GuidesWikiWhat Is A CPU Socket?

What Is A CPU Socket? [Explained]

A CPU socket, or a CPU slot, is a mount on computer motherboards that allows data and power transfer between the motherboard and CPU.

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With Intel and AMD releasing more and more powerful CPUs nearly every year, new sockets are also introduced to accommodate these CPUs. But what exactly are CPU sockets, and how do they work? Read on to find out.


Key Takeaways

  • A CPU socket (or CPU slot) is a mount that houses the CPU and allows the CPU to communicate with the motherboard. 
  • There are three types of CPU sockets: LGA, PGA, and BGA. 
  • Sockets are named LGA #, PGA #, and BGA #, with # referring to the number of pins, holes, or solder balls.

What Are CPU Sockets?

A CPU socket, or a CPU slot, is a mount on computer motherboards that allows data and power transfer between the motherboard and CPU. CPU sockets allow easy installation of CPUs without soldering, allowing you to replace them easily. [1]

How Do CPU Sockets Work?

A CPU socket contains pins or holes on which the CPU is placed and a latch or a lever to lock the CPU in place. The CPU is placed on the socket, and the retention bracket is then placed over the CPU, and the lever is locked in place, allowing contact between the CPU and the socket.[2]

AM5 Socket
AMD AM5 LGA 1718 Socket (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Types Of CPU Socket

There are three types of CPU sockets: LGA, PGA, and BGA:

  • LGA Sockets: In LGA (Land Grid Array) sockets, the metal pins are located on the socket on the motherboard. The CPU has flat electric contact pads that connect to these pins. The primary advantage of LGA sockets is higher pin density and less cost[3].
  • PGA Sockets: In PGA (Pin Grid Array) sockets, the pins are placed on the CPU, and the socket has holes with which the CPU aligns. PGA pins are thicker, more rigid, and easier to repair. The downside is that pin damage can be costly[4]
  • BGA Sockets: The solder balls used in this design are arranged in a grid-like pattern and are placed on a chip carrier. However, as you may have guessed, it involves soldering the CPU on the socket. The advantages of BGA sockets include less heat conduction and space taken, plus better electricity conduction. Its disadvantages are difficult installation, and the solder balls used in BGA sockets are not very flexible[5].

 

Intel And AMD Sockets

Here’s a list of the most recent mainstream sockets from both CPU manufacturing giants:

Manufacturer Socket Supported CPU Lineups Supported Chipsets
Intel LGA 1700
Intel LGA 1200
  • 11th Gen
  • 10th Gen
  • H510, B560, H570, Q570, W580, Z590, 
  • H410, B460, H470, Q470, W480, Z490
Intel LGA 1151
  • 9th Gen
  • 8th Gen
  • 7th Gen
  • 6th Gen
  • H110, B150, Q150, H170, Q170, Z170
  • B250, Q250, H270, Q270, Z270, X299
  • H310, B360, B365, Q370, Z370, Z390
AMD AM5 (LGA 1718) Ryzen 7000-Ryzen 9000 Series (Expected) B650, B650E, X670, X670E
(so far)
AMD AM4 (PGA 1331) Ryzen 1000-Ryzen 5000 Series
AMD AM3+ (PGA 942)
  • Opteron
  • FX
  • Phenom II
  • Anthlon II
  • Sempron
970, 980G, 990X, 990FX

 

Related Helpful Resources By Tech4Gamers:

References:

  1. . What is a CPU Socket? Retrieved from: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/2857/central-processing-unit-socket-cpu-socket
  2. Universitas Ubudiyah Indonesia. CPU Socket. Retrieved from: https://wiki.edunitas.com/IT/en/114-10/Socket_18123_eduNitas.html
  3. Matthew S. Smith. Intel LGA Socket Explained. Retrieved from: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000056725/processors.html
  4. TE Connectivity. PGA SOCKETS. Retrieved from: https://www.te.com/usa-en/products/connectors/sockets/ic-sockets/pga-sockets.html?tab=pgp-story
  5. PCB Way. Ball Grid Array (BGA). Retrieved from: https://www.pcbway.com/blog/Engineering_Technical/Ball_Grid_Array__BGA_.html
     

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CPU socket of Intel?

Intel has been using the LGA (Land Grid Array) socket design since 2004. The most recent one is LGA 1700, which has 1700 pins.

What is a CPU socket?

A CPU socket or CPU slot is a physical connector that allows the CPU to communicate with the motherboard. It does so through metal pins.

What are the three types of CPU sockets?

The three types of CPU sockets are LGA, PGA, and BGA. In LGA sockets, the pins for power and data transfer are on the motherboard. In PGA sockets, these pins are on the CPU; in BGA sockets, the pins (solder balls) are placed on a chip carrier.

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