At the moment, the two most frequent types of CPU sockets you will probably encounter are AMD’s AM4 and Intel’s LGA 1151, but there are many more. Sockets change with time, but the two manufacturers also have separate sockets for CPUs designed for workstations and high-end desktop computers.
In the rest of the article, we will look at what CPU sockets are in a bit more detail, see if CPUs will work in different sockets to their own, and learn about some of the most common sockets available today from the two CPU manufacturers.
What Are CPU Sockets?
A CPU socket is an interface between a motherboard and the processor connected to it. The sockets change over time as the technology improves, and processors need different needs met. The interface is not used to simply brace the processor in place or feed it energy.
Will CPUs Work in a Motherboard With a Different Socket?
Different CPU sockets often have different physical structures, so you will not be able to insert a processor into the incorrect socket most times even if you tried. This is by design as the sockets function differently, making compatibility impossible regardless.
What Are the Most Common AMD CPU Socket Types?
AMD is one of the two manufacturers of CPUs. They are the younger of the two companies, but their market share has been steadily growing. AMD has a history of using the same standard sockets for more extended periods, which has made them preferable for some users who prefer to change processors more frequently than motherboards.
AM4 is the CPU socket that most AMD motherboards will come with and AMD CPUs will use. Launched in 2016, this socket replaced multiple earlier sockets that the company had been using in parallel, most notably the AM3+ socket.
AM4 is used for most processors from AMD’s Ryzen brand. Because of the brand’s broad range of models, this includes processors for most uses, including casual computers, business machines, and gaming rigs.
AMD will be launching its new AM5 socket in 2022. This will be designed to work with DDR5 memory, whereas its predecessor, AM4, could only work with DDR4 RAM. AM5 will work with Zen 4 processors, the fifth generation of AMD’s Zen microarchitecture.
When AM5 launches in 2022, it will be the first change in CPU socket for ordinary AMD users in more than half a decade. This will make upgrading AMD CPUs from the previous generation microarchitecture a massive step since it will also include replacing the motherboard and RAM.
TR4 was launched in 2017 alongside the release of the Threadripper series of processors. These processors are used for high-end desktop computers and workstations. Threadripper CPUs will have a much higher number of cores than other AMD processors.
Although part of the Ryzen brand, Threadripper processors will not work with the same socket that other Ryzens use, which is the AM4 at the time of writing, and vice versa.
AMD launched the new sTRX4 socket in 2019 as a successor to the earlier TR4 socket. This socket is used for 3000 series Threadripper CPUs. The sTRX4 is physically the same as the TR4 socket it replaced, but it cannot be used interchangeably because of electrical incompatibility.
What Are the Most Common Intel CPU Socket Types?
Intel is the other of the two manufacturers of CPUs and has a much longer history in the market of CPU sockets. Intel creates new sockets more frequently, which allows them to be more flexible with the design of new processor models. It also has the negative effect of making upgrades more expensive for users since multiple components will often need to be replaced alongside the CPU.
Intel launched the LGA 1151 socket in 2015, and although it has released several newer sockets since then, the 1151 remains incredibly common for Intel processors even now. This socket supports the Skylake, Coffee Lake, and Kaby Lake families of processors, including models from almost all Intel brands, including Pentium, Celeron, Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7.
The Intel LGA 1200 was launched in 2020 mainly as a successor to the LGA 1151 socket. This socket is used for processors from the Comet Lake and Rocket Lake families. Although these two generations offered many improvements over those from the earlier socket, LGA 1200 ended up being short-lived, having been superseded only a year later.
Intel launched the LGA 1700 socket in 2021 as a successor to the LGA 1200. This socket is made for processors in the Alder Lake family, the twelfth generation of the Intel Core line. If you’re buying a brand new consumer CPU from intel, it will likely use this socket.
Considered analogous to AMD’s TR4 socket, the LGA 2066 was launched in 2017 for processors in the Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X, and Cascade Lake-X families. These CPUs are used for workstations and high-end desktop computers due to their better suitability for parallel processing.
Launched by Intel in 2020 as a successor to LGA 2066, the LGA 4189 socket is designed for newer processors that service the high-end desktop computer and workstation markets. This socket supports CPUs from the Cooper Lake and Ice Lake-SP families.
The LGA 4189 socket comes in two variants. The P4 version is used for Ice Lake-SP processors, while the P5 one is used for Cooper Lake CPUs. These two variants are not compatible with one another.
We’ve learned about the importance of differentiating CPU socket types as processors of one type are never compatible with those of another. We’ve looked at the four most common AMD CPU sockets you might run across today, including an upcoming one and the five main sockets currently being used by Intel systems.