What CPU Is Compatible With My Motherboard

What CPU Is Compatible With My Motherboard

What CPU is compatible with my motherboard? This is the question that everyone who had to upgrade his or her CPU or building from scratch ask.

If it’s been a while since you rode the CPU upgrade train, or you are simply a newbie who is just about to begin this journey, you will probably want to know what CPU is compatible with your motherboard.

Matching a CPU with a motherboard can be easy or tricky. You need to be very careful when making the selection process as it is essential for your PC’s system to work properly. In this article, I will show you how to find or check if a certain CPU is compatible with your motherboard or not.

What CPU Is Compatible With My Motherboard

If you want to upgrade your computer and want to know what CPU is compatible with your motherboard or not, first look at the socket details.

Many CPU manufacturers (Intel, AMD) produce CPUs with similar names. These names may not be unique and may give a user the impression that they are compatible when they actually are not.

Socket type is one of the most important specifications that you should consider when you upgrade your computer, i.e., choose a motherboard tight to the same socket type of your existing CPU.

Motherboard and processor compatibility – Why is it so important?

A computer’s motherboard and processor must work well together, which is why it is important to ensure that your computer’s RAM chips and motherboard are compatible.

In addition, the type of RAM supported by your motherboard can have impact on the performance of your whole system, because RAM speed can vary widely.

When selecting a motherboard or processor, it is important to know that they are compatible with each other. For example, if you have a motherboard rated for DDR5 RAM but you install non-compatible DDR4 RAM on it, the system may not work properly and can lead to data corruption or even a failed computer entirely.

Further, because different standards of RAM can have widely different speeds — and therefore dramatically different performance — this incompatibility could mean that the power of your computer is wasted.

To ensure your new computer will function properly, it’s important to verify that your motherboard, CPU and RAM chips are all compatible. Motherboards, for example, can be made for either an AMD or Intel system, and their speed is measured by the number of pins they have.

In addition, there are many standards of RAM chips available, including DDR2 and DDR3. Understanding these differences will help you match your computer components with the right motherboard and specific RAM chip.

Related: What Do The Lights On Motherboard Mean

What Is CPU Socket?

CPU socket is a metal connector that is placed on the motherboard, which holds in place the processor, or chip inside.

Types of Sockets And Surface Mounting Techniques

  • BGA (Ball Grid array)
  • PGA (Pin Grid Array)
  • LGA (Land Grid Array)

BGA

The Ball Grid Array (BGA) technique manages to bond the CPU directly to the motherboard via a socket made of very small solder bumps.

This is not replaceable, nor repairable by the user since it is soldered onto the motherboard and complies with JEDEC and QFP packaging standards.

PGA

Pin Grid Array otherwise known as PGA is the mounting type that AMD uses. This surface mounting type has pins that are visible on the CPU. For PGA, the motherboard socket has many pin slots that the pins of the CPU slide into.

LGA

LGA is the most common form factor for Intel processors (CPUs), adopted since the Nehalem generation, both on desktop and laptop computers. It’s referred to as Land Grid Array because its pins are arranged in a grid pattern on the socket.

Examples are Intel LGA 1151 which uses 7th, 8th and 9th Gen Central Processing Unit and Intel LGA 1200 that uses 10th and 11th Gen Central Processing Unit.

How To Know Which Socket You Have?

If the CPU you want to install has the same socket as your motherboard, then it is a compatible combination. If you want to upgrade from a Pentium 4 to a more powerful Athlon 64, then you will have to change the motherboard’s socket to accept the new processor.

A socket is like a pair of shoes, no matter how good a shoe looks, it still has to fit your feet. Similarly, no matter how powerful and feature-rich a CPU is, if it doesn’t fit in your motherboard because of incompatible sockets, it cannot give any results.

How To Figure Out The CPU socket Supported

To determine the CPU socket you have, you need to look into both the processor and motherboard specifications. The CPU socket spec determines if the CPU will be compatible with the motherboard.

If you are purchasing a new device, or upgrading your computer’s processor, then you have to make sure that it is compatible with your motherboard’s socket by checking its specification online.

How to Figure Out Motherboard Socket?

Just like CPUs, you can get to know the socket on your motherboard by checking the spec sheets. Searching the motherboard’s spec online could reveal the socket type of your motherboard.

For example, the ASUS Z590-A states in its spec sheet that it has the Intel LGA1200 socket supported by both 11th and 10th Gen Intel processors.

Match the processor to the motherboard socket type before installing a processor. Both the socket on the CPU and that on the motherboard must be compatible in order to install the CPU.

Common sockets

AMD Socket

The AM4 socket is a land grid array (LGA) type CPU socket. It was introduced by AMD in 2017 as a replacement for their previous generation of sockets (FM3 and AM3+). The AM4 platform underpins AMD’s Ryzen series of CPUs.

These processors use the Zen microarchitecture and are manufactured on GF’s 14 nm process.

If you’re looking at the AMD desktop lineup of 1000, 2000 and 3000 series or a mainstream APU (Graphics) or indeed a Ryzen 7, 5 or 3 processor then they will plug into the same socket as well.

Related: How to Connect Power Button to Motherboard

Intel Sockets

Here are the current sockets for the mainstream DESKTOP CPUs:

  • LGA 1200 for 10th and 11th Gen Core, Celeron and PentiumCPUs
  • LGA 1151 for 7th, 8th and 9th Gen Core, Celeron and Pentium CPUs

The following sockets are famous with Intel Workstation CPUs:

LGA 2066 for 10th Gen Intel Core Extreme processors such as the Intel Core i9-9900K, the Kabylake-R Core i7-9700K, the Skylake X Core i9-7980XE and Intel Core i9-10980XE.

Are There CPU Socket Adapters?

Unfortunately, there are no CPU socket adapters in this world that could allow you to fit an LGA1151 CPU into an LGA1200 socket. Such a thing is a technological impossible due to various compatibility issues.

Conclusion

The easiest way to get an answer to the question “what CPU is compatible with my motherboard” is to search the supported socket and then select the motherboard that supports the socket.

Ultimately, when you are planning on buying a motherboard for your CPU, make sure that you match the socket with the CPU generation in mind. Check the specification of the socket and the motherboard to make sure they are compatible.

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