Two of the biggest brands of CPUs, or processors, today are Intel and AMD. To use these CPUs, you need a CPU socket that allows you to install it on the motherboard.
Now there are two kinds of sockets, namely LGA or Land Grid Array and PGA or Pin Grid Array.
Before you decide on what CPU socket to buy, you need to purchase your CPU first. AMD Processors need PGA sockets and Intel CPUs need LGA sockets. Today, we’ll be discussing the difference between LGA vs PGA.
What’s a CPU Socket?
The CPU socket connects the motherboard and the processor and allows the processor to communicate with other parts on the motherboard.
As discussed earlier, we have two sockets for two processors namely the LGA and PGA.
What is Land Grid Array or LGA?
LGA or Land Grid Array is the CPU socket meant for Intel processors. Intel motherboards and Intel CPUs will have LGA sockets like LGA 1156 and LGA 1200. The motherboard’s socket is equipped with contact pins, which is the opposite of PGA sockets.
Why use LGA Sockets?
- You don’t end up damaging the CPU because the LGA pins are on the motherboard. In case you drop the CPU, you won’t damage anything.
- LGA sockets are smaller in size compared to PGA sockets.
Why shouldn’t you use LGA Sockets?
- On the off chance, you break your socket, you’ll need to replace the entire CPU socket.
- Pins on the socket can be easily bent. If you apply pressure without checking the correct alignment of LGA pins and CPU, you’ll end up damaging the former.
How Do You Install a CPU on a Motherboard with Intel LGA Sockets?
Intel uses LGA sockets for all of its processors. You’ll need to use the triangle-shaped pins to connect the motherboard to the processor.
- Open the bracket by using a metal lever
- Align the CPU horizontally, give or take a 2mm allowance for error. Your max drop height should be no more than 4mm.
- Close the bracket with the lever and make sure to lock it in place.
If you want to remove the processor, just release the latch and pick up the CPU from the center using your thumb and first finger.
What is a Pin Grid Array or PGA Socket?
If the Intel CPUs have LGA sockets, AMD CPUs come with PGA sockets. And like Intel, AMD uses PGA sockets for all of their pcoessors. The PGA socket is the opposite of the LGA socket.
Contact pins, or CPU pins, are found on the CPU and not on the motherboard.
Why should you use PGA sockets?
- Hardly any damage in case of misalignment
- Easy to repair bent pins
Why shouldn’t you use PGA sockets?
- CPU might be difficult to remove once installed because the CPU pins might break.
How Do You Install a CPU on a PGA (Pin Grid Array) Socket Motherboard?
- Use a lever to align the processor horizontally. Make room for a 2 mm allowance.
- Use the same lever to lock the processor in place.
If you want to take out the CPU, just release the lever and hold the processor up.
LGA vs PGA – A Brief Comparison
What’s the actual difference between LGA vs PGA aside from their pins? Let’s take a look at these two different CPU sockets:
The LGA socket is a lot more durable than the PGA socket. The chances of you damaging a CPU meant for PGA sockets are higher than damaging a CPU for LGA sockets. LGA sockets have pins on the motherboard, not on the CPU.
LGA pins are smaller than PGA Pins, which is why LGA sockets are more space efficient.
PGA sockets are meant for AMD processors and LGA sockets are meant for Intel CPUs. You really use one for the other socket.
It’s a lot easier to install AMD CPUs because of their PGA sockets compared to LGA sockets.
Are There Other CPU Sockets?
LGA and PGA are the most common CPU sockets, but there are other CPU sockets in the market.
- BGA or Ball Grid Array Socket has copper pads soldering and is a lot more durable than the LGA and PGA sockets combined.
- ZIP or ZIF or Zero Insertion Force socket is similar to the PGA socket. By using a ZIF socket, you don’t have to press hard when installing a CPU and thereby reducing chances of damaging it.
Will Using Different CPU Sockets Matter?
Different CPUs will require different CPU sockets, and sadly, not all of them have Universal CPU compatibility. So what kind of motherboard you’ll purchase will rely on the kind of processor you’re buying.
Does CPU Socket Type Matter?
Different types of computer processors require different types of CPU sockets. Not all of them come with Universal CPU compatibility. A socket type matters extremely as it connects the CPU to the motherboard.
LGA sockets are named based on the number of pins that they have. An LGA1155 means that they have up to 1155 socket pins, so you’ll need a processor that can handle 1155 socket pins. Meanwhile, AMD labels their sockets like AM3 and FM1, along with upgrades such as AM3+. But these upgrades don’t affect compatibility at all.
You also have to remember that a single CPU socket can be compatible with different CPU generations, so an LGA socket will be compatible with old and new Intel CPUs.
LGA vs PGA – Which One’s Better?
Both CPU sockets come with their own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re getting into PC building the first time, the LGA socket types would be safer for you to get your hands dirty with. A bent pin on an LGA socket won’t damage the motherboard permanently.
But on the other hand if you’ve already purchased your parts and you ended up with a PGA socket or AMD processor, well, you’ll just have to be careful.