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LGA Vs. PGA Sockets: Which Is Better & Why?

In our LGA Vs. PGA Sockets guide, we are going to compare both Sockets in detail and help you make the right decision.

It has been a long debate among PC enthusiasts on which CPU socket is the best. Therefore we at Tech4gamers will provide you with an in-depth analysis of LGA Vs. PGA Sockets. The Socket is the physical spot where the CPU may be installed on a computer. Since CPU sockets have minimal impact on performance, they are seldom mentioned. Moreover, it provides a standard shape for all processors of a particular generation.


Key Takeaways

  • Over the last decade, AMD and Intel have been the two market leaders in CPUs. Customers constantly argue about which side has superior technology in their products.
  • LGA Vs. PGA Sockets are complete opposites of one another. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of them. LGA is a CPU socket with pins. In contrast, PGA arranges the Processor’s pins to fit correctly into a socket with correspondingly positioned slots.
  • Since the LGA socket’s contact pins are located on the motherboard socket, it provides a more long-lasting CPU. However, since the pins for the PGA socket are integrated into the CPU, the motherboard is more robust.
  • Breaking a CPU’s pins may be more costly than breaking the motherboard’s. A CPU may cost twice as much as a motherboard or even more.
  • The many reasons that Intel shifted to LGA was how less risky it is to harm the CPU physically on LGA sockets. There are no fragile pins, as the CPU is often one of the more expensive components we cannot take any risks.
  • PGA Sockets are also referred to as zero insertion force sockets. This means that absolutely no force should be applied to the Socket while inserting them.

What Are CPU Sockets?

Those who have looked for a new computer processor and motherboard have likely come across phrases like “sockets”, “LGA1200”, and “AM4 socket,” among others. Sockets are the mechanical and electrical components that link processors to the motherboard of computers.

These sockets allow us to swap out the CPU with a newer one while keeping the same motherboard. When it comes to the motherboard, the Processor’s mounting style is determined by the surface mount technology used, and both LGA and PGA Sockets fall into that category.

Aorus Pro AX
Aorus Pro AX – Image Credits [Tech4Gamer]
Land Grid Array (LGA) and Pin Grid Array (PGA) are abbreviations for two types of Sockets. The pins of PGA CPUs allow them to connect to the motherboard, whereas LGA CPUs rely on flat surface connections.

There are benefits and drawbacks to the methods used by various manufacturers. The design of the CPU socket on the motherboard is also affected by the surface mounting style of the CPU. Both Intel and AMD are well-known for producing high-quality CPU processors. Also, make sure to check out our guide on the best B650 motherboards

A CPU socket is required for a processor to communicate with the motherboard. The CPU socket is generally located on the motherboard of modern computers. There have been many variations on the CPU socket over the years, such as slot-mounted processors, which are now inserted like a PCI card. Nowadays, you place the CPU further into the Socket on the motherboard and latch it into place.

CPU sockets have been around for decades. The Intel 386, the company’s first mainstream microprocessor, utilized a 132-pin PGA socket. Socket 4 and later Socket 5 were adopted by the original Intel Pentium CPU. There is a lack of widespread CPU sockets. Intel and AMD have developed CPUs with different pin configurations, resulting in sockets that are not entirely pin-compatible with many processors. 

Over the last decade, AMD and Intel have been the two market leaders in CPUs. Customers constantly argue about which side has superior technology in their products. When comparing AMD and Intel, one of the most hotly contested standards is the CPU socket type: LGA and PGA. As a result, you’ve come to the perfect spot if you’re contemplating an upgrade or a first-time purchase of a CPU and can’t decide between the two. 

Different Types Of CPU Sockets

Every few years, new CPU designs emerge with a new set of criteria, including size, form, and motherboard compatibility. Additionally, AMD and Intel are the two primary x86 CPU manufacturers. AMD and Intel CPUs have incompatible processing designs, making interoperability difficult.

The preceding assertion was not always accurate. If you were fortunate enough to buy a high-end Socket 7 motherboard in the early days of computing, you could utilize an Intel processor with AMD on the same board. Although dual-CPU motherboards still exist, none support AMD and Intel simultaneously.

