What CPU is Compatible with My Motherboard?

You must see the socket model to know if your CPU is compatible with your motherboard. Every CPU has a specific socket requirement that you can find out from their specifications.

For instance, the latest Intel 10th and 11th Gen desktop CPUs require the LGA1200 socket, whereas the AMD Ryzen 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 series desktop processors require the AM4 socket.

When you look into the motherboard specification online, they will NOT list all the supported CPU models. Instead, they will only make mention of the CPU socket they have. This socket information will enable you to deduce the CPU models the motherboard will support.

The motherboard socket also has a lot of relevance with its chipset. The chipset essentially defines a lot of motherboard factors, including its socket.

In the following text, we will dive deeper into answering the question, “what CPU is compatible with my motherboard.”

Essentially, we will look into the socket type and what they mean, and also chat about motherboard chipsets and how they would affect the choice of your CPU.

Figuring Out What CPU is Compatible with My Motherboard

Again, as mentioned earlier, the primary feature is the socket details to determine if your CPU is compatible with your motherboard.

What is a CPU Socket?

LGA socket
Motherboard socket for Intel LGA CPU.

As the name suggests, a CPU socket is a physical mount on which the processor is placed. It provides the correct mechanical and physical dimensions and pin layout to facilitate CPU connectivity with the motherboard. Simply put, it is the place where the CPU sits on the motherboard.

If you have a CPU socket incompatible with your motherboard, it will not even fit in the mount.

Also Read: How to Check Motherboard Socket?

Types of Sockets and Surface Mounting Techniques

lga vs pga
Land Grid Array (with flat contacts) and Pin Grid Array processors (with needles sticking out)

There are three types of surface mounting methods for the CPUs:

  1. LGA: Land Grid Array
  2. PGA: Pin Grid Array
  3. BGA: Ball Grid Array

LGA Type

Land Grid Array is the mounting type used by Intel. In the case of LGA, the motherboard socket has visible pins, whereas the CPU has flat contacts.

Examples include the Intel LGA 1151 used by 7th, 8th, and 9th Gen CPUs and Intel LGA 1200 used by 10th and 11th Gen CPUs.

PGA Type

Pin Grid Array is the mounting type used by AMD. This type of surface mounting has visible pins on the CPU. In the case of PGA, the motherboard socket has pin slots into which the pins of the CPU slide.

AM4 Socket PGA
AM4 PGA Socket. The Pin Grid Array socket on the motherboard has holes into which the pins on the CPUs slide.

The AMD AM4 used by 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 series uses the AM4 socket.

Also Read: LGA vs. PGA CPUs

BGA Type

Ball Grid Array is the surface mounting technique found on Laptop CPUs. The BGA CPUs are soldered into the motherboard socket and are thus not replaceable.

Also Read:

How to Know Which Socket You Have?

You have to look into the socket’s CPU and motherboard specifications to determine their compatibility.

Figuring Out CPU Socket Supported

You can find out the CPU socket supported through its specifications online.

Intel Core i7-11700K CPU socket
Intel Core i7-11700K CPU socket. Source: Intel 

You can see here that the Intel Core i7-11700K CPU supports the LGA1200.

The Intel socket defines what type they are and also their pin count.

Here the FCLGA1200 means:

  • FC: Flip Chip
  • LGA: Land Grid Array
  • 1200: The number of pins.

Figuring Out Motherboard Socket

Like CPUs, you can figure out the socket on the motherboard through their spec sheets.

ASUS z590-A socket supported
ASUS Z590-A Motherboard Socket Supported. Source: ASUS

A simple search online could reveal the socket type of the motherboard. For instance, the ASUS Z590-A mentions in its spec sheet that the Intel LGA1200 socket is supported by the 11th and 10th Gen Intel processors.

So essentially, the socket supported on the CPU, and the socket on the motherboard HAVE TO MATCH.

Also Read: How is Processor Speed Measured?

Common Sockets in Use

Intel and AMD produce several CPU product lines that fit into particular sockets.

Intel Sockets

LGA 2066 socket
LGA2066 socket for Intel Core X Series workstation grade processors.

Intel primarily uses LGA sockets.

The current socket for the mainstream DESKTOP CPUs are as follows:

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

For Intel Workstation CPUs, the following sockets are popular:

  • LGA 2066 for 10th Gen Intel Core Extreme processors like the Intel Core i9-10980XE

AMD Socket

With AMD, things are pretty simple, as the AM4 socket has been in use since the AMD Ryzen 1000 series came out in 2017.

Currently, the AM4 socket is supported by 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 series desktop CPUs for mainstream desktop CPUs.

The workstation grade Ryzen Threadripper series use the sTRX4 socket.

Also Read:

Taking Note of the Motherboard Chipset to Confirm the Compatibility

While the socket is the primary concern when checking for compatibility between the CPU and the motherboard, the motherboard chipset also matters.

This is because, most of the time, the socket remains the same across different chipset generations. This can bring about some compatibility issues, mainly addressed via a BIOS update.

For instance, the older AMD B350, AMD B450, and the newer AMD B550 motherboard chipset all use the AM4 socket.

However, the oldest in the series, i.e., the AMD B350, was released in 2017 as the earliest AMD Ryzen 1000 series CPU. The AMD B550  was released in June 2020, just before the AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs were released.

Therefore, the B550 motherboards can readily run the newest 5000 series AMD Ryzen CPUs without any BIOS update.

The older B350 motherboard, however, would not be able to run the 5000 series processor by default despite having the supported socket. Instead, it will require a BIOS update.

Hence, ensure you get a motherboard chipset that aligns well with the release date of the CPU. For instance, I will not advise using an older AMD B350 motherboard if you plan to get a 5000 series AMD CPU.

Also Read:

Are There CPU Socket Adapters?

It would be great to have a CPU socket adapter that would allow you to fit an LGA1151 CPU into an LGA1200 socket. However, such socket adapters are not possible due to various compatibility issues.

Decades ago, manufacturers devised a way to use certain Intel Pentium CPUs with incompatible boards using socket adapters. However, these never gave satisfactory results, and since they were almost as expensive as getting a new motherboard, the idea never really came into fruition for mass use.

Also Read:

Conclusion

So the most straightforward answer to the question “what CPU is compatible with my motherboard” is to find out what socket it supports and then choose the one with the reinforced socket.

Sockets are also shared across different motherboard chipset generations as well. We recommend getting the latest motherboard chipset series if you use a CPU from the newest generation.

Also Read: How to Know if Graphics Card is Compatible With Your Motherboard?

Photo of author

Author:

Ojash
Ojash Yadav is the lead technical writer and resident tech guru at PCGuide101. He is a computer science graduate with over 8 years of experience in the IT field and a wealth of knowledge about computer peripherals. He has a passion for breaking down complex technical concepts and his goal is to make sure that our readers understand the technical details of the products they're interested in without getting lost in jargon. Ojash has over a decade of experience writing about the latest and greatest in the tech world, his articles have been featured in many popular tech publications and he's known for his thorough and unbiased reviews. He conducts extensive research and testing on the latest products to ensure our readers always get the most reliable information possible.

7 thoughts on “What CPU is Compatible with My Motherboard?”

  1. Great article! Would an AMD Ryzen 5 5500 be compatible with an ASUS PRIME B550M-A AM4 motherboard, without the need for a BIOS update? Can’t find this info anywhere

    Reply
  2. Hey I have a Ryzen 7 5700 and a gigabyte mother board. I’m trying to upgrade it to the Ryzen 9 5900. Will it be a simple upgrade and should it be compatible? Please email me and if you need more info on my system I will provide it!

    Reply

Leave a Comment