CPU and Motherboard Compatibility: Why It’s Important and How to Check

AMD Ryzen 7 vs. Intel i7

CPU and Motherboard Compatibility: Why It’s Important and How to Check

Key Points

  • CPU and motherboard compatibility is crucial when building a new computer, as incompatible components will not fit together.
  • Compatibility is determined by the socket type installed on the motherboard, with pin grid arrays (PGA) and land grid arrays (LGA) being the most common.
  • The BIOS version of the motherboard also affects compatibility, and it can be checked by using the command prompt.
  • PC Part Picker is a useful tool for checking compatibility and suggesting compatible parts for your computer build.

Ensuring your components work together is one of the most important things to look for when purchasing parts for a new computer. However, if the pieces of your PC, such as the central processing unit (CPU) and motherboard, don’t fit together, you’re simply out of luck regarding assembly.

Thus, you’ll have no choice but to return whatever items don’t work with the ones you’ve decided are crucial. So, CPU and motherboard compatibility is essential to check before you purchase them.

While many component pairs will fit together in unideal configurations, central chipsets and motherboards are not one of those combinations. So, if your processor and motherboard are incompatible, they will not go together at all. Here’s how to check CPU and motherboard compatibility to ensure your computer assembly will go smoothly.

What Determines CPU and Motherboard Compatibility?

Socket Type

cpu and motherboard compatibility
Pin grid array sockets are one type of CPU socket.

©Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com

Typically, CPU and motherboard compatibility is controlled by the socket installed on the printed circuit board (PCB.) There are three primary interfaces: Pin grid arrays (PGA,) land grid arrays (LGA,) and ball grid arrays (BGA.) 

A pin grid array has a series of pins on the back of the CPU. You must insert the pins on the chip into the port. A land grid array has pins on the motherboard that you must affix to the back of the chipset. Finally, a ball grid array is a surface mount that requires you to solder the processor to the motherboard. Thus, consumer motherboards will typically be an LGA or PGA socket. BGA sockets are uncommon.

However, sockets are not cross-compatible because an LGA port has pins fixed to the motherboard, while a PGA one has pins sticking out of the back of the chip. So, if you buy a motherboard with an incompatible CPU, there is no recourse besides returning one and purchasing a compatible part.

Additionally, the exact configuration of the pins in the socket must be compatible with your processor of choice. Intel and AMD CPUs are not cross-compatible. The two companies use different types of sockets and pin setups. 

However, you can check your CPU and motherboard compatibility by comparing the two sockets. Every chipset and motherboard will be listed along with the socket installed, typically formatted as “LGA/PGA [socket number.]”

BIOS Version

The other factor determining your CPU and motherboard compatibility is the BIOS version. “BIOS” stands for basic input/output system. It’s the firmware providing runtimes for the computer’s operating system. 

When you look at your CPU’s specifications, it will have specs for “Validated BIOS,” “Validated Since BIOS,” or something equivalent. This specification indicates which firmware versions your new chipset will be compatible with, meaning your processor may be compatible with your motherboard, but only if you have the correct version of your motherboard’s runtime services.

Finding Your BIOS Version

The great news is that finding your BIOS version is straightforward. You just need to open the command prompt and input “wmic bios get smbiosbiosversion.” To do this, you can open the command prompt by opening your search menu and then the “Run” program.

Enter the program “CMD.” Alternatively, you can also press “Windows + R” to open the Run dialog. After entering this command, the window will display your firmware version.

cpu and motherboard compatibility
You can access the Run dialog using the Windows Search function.


You can install your CPU with no worries if your chipset is valid for your BIOS version. Otherwise, you’ll have to update your motherboard’s firmware version before you install the processor, or the processor won’t function when you try to turn the computer on.

cpu and motherboard compatibility
You can also access the Run dialog by pressing Windows + R.


You can update your motherboard’s BIOS version by going to the manufacturer’s website and downloading the new version. Then, you just need to install it, and you’re good to go.

cpu and motherboard compatibility
Your BIOS version is accessible through the command prompt.


