per minute (CFM), and the noise level is 21 decibels (dBA). By comparison, the ASUS 19437-PB’s fan spins at 5,400 rpm and measures 2.75 inches (67 mm) in diameter; the air flow is 31.96 CFM, and the noise level is 37 dBA. Each Socket 478 heatsink has a three-pin connector for attachment to the motherboard.
The Intel Pentium is not the only type of processor that the Socket 478 heatsink works with; it is also compatible with other Intel CPU brands. Other processors include the low-end Intel Celeron, with a 1.7-to-2.8-GHz processing speed range; the 3.2-to-3.4-GHz Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, which was marketed as the enthusiast-driven version of the Pentium 4; and the 2.13-to-3.2-GHz Celeron D, a slightly spruced-up edition of the Celeron. Each Socket 478-compatible CPU has a data transmission speed of 400, 533 or 800 million transfers per second (MT/s).