It’s important to have the right CPU socket for your computer’s Processor. Unfortunately, none of them includes Universal CPU support. The socket type is crucial since it is what supports the CPU and is connected to the motherboard. The LGA uses strictly categorized sockets. The amount of pins in an LGA socket determines its name. This ensures compatibility with a CPU that has matching socket pins.

A particular CPU socket may support numerous CPU revisions, so prepare accordingly. As an alternative, AMD prefers to give its sockets names like AM4 and so on. If there are updates every so often, they won’t neglect backwards compatibility. It’s available with a “+” symbol for a more enhanced version. For the sake of optimal performance, the CPU socket is a crucial component in the overall configuration of your computer.

LGA Vs. PGA Sockets

Showing the scenario where the pins are situated is the easiest approach to compare both kinds of sockets. Both are complete opposites of one another. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of them.

LGA is a CPU socket with pins. In contrast, PGA arranges the Processor’s pins to fit correctly into a socket with correspondingly positioned slots. LGA sockets are used by Intel CPUs, while AMD CPUs use PGA sockets in the present age of computing.

However, the most recent Ryzen series has shifted towards the LGA Socket. This generalization is not without exceptions. The gigantic AMD Threadripper, for instance, uses the LGA socket known as Socket Threadripper 4.

Previous Intel CPUs, including the Pentium series, utilized the PGA socket. When compared to LGA sockets, PGA ones tend to break easily. It is vulnerable to damage, which might render the CPUs useless. LGA socket is a lower-risk alternative.

Since the LGA socket’s contact pins are located on the motherboard socket, it provides a more long-lasting CPU. However, since the pins for the PGA socket are integrated into the CPU, the motherboard is more robust. LGA pins are narrower than PGA pins.

They provide more efficiency concerning the use of available space. When compared to LGA sockets, PGA sockets are easier to install. Although, breaking a CPU’s pins may be more costly than breaking the motherboard’s. A CPU may cost twice as much as a motherboard or even more. If I had to choose between a less durable motherboard and a less durable CPU, I’d prefer to go with the first.

If you are just now getting into PC building, say within the last five years. You may be disappointed if you have followed the standard advice to get an Intel-based system because of its superior performance and widespread adoption. As a result, many users are still unsure about what to do if they want to build a PC using Ryzen components now that AMD is competitive again.

Moreover, the latest Ryzen 7000 series CPUs have changed their focus to the LGA Socket. However, they are still using PGA Sockets for their older CPUs. Since the release of Pentium 4 CPUs in 2004 or thereabouts, Intel has used the LGA Socket as the foundation for all its CPU designs. Conversely, Until the release of their new CPU family, AMD stuck with PGA.

Land Grid Array (LGA)

The acronym “LGA” means “Land Grid Array.” It is fully compatible with Intel chipsets. All Intel motherboards and CPUs use numbered sockets. Typically, Integrated circuits come in LGA, a surface-mounting packaging standard. In contrast to PGA, it relies on contact pins mostly on the motherboard socket rather than the chip itself.

Gigabyte Z690 Aero G LGA Socket – Image Credits [Tech4Gamer]
This Socket’s flexible pin layout makes it suitable for future usage with various compatible CPUs. There is no risk of damaging the CPU pins since the pins are located on the motherboard. Furthermore, the CPU is safe from harm even if the Socket is dropped or otherwise mistreated. Furthermore, LGA Socket CPU contains no pins.

Instead, it connects to the motherboard’s LGA socket through metal pads. Thanks to the diminutive size of LGA pins, they can provide excellent density in a small footprint. If a pin on this LGA socket breaks accidentally, fixing it might be a hassle. Therefore, the complete CPU socket must be replaced.

The pins need to be precisely positioned, so take your time. Otherwise, the CPU socket will be damaged if pressure is applied without adequate alignment. Because of its denser pin configuration, an LGA socket ensures more consistent connectivity between the CPU and the motherboard.

