Boxed Processor

What Does Boxed Processor Mean?

A boxed processor is a CPU that is sold by a manufacturer to be installed by a consumer, usually as part of a self-assembled computer system. The term comes from the fact that these CPUs are sold in boxes that include the CPU along with a heat sink, fan and a set of installation instructions.


Techopedia Explains Boxed Processor

A boxed processor is a CPU that, as the name suggests, is sold in a box. These CPUs are marketed to system builders that install the CPUs into their own machines themselves. The box typically includes the CPU as well as the fan/heat sink assembly. The heat sink and fan may already be attached to the CPU or the customer might have to attach it manually. The CPU/heat sink combination also typically comes with installation instructions.

Boxed processors are distinguished from “tray processors” that are intended for OEMs or computer system manufacturers. The term derives from the plastic trays these processors come in. While boxed processors are marketed to enthusiasts who like to build their own systems, many generally prefer tray processors because they allow for more customization, such as liquid cooling systems. System builders also perceive tray processors to have higher quality components than boxed processors.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.