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topic 41565

Are CPU pins plated or solid gold


Q. Hello, I was wondering if the PINS on a INTEL PENTIUM CPU 478 PIN 1.8 processor are PLATED or SOLID GOLD I'm looking at my question, and thinking NO WAY is it SOLID GOLD, but maybe they are and I would like a definitive answer as to the Content of GOLD on JUST the PINS alone and ONLY a simple PLATED or SOLID answer would be sufficient. Thanks for your time. James

James L. Johansen
- Mpls, Minnesota, USA


A. Only gold plated.

Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor in the 478-Pin Package:
Pin plating consists of 0.2 micrometers Au over 2.0 micrometer Ni (diffusion barrier between Au & the Cu pin).*
Pin diameter is 0.305 (+,-)0.025 mm.
Pin height is 2.030 (+,-)0.080 mm, seated in a solder (either 63/37 or 60/40 tin/lead) ball.

You won't get rich. A quickie calculation yields 0.000176 cc of gold per CPU, worth $0.059 @ $660/troy ounce. It will cost more to separate the gold from the copper, nickel, lead, tin, etc. and dispose of the hazardous waste generated. Also, it is difficult to sell gold w/o having it assayed (perhaps $200 for a one-time test).

*The mPGA478 Socket contains thicker plating (0.76 micron Au); see Appendix Z.2 of the linked document to figure out the geometry.

Ken Vlach
- Goleta, California
contributor of the year honored Ken for his countless carefully
researched responses. He passed away May 14, 2015.
Rest in peace, Ken. Thank you for your hard work
which the finishing world continues to benefit from.


A. Between 50-75 microinches of plated gold.

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York

April 5, 2008

Q. is the cpu itself (not the pins) inside Intel 286-centrino, xeon etc.. looks like gold... is it?

Dave .L.
- Los Angeles, California

April, 2008

A. Hi, Dave. I can't think of anything which is made of solid gold for an engineering purpose. While gold bullion, gold coins, and gold jewelry might be made of solid gold to maximize their intrinsic value, electronics would never involve more gold than a thin plating, with the possible exception of the much-thinner-that-a-hair gold wires from the die to the pins.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 16, 2010

Q. How much gold is in 1 lb. of gold plated test pins? I have about 10 to 15 pounds of them

Terry Simmons
buyer,seller - Dallas, Texas

November 6, 2012

Q. I have an Intel I200 processor with pins. It uses socket 7. I want to know whether it has any gold content? And if yes, approximately how much?

Omkar Potdar
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, INDIA

May 22, 2013

Q. How many grams gold in Intel processor 478 socket with pins, as like 1.5 ghz, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, etc.?

Deepak kumar jha
- Delhi , India

April 28, 2014

Q. What metal is most common used in pins to plate the gold onto and does the base metal make any difference in electronics, other than cost?

Raymond Pace
- Yonkers, New York USA

May 2014

A. Hi Raymond. I think brass and other copper alloys are probably the predominant materials. Different materials have different electrical conductivity, hardness, springiness, heat conductivity, strength, and other properties -- so yes, the material makes a big difference.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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