LGA vs PGA – CPU Socket Types Explained

LGA and PGA CPU Sockets
Photo from Prohardver.hu

For the past decade, there are two major industry leaders in the CPU market, AMD and Intel. Customers always compare their technologies used in products, arguing which side is better. One of the most debatable standards between AMD and Intel is the CPU socket type – Land Grid Array (LGA) vs Pin Grid Array (PGA).

PGA – mainly used by AMD now

LGA and PGA CPU Sockets
Photo from HWSW

AMD has been using Pin Grid Array (PGA) after the socket G34 in 2010. The latest Ryzen processors are still using PGA with the AM4 socket. However, AMD’s upcoming Threadripper and EPYC processors are going to use on a brand new¬†LGA 4094 socket (TR4/SP3).

For Pin Grid Array, the contact pins are on the CPU, while the socket on the motherboard contains holes to secure the CPU. This kind of socket is known as zero insertion force socket, which means the CPU will be able to drop in without any pressure.

LGA – mainly used by Intel

LGA and PGA CPU Sockets

Since Socket J (LGA 771) in 2004, Intel has been using Land Grid Array for more than one decade. All its processors, from Core i7 to the Pentium/Celeron, uses the same LGA socket. The current 7th generation CPUs use LGA 1151 socket, which there are 1151 contact pins on the socket.

In fact, Land Grid Array is essentially the direct opposite of PGA. All the contact pins are on the socket, soldered to the motherboard. Instead, equal numbers of contact pads are on the CPU to make connection.

Comparison – LGA vs PGA

You may be wondering which CPU socket type is better. The answer is NO. There is no definite answer about choosing LGA or PGA sockets.

Advantages of LGA socket:
  • The processors are less likely to be damaged by mishandling and drops, because of no fragile pins. (More Durable CPU)
  • LGA pins are smaller in physical¬†size, allowing for more pins in the same amount of space. (More Space Efficient)
Advantages of PGA socket:
  • The motherboard can hardly be damaged by CPU misalignment. (More Durable Motherboard)
  • It is much easier to repair bent pins on a PGA processor than on a LGA motherboard. (Slightly Better Repairability)

In conclusion, both LGA and PGA sockets have their respective pros and cons. I personally prefer using LGA socket because of its ease of use. Although a slightly bent pin will mean the motherboard is toasted, it can be avoided by being extra careful.

What is your choice then, LGA or PGA?

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