Intel’s LGA Sockets Compatibility

The LGA pins are located on the motherboard; thus, the CPU has pads with gold plating to make contact with the LGA pins in the CPU Socket. To send both data and power, each pad contacts a single pin. The pins on the CPU may be inserted into a socket. When the installation lever is lifted, the CPU should slide into place without needing to be pushed in. The lever may be lowered again once the CPU is properly locked in. 

Let’s further explore Intel’s preferred Socket, the Land Grid Array (LGA). The Intel naming strategy is simple. LGA, followed by the number of pins in the motherboard sockets or pads on the CPU, which should be the same, is all that’s needed.

Therefore, the bottom of an LGA 1151 contains 1151 connections. And LGA 1700 has connections of 1700. In Intel’s various platforms, removing and installing an LGA CPU requires raising a moment arm or two. The cover opens when the supporting arm is elevated. 

After that, the CPU may be centered by matching the small gold triangle on the CPU’s corner with the corresponding one on the Socket. Now, you may safely insert the Processor by putting it down carefully. The next step is to lower the lid, slide it beneath a catch, and press down on the lever arms to re-insert the CPU into the Socket. Not the simplest approach, but it accomplishes the job.

Among the many reasons that Intel shifted to LGA was how less risky it is to harm the CPU physically on LGA sockets. There are no fragile pins, as the CPU is often one of the more expensive components we cannot take any risks.

Transferring the interface’s most sensitive components to the motherboard, the CPU, requires a difficult job. The number of RMAs returned to motherboard manufacturers has likely increased, but LGA motherboards are very delicate for the Socket or its pins to be damaged. In different terms, your motherboard would be obsolete.

That’s because the pins protruding from a Socket are narrower, flatter, and set at an angle. This allows for some wiggle room during CPU installation. However, the LGA Socket is popular because of its simplicity of installation and repair. Using an aftermarket cooler is made easier by the CPU’s secure placement in the Socket.

Pin Grid Array (PGA)

Let’s get down to the second major part of our LGA Vs. PGA Sockets guide. Nowadays, only AMD chips may use the Pin Grid Array format. However, their era has ended with the new series of Ryzen processors.

Conversely, the PGA socket was used by Ryzen processors of the previous Generation. The difference between this and the LGA socket is that contact pins are located upon that processor chip itself rather than in a separate motherboard socket.

That’s why chips with contact pins beneath them may use it. The PGA socket is the opposite of the LGA socket. However, there might be complications with managing PGA-based CPUs despite their ease of installation into the motherboard. Applying force to a CPU that isn’t properly aligned or bending its pins might cause permanent damage. AMD CPUs are often criticized for relying on the accident-prone PGA architecture.

PGA
Aorus Pro AX PGA Socket – Image Credits [Tech4Gamer]
However, misaligning the CPU will not cause any problems for the motherboard. Using this connection, you can be certain that your CPU will always be securely fastened in its Socket. It is easy to fix the bent pin using a PGA socket. However, Removing the Processor from the Socket is dangerous since the pins may break.

Electrically conductive materials like brass or copper are often used to make PGA sockets. Gold or nickel plating provides further protection against corrosion. Regardless of technical ability, anyone can set up and utilize a PGA socket. Because of this, they are perfect for those who want to speed up their computer’s processing power but don’t want to deal with a difficult installation procedure.

Compared to other IC sockets, PGA sockets are the most durable. There will be less risk of damage or loosening as time goes on. However, It just takes one broken pin to make a whole CPU worthless. Because CPUs are often more costly than motherboards, this might increase the overall cost of utilizing PGA sockets. Replacement of a PGA CPU with broken pins may be more costly than replacing an LGA motherboard socket with broken pins.

AMD’s PGA Socket Compatibility

AMD has previously made CPUs for the LGA socket. While they shifted to LGA 1207 for their 2006 Opteron series, they have mostly used PGA for their consumer components.