CPU Socket Cheatsheet

CPU Socket Name
DIPIntel 8086Intel 8088
PLCCIntel 80186Intel 80286Intel 80386
PGA 168Intel 80486AMD 486Cyrix 486
Socket 1Intel 80486AMD 486AMD 5x86Cyrix 486Cyrix 5×86
Socket 2Intel 80486Intel Pentium Overdrive (P24T)Intel DX4AMD 486AMD 5x86Cyrix 486Cyrix 5×86
Socket 3Intel 80486Intel Pentium Overrdrive (P24T)Intel DX4AMD 486AMD 5x86Cyrix 486Cyrix 5x86IBM Blue Lightning
Socket 4Intel Pentium
Socket 5Intel PentiumAMD K5Cyrix 6x86IDT WinChip C6IDT WinChip 2
Socket 6Intel 80486
Socket 463/Socket NexGenNexGen Nx586
Socket 7Intel PentiumIntel Pentium MMXAMD K6
Socket 8Intel Pentium Pro
Slot 1Intel Pentium IIIntel Pentium III
Super Socket 7AMD K6-2AMD K6-IIIRise mP6Cyrix MII
Slot 2Intel Pentium II XeonIntel Pentium III Xeon
Socket 615Intel Mobile Pentium IIIntel Mobile Celeron
Slot AAMD Athlon
Socket 370Intel Pentium IIIIntel CeleronVIA Cyrix IIIVIA C3
Socket A/Socket 462AMD AthlonAMD DuronAMD Athlon XPAMD Athlon XP-MAMD Athlon MPAMD Sempron
Socket 423Intel Pentium 4
Socket 495Intel CeleronIntel Pentium III
Socket 603Intel Xeon
Socket 478/Socket NIntel Pentium 4Intel CeleronIntel Pentium 4 EEIntel Pentium 4 M
Socket 563AMD Athlon XP-M
Socket 604Intel Xeon
Socket 754AMD Athlon 64AMD SempronAMD Turion 64
Socket 940AMD OpteronAMD Athlon 64 FX
Socket 479Intel Pentium MIntel Celeron M
Socket 939AMD Athlon 64AMD Athlon 64 FXAMD Athlon 64 X2AMD Opteron
LGA 775/Socket TIntel Pentium 4Intel Pentium DIntel CeleronIntel Celeron DIntel Pentium XEIntel Core 2 DuoIntel Core 2 QuadIntel Xeon
Socket MIntel Core SoloIntel Core DuoIntel Dual-Core XeonIntel Core 2 Duo
LGA 771/Socket JIntel Xeon
Socket S1AMD Turion 64 X2
Socket AM2AMD Athlon 64AMD Athlon 64 X2
Socket F/Socket L/Socket 1207FXAMD Athlon 64 FXAMD OpteronSocket L only support Athlon 64 FX
Socket AM2+AMD Athlon 64AMD Athlon X2AMD PhenomAMD Phenom II
Socket PIntel Core 2
LGA 1366/Socket BIntel Core i7 900 seriesIntel Xeon 35xx, 36xx, 55xx, 56xx series
Socket AM3AMD Phenom IIAMD Athlon IIAMD SempronAMD Opteron (1300 series)
rPGA 988A/Socket G1Intel ClarksfieldIntel Arrandale
LGA 1156/Socket HIntel Nehalem 1st genIntel Westmere
Socket G34AMD Opteron 6000 series
Socket C32AMD Opteron 4000 series
LGA 1567/Socket LSIntel Xeon 6500/7500-series
LGA 1155/Socket H2Intel Sandy Bridge 2nd genIntel Ivy Bridge 3rd gen
LGA 2011/Socket RIntel Core i7 3xxx Sandy Bridge-EIntel Core i7 4xxx Ivy Bridge-EIntel Xeon E5 2xxx/4xxx Sandy Bridge EP 2/4SIntel Xeon E5-2xxx/4xxx v2 Ivy Bridge EP 2/4S
rPGA 988B/Socket G2Intel Core i7 2000, 3000 seriesIntel Core i5 2000, 3000 seriesIntel Core i3 2000, 3000 series
Socket FM1AMD Llano Processors
Socket FS1AMD Llano Processors
Socket AM3+AMD FX VisheraAMD FX ZambeziAMD Phenom IIAMD Athlon IIAMD Sempron
LGA 1356/Socket B2Intel Xeon E5 1400 & 2400 series
Socket FM2AMD Trinity Processors
LGA 1150/Socket H3Intel Haswell 4th genIntel Haswell RefreshIntel Broadwell 5th gen
rPGA 946B/947/Socket G3Intel Haswell
Socket FM2+AMD KaveriAMD Godavari
Socket AM1AMD AthlonAMD Sempron
LGA 2011-v3Haswell-EHaswell-EP
LGA 1151/Socket H4Intel Skylake 6th genIntel Kaby Lake 7th genIntel Coffee Lake 8th genIntel Coffee Lake Refresh 9th gen
LGA 3647Intel Xeon PhiIntel Skylake-SP
Socket AM4AMD Ryzen 9AMD Ryzen 7AMD Ryzen 5AMD Ryzen 3Athlon 200
Socket SP3AMD Epyc
Socket TR4/Socket SP3r2AMD Ryzen Threadripper
LGA 2066/Socket R4Intel Skylake-XIntel Kaby Lake-XIntel Cascade Lake-X
Socket sTRX4/Socket SP3r3AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3000 series
LGA 4189Intel Cooper LakeIntel Ice Lake-SP
LGA 1200Intel Comet Lake 10th genIntel Rocket Lake 11th gen
LGA 1700Intel Alder Lake 12th genIntel Raptor Lake 13th gen
Socket AM5AMD Ryzen 7000 series
Socket SP5AMD Epyc Genoa
LGA 4677Intel Sapphire Rapids
LGA 7529Intel Sierra Forest

Choosing Components with PC Part Picker

An easier way to check your CPU and motherboard compatibility is to use PC Part Picker, every computer builder’s best friend. This tool lets you input your desired parts and suggest compatible parts for your machine. If you choose incompatible components, the program will flag it and let you know in advance. This way, you can change the pieces you buy to ensure they all fit together smoothly.

cpu and motherboard compatibility
PC Part Picker makes checking CPU and motherboard compatibility easy!


Frequently Asked Questions

Are all CPUs compatible with all motherboards?

Not all CPUs are compatible with all motherboards. Aside from Intel and AMD CPUs not being natively cross-compatible, CPU sockets are only compatible with certain generations of CPUs.

What are the different CPU sockets?

There are three different CPU sockets: pin grid arrays, land grid arrays, and ball grid arrays.

Are PGA and LGA sockets compatible?

PGA and LGA sockets have pins in different places and are not cross-compatible.

What are BGA sockets?

BGA sockets are uncommon CPU sockets requiring soldering of the CPU to the motherboard. Since they’re not usually user-replaceable, they’re not as commonly used in consumer products.

What’s the easiest way to test CPU and motherboard compatibility?

CPU and motherboard compatibility can be tested easily using PC Part Picker.

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