A Guide to Popular Types of Motherboard Sockets – 2021 Overview

Austin
| Last Updated: April 2, 2021

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Each motherboard has a socket with pin arrays that connect to the processor (CPU). However, the CPU socket has to be compatible with the new CPU's mounting holes. If the socket pin array isn’t compatible with your new CPU, you can't use it. Oops!

To successfully upgrade your CPU, you first have to research which CPU models are compatible with your motherboard socket.

This article explores the different motherboard socket types you can use with various high-end processors for optimum performance.

Top 6 Motherboard Socket Types

Here are the most common motherboards you will see:

1. Most Repairable Motherboard Socket: PGA Socket

Photo Credit: PCGearLab.com

PGA sockets have zero insertion force advantage, which means that they have holes to secure the CPU, while the CPU in turn holds the Pins. 

Therefore, the motherboard does not get damaged if the CPU pins are misaligned. Its bent pins also have better repairability in case such bending happens.  

2. Best Motherboard Socket for Smaller Chips: SPGA Socket

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com

An SPGA socket (staggered pin grid array socket) is an integrated circuit socket with intersecting squares with a staggered pin array surrounding it. 

With closer pins, you can have better transfer capacity on a smaller microchip. It is suitable for devices that require a higher pin density.

3. Motherboard Socket With Better Cooling Techniques: PPGA socket

A Plastic Pin Grid Array is an Intel microchip design with the microchip's silicon core facing down the computer's motherboard. 

A heat slug covers the silicone core to help it dispose of heat to a heatsink. This chip includes 370 pins plugging into the motherboard socket's 370 connectors.

4. Most Recently Invented Motherboard Socket: uPGA

Photo Credit: CPU-World.com

This is the Micro Pin Grid Array, the latest pin packaging approach innovation. It is the most suitable CPU for the thin and light layouts of mobile notebook devices. 

5. Easy-to-Upgrade Motherboard Socket: FCBGA Socket

Photo Credit: Newegg.ca

FCBA is another chipset design from Intel whose chips have processor cores facing away from the motherboard. 

It supports CPU upgrades because it uses a Zero Insertion Feature, making it removable.  You can only use this microprocessor if your motherboard supports VRM specifications. 

6. Easy-to-Use Motherboard Socket: LGA Socket

Photo Credit: PCGearLab.com

Instead of pins being on the CPU, LGA sockets have pins on the motherboard that match and connect to the CPU's flat metal pad surface. Therefore, you can handle the CPU with a little more liberty without the fear of breaking the pins on the CPU. 

Conclusion

Different types of motherboard sockets exist to fit different generations of CPUs. For every new CPU, overhaul comes the need to use a new compatible socket.

In addition to determining which CPU models, you can fit on your motherboard, these different socket types have unique characteristics like repairability or cooling. If you want a specific socket type, research which CPUs are compatible before selecting your motherboard.

People Also Ask

Since motherboard sockets are complex PC components to shop for, you need a bit of background knowledge to get one that will serve you best. 

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions that can help you during your purchase.

What Socket Does My Motherboard Have?

You can check the socket your motherboard uses by checking your laptop's bottom for a model number and running it on the gigabytes site. 

You can also go to the CPU-Z website and download CPU-Z and check the first tab for your computer's CPU version and the processor socket. 

Photo Credit: PCInside.info

What Is the Most Common CPU Socket?

Modern CPU sockets are usually produced by Intel or AMD. The Intel LGA socket is the most common because it has pins on the CPU, which makes the motherboard more durable and cheaper.

It is also safer to use because the pins are denser and more comfortable to bend.

Will an i7 Fit In an i5 Socket?

Yes, but only if they use the same socket connector. A core i7 socket can have the same socket connector as an i5 and would fit in an i5 socket.

What is the Difference Between Ball-Grid Array and Pin-Grade Array?

BGA is not a socket, but a permanent feature that embeds in motherboards making CPU upgrades difficult.

On the other hand, PGA is a socket with a grid of contact pins that stick out from its underside. You can mount and remove this socket on the CPU, making CPU upgrades possible.

What Does ZIF Socket Mean?

ZIF socket (Zero Insertion Force socket) is a socket type that allows you to let a chip into a microprocessor with zero insertion force. 

Unlike sockets with tight-fitting connectors, the ZIF socket has levers that open and close such that you can easily drop the chip in, holding the microprocessor in place.

How Many Pins Do Motherboard Sockets Have?

The number of pins on a socket's fan header varies by the CPU socket type. This is because modern CPU motherboards require up to thousands of connections to transfer data a billion times a second to other systems. 

The number of pins in a CPU chipset determines the number of pins a motherboard socket should have. This number ranges from hundreds to thousands and is usually denoted by the number against the motherboard name. For instance, the LGA 1151 has 1151 pins and would be compatible with an 1151-pin motherboard socket.

What's The Difference Between AMD and Intel Sockets?

Although both AMD and Intel are two significant chipmakers, they use varying and incompatible sockets. 

An Intel socket is named after the number of pins. For instance, an 1155 intel CPU chip is compatible with an intel socket that has 1155 pins. 

In contrast, each AMD socket is numbered sequentially using AM and FM. 

What Is a Dual Socket Motherboard?

A dual-socket motherboard is one with two separate sockets for the CPU. This feature allows the computer to use two CPUs on one board simultaneously. 

For this reason, you have the advantage of a higher number of cores that allow for better multitasking and optimum computing power.

What Is a 4 Socket Motherboard?

Also known as a quad-socket motherboard, a four-socket motherboard is a one with four CPU slots.

With four slots, you have more memory and CPU power that reduce operational costs and increase the capacity for CPU innovations.

Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.