Until recently, AMD’s PGA sockets were designated by letters, such as AM3, FM2, and AM4, for older generations of Ryzen processors. Pin counts still allow them for identification. An alternative name for AM4 is PGA 1331. Before proceeding further, make sure to check out the best motherboards for Ryzen 7 7700x

A PGA CPU may be easily installed. It would be best if you mined certain CPU pins. If you can place it, you might avoid bending or touching them. To properly install a CPU into the AM4 Socket, raise the lever solely on a single side and line up the gold triangle on the CPU’s corner with the corresponding triangle on the Socket. From this point on, it ought to fit in without any hassle. Thus, they are also referred to as zero insertion force sockets.

This means that absolutely no force should be applied to the Socket while inserting them. Then, lower the lever, and we’ll be finished. Unlike the LGA standard, the PGA standard does not need a protective cover for the motherboard socket. 

While not as fragile as LGA pins on the motherboard, the pins in this scenario are located on the CPU side. However, they are still vulnerable to damage from incorrect handling because of their open position. Thanks to PGA design, a few bent CPU pins aren’t the world’s end.

However, some difficulties may arise while attempting to remove a PGA CPU due to the thermal paste adhering the CPU towards the CPU cooler.

If the lever arm isn’t elevated, the CPU may be pulled off along with the CPU cooler, removing both from the Socket. Ultimately, with the introduction of the Ryzen 7000 series of CPUs and a new socket called AM5, AMD has shifted its focus from the PGA socket to the LGA standards.

LGA Vs. PGA Sockets: Which One is Better?

The mechanism of connecting the CPU to the Socket distinguishes LGA from PGA. Pins on LGA motherboard sockets link to matching contact pads upon that CPU. In comparison, the pins of a CPU enter into slots in the Socket of a PGA motherboard. Honestly, there isn’t a correct response to the above question.

The benefits and drawbacks of each option are worth considering. Some favour PGA because it’s simpler to realign the CPU’s pins than the LGA connectors on a motherboard.

However, many have strong preferences for one over the other. However, given the benefits of LGA, it has increased pin count and power delivery. Manufacturers will continue using them when necessary; AMD is a good example.

In terms of practicality, the LGA socket is superior. No harm will come to the motherboard from a slightly bent pin. However, LGA for Intel CPUs and PGA for AMD processors must be purchased separately if you currently own or prefer that brand of Processor.

You can’t go wrong with either the LGA or PGA CPU sockets. However, the Socket isn’t the only thing to consider when picking a CPU and motherboard. You will have to choose them according to the desired performance, available budget, and the accessibility of the individual components. Depending on your required processing power, this may steer you to either an Intel LGA socket or an AMD PGA Socket.

Coming Next: Wall-Mounted PC

FAQs

Which one is better, PGA or LGA?

In all honesty, there is no proper response to this. Each option’s advantages and disadvantages are worthy of consideration. Some choose PGA because it is easier to realign the CPU’s pins than a motherboard’s LGA sockets. Many individuals, though, show strong preferences for one over the other. However, given the advantages of LGA, its pin count and power delivery are dramatically superior.

Why did AMD switch to LGA?

The new AM5 Socket, included with Ryzen CPUs, is based on the LGA Socket. With 1718 pins, the new LGA socket from AMD is officially known as LGA1718. Since the LGA Socket offers superior socket delivery and power, AMD was forced to switch to it. The AM5 Socket is AMD’s first LGA offering for enthusiast-level processors. In fact, Intel’s 12th Generation uses a socket that is 18 times less efficient than the LGA 1718.

Is Intel PGA or LGA?

Intel shifted towards the LGA Socket way back in the early days with the Pentium series and, since then, hasn’t looked back. Intel was once the undisputed king of CPU processors because of their enhancements in the LGA Socket. Although, with the recent strategy of AMD shifting towards the LGA Socket, which is more advanced than Intel’s current Generation. The tide has changed, and Intel needs to get up their game.

Why does Threadripper use LGA?

The LGA Socket is superior to the previous AMD PGA socket in terms of pin density, which is why AMD opted to utilize it for Threadripper. Since it makes more power connections, it provides more efficient power. Additionally, there were several reports of CPU pins breaking. Therefore AMD often opts for a more secure design in their flagship chip, which is much more expensive than other CPUs. Because replacing a motherboard is often less expensive.

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Abde Manaf
Abde Manaf
Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.

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