Protecting CPU and its Socket on the Intel® Server Board from Damage


Install & Setup



The currently shipping Multi-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor 3000 Sequence-based Servers and Multi-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor 5000 Sequence-based Servers have a similar CPU socket architecture. Intel® Xeon® Processor 3000 Sequence-based servers and server boards are using the LGA775 socket architecture, whereas Intel® Xeon® Processor 5000 Sequence-based servers and server boards have an LGA771 socket implementation.

LGA771 and LGA775 processor sockets on Intel® Server Boards need to be protected from contamination and physical damage at all times, when no CPU is installed in the socket. This protection must also be applied when returning any server boards to Intel under warranty.

LGA771 and LGA775 architectures use contacts, rather than pins. These contacts have to be kept very clean and should never be touched directly. Any contamination should be removed in line with the instructions provided below, to avoid operational problems once the system is built.

Intel® Server Boards ship with a protective plastic cap on the CPU socket(s). These Pick and Place caps (PnP caps) need to be kept after installing the processor, so that - if the CPU should ever be removed in the future - the CPU sockets can be covered to protect them from foreign materials and physical damage. Failure to protect the CPU socket(s) on Intel® Server Boards may cause serious operational issues including system hangs.

socket example 1socket example 2


The same principle applies to Intel® processors in the LGA771 and the LGA775 package. The contacts on the CPU need to be protected at all times to avoid contamination and physical damage if the CPU is not installed in a mother board. Retain the protective cap, called the LAND side cover, which is required if the CPU is removed, or if you have to return a processor to Intel for a warranty replacement.

Intel® processor

protective cap and cpu

Adhere to the following guidelines to keep both, server board sockets and CPUs in their best condition:

  1. Never touch either the gold contacts on the processor or the leads in the sockets.
  2. Always use the proper orientation when inserting the processor into the socket.
  3. Always insert or remove the processor vertically using two hands.
  4. Always replace the PnP cap on the socket and the LAND side cover on the processor when the processor is not in the socket.
  5. Use of a vacuum wand is not recommended for processor insertion. A vacuum wand may be used for processor removal IF the wand is placed at the center of the processor heat spreader and the processor is removed vertically.
  6. Never open the socket when loose, foreign material is present. This includes the thermal interface material on the processor and load plate.
  7. To prevent damage to the plastic legs, do not rest thermal solution on the fasteners.

To remove foreign material (FM) from the processor:

  1. Grasp and hold CPU by substrate edge.
  2. Lint and other loose particulates can be removed using oil-free, low pressure compressed air (follow local safety regulations).
  3. Wet lint-free cloth with IPA and wipe package land pads lightly to remove FM:
    • Limit contact to contaminated area only.
    • Use a dabbing motion to minimize scoring and avoid spreading FM Note: All operations using IPA should be accomplished with latex gloves.
  4. Repeat with a clean cloth each time until no FM is visible(no magnification needed):
    • If cleaning attempt is unsuccessful, the CPU should not be integrated into a motherboard. In some cases, you may be able to request a warranty remedy depending on your warranty terms and conditions.
  5. If FM is Thermal Interface Material (G751) or Flux:
    • Allow package to sit for 5-10 minutes after Step 3.
    • Inspect under 10x magnification.