Desktop Processor Socket Types

Was repairing a PC this week by replacing the processor which blew out on a power surge. There are so many things to talk about on a custom PC build. Today let’s just focus on processors and their physical packaging. Desktop class of processors usually come in 2 physical forms, Land Grid Array(LGA) and Pin Grid Array(PGA). LGAs are commonly seen in Intel Processors while AMD ones prefer PGA. The picture shows an AMD Ryzen 3 Processor with a PGA. It means that the processor contains connectors in the form of pins and on the motherboard socket end(where the processor is placed), contain the negative holes and are locked in place when they match up. Personally, I hate the PGA style of processors as it’s very easy to bend the pins while removing processors and these are quite fragile. Even a single broken/bend pin will render your processor useless. This becomes a problem when you are removing the heatsink/fan and the processor gets almost fused with the thermal paste. Even though the socket is locked you won’t be able to pull out the heatsink without damaging the processor pins.

Intel does this right with an LGA in which on the processor end you have gold plated flat pads and on the motherboard end, you have the connector pins. Now there are chances that the pins on the motherboard can bend with repeated use but usually, motherboards are much cheaper than processors these days even if you ruin them. So this gives the person handling the Intel chips a bit more leeway.

Intel usually names their processor sockets with the name LGAXXXX where XXXX will denote the number of physical pins on the processor. eg. LGA1150, LGA1700 etc whereas currently, AMD keeps the name constant as AM4(For most of their current processors with 1331 pins), with AM5 sockets coming out soon. For their server class of processors, the socket is called TR4(Thread Ripper). Hopefully, this will help you on your next custom PC build and all these names and sockets start to make sense.

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