What is a socket of a motherboard? How to choose a socket? – Explained for anyone!

So now you know what is a motherboard overall and what
important functions and components it has.

Wonderful! What are you gonna do next? You want to choose the best one for yourself, of course! “But where do I start?” – you will rightly ask. “With a socket!” – I will gladly answer. Next, you will say: “What is a socket of a motherboard? How to choose a socket?” I’ll answer: “Don’t worry, I’ll explain it now! Make yourself comfortable.”

(if you don’t know what is a motherboard, don’t worry! Here is an article about that:

What is a motherboard? Explained for anyone!


You can read it and return to the current one, there is no rush)


The importance of choosing a correct socket – Mistake can cost you a lot!

Just like I stated in my general overview of a motherboard,
the socket of the central processor (CPU) is used to install the processor on the motherboard. Every family (generation) of processors usually have its own socket that is designed especially for this generation of processors.

That is why choosing the correct socket for your future motherboard is so important!

If you will choose a motherboard with a wrong socket for your processor (be it for existing one or for the future one),
then some of the following will happen:

1) (most likely) You just physically wouldn’t be able to insert the processor into the socket of the motherboard.

2) (less likely) You will be able to insert the processor into the socket of the motherboard but it will not work because of different architecture of socket.

3) (least likely) You will insert the processor into the socket and it even will work…

but it will not work at its full capabilities (partial compatibility).

Not very happy prospects, right? Don’t worry, choosing the right one is easy when you know how to do that.

First, you need to know about the socket of your current/future processor.

How to do that? Let’s get into it!


How to know about the socket of your existing/future processor.

If you want to know about the socket of your existing or current processor…

…then use one of these methods:

  • View in the documentation for the computer.
  • View the model of the motherboard printed on it and see the documentation on the website of the manufacturer of the motherboard:

Motherboard Socket Specifications

  • Use one of the programs that show the equipment used in the system. I recommend paying attention to the program called CPU-Z:

https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

Run this program and on the tab “CPU” you can see the socket of your current processor:

CPU-Z Motherboard Socket

If you want to know about the socket of your future processor…

… then everything is even easier!

You just search for a model of your future processor on the Internet and read specifications of this processor on the official site of manufacturer:AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Specifications Socket

Step 2. Choose a motherboard with knowledge about the needed socket.

That is even easier – you just go to your favorite store and filter motherboards by “Socket” or “Package” parameter.

Amazon in that regard is kinda weird – I wanted to filter AM4 motherboards only, but… there is no AM4 in the list!

See for yourself!

Amazon Lack of AMD AM4

Please, don’t get me wrong – I don’t have absolutely any bias against Amazon, but that was really weird. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong.

Whatever here is an example for Newegg:

Step 3 – Look for underwater stones – there are some nuances…

Most sockets are simple and straightforward – one distinct socket for one-three generations/families of processors.

But there are some sockets that can be very confusing, especially for not-so-experienced users.

Here is a good example:

  1. Intel LGA 1151
  2. Intel LGA 1151-1 (LGA 1151 Revision 1)
  3. Intel LGA 1151-2 (LGA 1151 Revision 2)

These three sockets have the exact physical structure and architecture, but:

  • LGA 1151 and 1151-1 support both Kaby Lake and Skylake processor generations
  • LGA 1151-2 supports Coffee Lake ONLY!

To prevent any mistakes in that regard, I created special cheatsheet with all needed information about the compatibility of processors and sockets. Here is it:

Motherboard-Processor Socket Compatibility Cheatsheet

Check the compatibility of your processor and then return to this page.

Congratulations! You picked correct socket for your processor! What to do next?

Now you secured your choice of a motherboard – it will be 100% compatible with your processor. Next step to picking up a perfect motherboard is…

Choosing chipset of your future motherboard.

But we are gonna do that later.

And for now…

Thank you for reading this article!

I hope that I helped you, my dear reader, in dealing with this scary thing called “socket”.

It isn’t that hard, but you need to pay attention to it because there are some cases where people made mistakes with sockets, and that later led to disappointment with the purchase and even to anger!

I wouldn’t want this to happen to you, so:

If you don’t understand something in this article or something about sockets in general, then use comments to ask a question.

I will answer any question with great pleasure and will be more than happy to help anyone.

Thank you for your attention, I hope you enjoyed it, and remember:

Computer technology is not rocket science!

Comments

    1. Post
      Author
      Vitaliy Stolyarov

      Thanks for your attention!
      1) No, CPU-Z is a program that you need to download from the official site. It doesn’t come with a processor… but it should, in my opinion! It is very useful for checking your processor – especially considering that there are situations where clients got wrong processors for various reasons. But that is another story…

      2) Yes, a socket is where the processor goes into on the motherboard – it’s that simple, in fact.
      If you will buy a processor for an older motherboard with the same socket as your older processor it should run just fine – usually even without slowing down.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them!

  1. charles

    Wow, You provide a step-by-step guide clearly for a person who is new and help them save money.
    If I replaced a new motherboard, is it necessary to change the new match socket and processor also?

    1. Post
      Author
      Vitaliy Stolyarov

      Thank you for the kind words!
      Your words are very important to me – I started that site with the intention to help people with every aspect of processors and motherboards.

      If you are going to change your motherboard, then most likely you will want to change your processor too.
      It can be just a more powerful processor with the same socket as your current socket, but it also can be a new processor with a completely new socket.

      Usually, if you will decide to upgrade your motherboard, you will upgrade your processor too (and sometimes also RAM needs an upgrade to a next generation).

    1. Post
      Author
  2. Ali

    What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it and I could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You! For sharing this quality post with others.
    Actually this is exactly the information that I was looking for information about the motherboard sockets and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details.
    So I’m happy that you decided to write about this topic and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested in this topic.
    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to reading your new posts.)

    Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author
      Vitaliy Stolyarov

      Thank you very much for your feedback!
      I am incredibly happy to hear such words – I created this website to help all people just like I help my friends and acquaintances in real life.
      And hearing this is very inspiring!
      I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

      Wish you all the best! Have a great day.

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