There are many reasons why knowing what motherboard socket you have is critical. When buying a CPU or when upgrading your CPU, it is important that the socket on the CPU and the motherboard both should match. So how to check motherboard socket you have?
There are a few ways to check what motherboard socket you have. Firstly, you can check through the manual or the technical sheet of the motherboard itself. Secondly, you can physically check for labels on the motherboard. Thirdly, you can use free and trusted third party utilities such as CPU-Z. Fourthly, if you already have a CPU installed, you can check the CPU’s technical sheet to figure out the motherboard socket.
In the following text I will cover these methods in detail. In doing so, I will also talk about the different types of sockets you can expect and also talk briefly about the compatible CPUs for the latest motherboard sockets.
Also Read: Where is the CPU Located in a Computer?
Types of Motherboard Socket to Expect
There are essentially three types of sockets that you can expect to see:
- LGA Socket – Land Grid Array Socket
- PGA Socket – Pin Grid Array Socket
- BGA Socket – Ball Grid Array Socket
Land Grid Array sockets on the motherboard have pins sticking. The CPUs that mount on this socket type have pads. LGA socket type is generally found on Intel based motherboards.
Pin Grid Array sockets on the motherboard have holes. The CPUs that mount this socket type have pins that go into the holes. PGA socket type is generally found on AMD based motherboards.
Ball Grid Array sockets are soldered with the CPU mounted on top. The CPUs on this socket type are irreplaceable. BGA sockets are found on laptops and are used by both Intel and AMD motherboards for their mobile-based CPUs.
For more details read:
Sockets and CPU Compatibility
The motherboard sockets can vary from model to model and from generation to generation.
This means that a motherboard socket for Intel 8th Generation CPUs would NOT be compatible with an Intel 10th Generation CPU.
Therefore, when installing a new CPU or when upgrading to a newer CPU, you have to make sure that both the CPU socket and motherboard socket match.
The following table shows the newer desktop motherboard sockets and their compatible CPUs.
|Intel||LGA1151||LGA||- Intel 7th, 8th and 9th Gen Celeron, Pentium and Core CPUs||1151|
|LGA1200||LGA||- Intel 10th and 11th Gen Celeron, Pentium and Core CPUs||1200|
|LGA1700||LGA||- Intel 12th Gen Celeron, Pentium and Core CPUs||1700|
|LGA2066||LGA||- Intel Core Extreme 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th Gen|
- Intel Xeon Skylake-W and Cascade Lake-W
|AMD||AM4||PGA||AMD Athlon and Ryzen 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000||1331|
|sTRX4||LGA||AMD Threadripper 3000 series||4094|
It should be noted here that motherboard sockets have different sizes and pin count. For Intel sockets, the number after “LGA” identifies the pin count. So an Intel LGA1151 socket has 1151 pins.
Also Read: How Many Pins Does a CPU Have?
So How to Check Motherboard Socket You Have?
Now that you have been given the primer on the socket type and the short compatibility list of the latest sockets and CPUs, you should be better able to deduce what socket you have.
There are four basic ways to figure out what motherboard socket you have:
- Using the Technical Specsheet of the Motherboard
- Manually Checking for Physical Labels on the Motherboard
- Using CPU-Z – A Free Third Party Software
- Using the CPU Specsheet (If It is Already Installed)
1. Using the Technical Specsheet of the Motherboard
The easiest way to check what motherboard socket you have is to check its specsheet. Of course you will need to know what motherboard you have in order to look up for it specsheet online.
Fortunately, I have written a comprehensive article on this topic: How to Check What Motherboard You Have?
Once you have figured out the make and model of your motherboard, simply search it up online.
Take for instance, the following excerpt from the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3 specsheet. Under the CPU section of the specsheet, you can identify the supported socket type of this motherboard.
You can also figure out the socket if you have the motherboard manual with you. In the motherboard manual, head over to the Motherboard Layout page. There it should highlight not just the CPU socket and its model but also various other components.
2. Manually Checking for Physical Labels on the Motherboard
Often motherboards have very clear labels indicating the different parts on it. This makes it easy to find your way around the different components, ports and slots on the motherboard.
As such, you can also find the motherboard socket model clearly labelled next to it on most motherboards. Therefore, a simple physical inspection can tell you the exact motherboard socket you have.
Of course, this method involves the inconvenience of opening up your PC case.
This method is more feasible for desktops as compared to laptops. Laptops are not only more difficult to open up for physical inspection, the laptop motherboards are also not as clearly labelled as compared to desktop motherboards.
3. Using CPU-Z – A Free Third Party Software
This is personally my favorite method. It is simple and involves the least inconvenience in my opinion.
However, this method only works if you have a running system. If you are building a new PC, or if your PC isn’t operable, then obviously this method won’t work.
This method requires you to download and install CPU-Z which is a free but a very popular third party utility for monitoring system hardware.
Once the utility is installed, run it and in the “CPU” tab, look for the field marked as “Package”. This should tell you the exact socket type of the motherboard.
In the image above you can see that my laptop motherboard has the Socket 1440 FCBGA. This is an Intel based Ball Grid Aray socket with 1440 pins.
4. Using the CPU Specsheet (If It is Already Installed)
The final method to check what motherboard socket you have is to check the socket information of the CPU already installed on the motherboard.
Of course, this method takes into account the fact that you have a CPU already installed which works.
For instance, if you have an i7 10700K already installed on the motherboard, then looking at its specsheet above can help you logically deduce that the motherboard socket is also LGA1200.
You can then use this information, for instance, to choose an upgrade for the PC. You can upgrade to 11th Gen Intel Core i7 11700K since it also uses the LGA1200 socket.
However, you will not be able to upgrade to 12th Gen Intel Core i7 12700K as it uses the LGA1700 socket and would thus be incompatible with your current motherboard.
Before upgrading or buying a new CPU, you MUST learn how to check motherboard socket you have.
The last thing you want to do is procure a CPU only to find out that it is incompatible with your current motherboard socket.
Also Read: How Difficult is it to Build a PC?