Types of CPU Sockets, like LGA, PGA, BGA Explained.

Do you ever look into the details of your computer’s processor, wondering what is involved in making it work? Maybe you have heard of Intel and AMD sockets but don’t understand the specifics. Have no fear!

This post will offer a comprehensive breakdown of CPU socket types, so that by the end, you’ll be an expert on LGA, PGA, ZIF, and BGA – as well as Intel versus AMD socket varieties.

Read on to learn more about CPU sockets and how understanding them can help get the most performance out of your hardware!

3 Main Types of CPU Sockets

1. LGA (Land Grid Array) Socket:

types of cpu sockets

The LGA socket is a type of surface-mount technology (SMT) that consists of an array of pins on the underside of the processor chip. These pins are designed to fit into a set number of holes inside the motherboard’s CPU socket. This allows for a very reliable connection between the two components, and it also makes it easier to troubleshoot any potential problems.

It has a pin grid made up of small holes or pins that connect to the processor’s internal contacts. The number of pins largely depends on the manufacturer; Intel typically uses 775, 1155, 1150, 1151 and 2066 pins while AMD currently only offers 438 and 1331-pin sockets. 

2. PGA (Pin Grid Array) Socket:

types of cpu sockets

Unlike LGA sockets, PGA have their contacts located on the upper side instead, with small metal pins sticking out from them. These pins must be inserted into corresponding holes in the motherboard’s CPU socket in order to make contact and create a secure connection.

PGA is different from LGA in that it has actual pins that protrude outwards rather than holes into which pins can be inserted. Both Intel and AMD use this type of socket; Intel currently uses 370 and 478 pins while AMD offers 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM3+, and FM1 sockets.

PGA sockets also have an external heat spreader (IHS) which helps dissipate thermal energy from the processor so that it doesn’t overheat. This socket is typically used by type of processors from Intel and AMD in combination with their respective chipsets. 

3. BGA (Ball Grid Array) Socket:

BGA sockets are a type of SMT that uses an array of balls (small, convex metal bumps) to connect the processor to the motherboard. The balls are placed on the underside of the processor and fit into small indentations in the motherboard’s CPU socket, creating a secure connection.

Intel currently offers BGA1364 and BGA1224 sockets while AMD has their FS1b socket. Unlike LGA and PGA sockets, BGA cannot be installed or removed by hand; instead, it requires special tools for installation as well as a specialized rework station for removal. This type of socket is typically used by low-power mobile processors due to its low pin count and smaller size.

ZIF (zero insertion force)

ZIF socket

In addition to LGA and PGA varieties, there are also ZIF (zero insertion force) and BGA (ball grid array) types. ZIF is usually used with Intel processors, as it features a lever that locks the processor into place without requiring you to press down on it very hard.

Intel vs AMD sockets

When it comes to CPUs, Intel and AMD processors have different types of sockets. Intel currently offers LGA 775, 1150, 1151, 2011-3, and 2066 socket varieties while AMD uses AM4, TR4/sTRX4, sTR4 and FM2+, among others.

As far as performance is concerned, Intel sockets are typically more reliable than their AMD counterparts due to the company’s larger engineering budget. However, AMD has made significant strides in recent years with their new Zen architecture and Ryzen series of processors that offer excellent performance at a much lower price point.

The main difference between Intel and AMD sockets is that Intel uses a land grid array (LGA) socket while AMD uses a pin grid array (PGA) socket. With an LGA socket, there are tiny contact points on the bottom of the processor that make contact with tiny contact points on the motherboard VRM. With a PGA socket, there are pins on the bottom of the processor that fit into holes in the motherboard.

Socket Compatibility Differences between Intel & AMD CPUs

types of cpu sockets

Although Intel and AMD sockets may look similar, they are not interchangeable. This is because the pins or balls on the processor are in different locations depending on the manufacturer. As such, you must ensure that your CPU and motherboard have compatible sockets before attempting to install them together.

Intel CPUs use a Land Grid Array (LGA) socket with a set of holes into which matching pins from the processor can be inserted for a secure connection. AMD processors feature either PGA (Pin Grid Array) or BGA (Ball Grid Array) sockets that contain sets of pins or balls instead, making it impossible for Intel processors to fit inside an AMD motherboard and vice versa.

You should also bear in mind that some processor models in older microcomputers may require additional components, such as a backplate or risers, to fit securely into the motherboard socket.


Overall, it is to check that your CPU and motherboard importantly have compatible sockets before attempting any installation. While Intel and AMD processors may look similar on the outside, they feature different pin or ball configurations that prevent them from being connected to each other’s motherboards.

In order to get the most out of your hardware setup it’s important to match up the right CPU socket type with the right motherboard.

It’s also important to make sure that your processor and motherboard are compatible with each other before making a purchase, as the wrong combination could cause serious damage to your components.

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