- LGA and PGA are two different CPU socket types with distinct installation processes and pin locations.
- LGA sockets are used by Intel, while PGA sockets are predominantly used by AMD.
- LGA sockets offer more reliable power supply and are more durable, while PGA sockets are easier to install but more prone to damage.
- The choice between LGA and PGA sockets depends on the CPU manufacturer and user preference, as they do not significantly impact performance.
Which is better: LGA vs. PGA CPU sockets? Both styles of sockets have been in use for a number of years. However, it might not be common knowledge for casual users.
However, there are some very marked differences to note between both socket types. This even extends to their overall impact on a PC build. Users buying pre-builts and laptops will likely never have to contend with a CPU installation.
That said, users looking to build their first PC from scratch benefit from understanding the crucial difference between these CPU sockets. If you’re new to PCs, you’re in the right place. This guide will explore which of these CPU sockets is the choice for your computing needs.
LGA vs. PGA Sockets: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Full Name||Land Grid Array||Pin Grid Array|
|Pin Location||On the socket||On the processor|
|CPUs Supported||Intel, some AMD||Predominantly AMD|
|Installation Process||Users align the pads with the pins on the socket and then lock the CPU in place||Users align the pins on the CPU with the holes in the CPU socket|
|Pin Size||Smaller, more densely packed||Larger, fewer pins present|
|Fragility of the Socket||More durable||Less durable, due to plastic slots for the pins|
|Ease of Repair||Far more complicated, and requires specialists||Can be done with gentle straightening of pins, professional guidance recommended|
|Still in Use?||Yes||Yes|
These are two very different methods of installing a CPU onto a motherboard. That said, there are some benefits to choosing one over the other which will be further explored.
LGA vs. PGA Sockets: What’s the Difference?
Now, before embarking on this shootout, it is important to make one thing clear. There isn’t really an intrinsic benefit in terms of performance between either of these socket types.
Modern AMD and Intel CPUs continue to use them, and benchmarks often show it to be a matter of splitting hairs. Instead, this shootout will look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using either socket for a CPU.
- Intel LGA 1200 socket for 10th Gen Intel processors
- Dual Ethernet with 5Gb and Gigabit Ethernet
- WiFi 6 AX201 (802.11 ax)
- 14+2 power stages
- SupremeFX S1220A codec, DTS Sound Unbound, and Sonic Studio III audio
Installing a CPU on an LGA socket is done by aligning the pins properly with the pads at the bottom of the processor. Pins are mounted on the socket itself. This allows for a denser concentration. It also aids conductivity, allowing for more reliable power supplied.
CPUs are much thinner or smaller for LGA sockets. Installation can be a bit more difficult with an LGA socket. The trade-off is that damaging the CPU isn’t as much of a consideration.
PGA sockets don’t have pins. Pins, instead, are directly mounted to the CPU. This makes for easier installation, as it is just a matter of aligning the pins with the holes. This does make for a thicker and larger CPU.
PGA sockets on average take up far more space than a LGA socket. The CPUs have to be thicker, and there is less reliable conductivity. PGA pins are thicker by design, to aid in installation.
Installing a CPU on a PGA socket is generally easier, but can be prone to damage from misaligning the pins.
In all honesty, both sockets are perfectly stable. The method of installation greatly differs, as stated above. However, this doesn’t give an inherent advantage to one socket type over another.
Some professionals will point to the LGA as the better choice. This is down to the stability of the pins themselves. While the pins are more fragile on an LGA socket, if they are damaged, it is down to simply replacing the motherboard.
The PGA socket’s inherent disadvantage is in the location of its pins. While installation and stability benefit from the larger pins, it’s also its downfall. If you damage the pins on a PGA-compatible CPU, it is a far more expensive replacement.
Both socket types are perfectly stable once installed. There are locking levers and retention plates on modern motherboards to keep things secure.
Really, it’ll come down to what CPU is best for the intended job. Both socket types are stable and field proven.
CPU Types Supported
- Supports AMD Ryzen 5th Gen/ 4th Gen/ 3rd Gen/ 2nd Gen
- Dual Channel ECC/ Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 2 DIMMs
- Twin 8+2 Phases Digital VRM Solution
- AMD Wi-Fi 6E 802.11ax & BT 5.2
- 2 memory slots
LGA sockets typically are used by Intel. The LGA socket type itself changes and gets revisions with newer generations of Intel processors. That said, you’ll find if you’re considering an Intel i9 or other processor, the motherboard will have an LGA socket.
PGA sockets have typically been the domain of AMD. AMD has previously made processors for the LGA socket type, but contemporary Ryzen processors use PGA.
As stated previously, there isn’t an inherent advantage to either system. You do get more reliable power delivery with LGA, but that won’t make much of a difference with today’s modern processors.
Modern motherboards are available for both socket types and will likely continue to be as long as the x86 architecture is so dominant in the desktop space.
LGA sockets can be more durable. Since the pins are directly mounted on the motherboard, this leads to more robust CPUs. Despite the thinner and smaller CPUs, an LGA socket doesn’t really have room for damage to the CPU itself. Now, you can certainly bungle an installation, but it is less catastrophic overall.
PGA sockets are more fragile. You have pins directly on the CPU, for starters. These pins can be easily bent or otherwise damaged. The actual nature of the socket is prone to undue damage with clumsy installations.
If you aren’t particularly careful when installing a CPU, you could damage both the socket and processor. This leaves you with a pair of expensive paperweights. There are some advantages to the PGA pin location, however. If you’ve only bent a few, a gentle hand could readily get them straightened out.
LGA vs. PGA Sockets: 6 Must-Know Facts
- LGA sockets have pins mounted on the motherboard.
- LGA sockets are predominantly used by Intel processors.
- LGA sockets have a higher concentration of pins on the socket.
- PGA sockets have pins mounted on the CPU.
- PGA sockets are predominantly used by AMD processors.
- PGA sockets have fewer pins, but they are considerably larger.
LGA vs. PGA Sockets: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?
So, which of these sockets is the clear winner? In all honesty, there isn’t a clear winner. CPU sockets don’t really have any bearing on performance. The CPU itself is the deciding factor. Of course, there will always be dedicated users for both Intel and AMD products.
That said, if you’re looking at building a new desktop with an Intel processor, you’re going to be using an LGA socket. AMD users are probably well accustomed to PGA sockets at this point, as well.
Really, it just comes down to user preference on the CPU manufacturer, rather than having a distinct advantage over how the sockets impact performance. That said, the LGA socket is easier to install a CPU on. They are less prone to damaging the actual processor.