AMD is bringing double performance to Ryzen 7000. It’s obvious, but all AMD users, who have been having a good night’s sleep since 2017, are going to be disturbed. AMD introduced the AM4 socket back in 2017. Since then, it has lasted flawlessly. Team Blue (Intel) has been swapping out sockets every year and has kept increasing the number of pins on their Land Grid Array or, as you know them, LGA sockets. In contrast, Team Red had their customers happy by not asking them to upgrade their board if they didn’t want to. Unless you are trying to upgrade from 1000 series to 5000 series, that is.
But, how many times have you heard of pin bending in AMD CPUs? Or how many times have you tried to fix one? Well, although the second thing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Team Blue had already sped past this problem as early as 2006. What took AMD this long, then?
Well, it turns out there are quite a few reasons. Let’s have a look at them.
Why Did AMD Stick to PGA For This Long?
PGA, or Pin Grid Array, which AMD uses, is more resistant to heatsink bending. Also, it is less expensive than LGA.
PGA, which AMD employs today, was introduced by Intel in the market with the Coppermine core Pentium III and Celeron processors based on Socket 370. AMD uses similar packages and even Intel uses them in mobile processors to date. On the other hand, LGA, which Intel uses today, was introduced by AMD for its Opteron line of workstations back in 2006. That is just when Intel introduced the LGA 771 socket, its first LGA socket.
Why the role reversal, after all? Why did AMD just stick with the PGA for consumer-grade processors, while it was playing the big boys’ game all the time with LGA? A quite interesting game of balls, right?
Let’s find it out.
PGA has obvious benefits. It is more durable and easier to fix if you have the focus and necessary tools. Here’s a thing to think over a bit. How common is it to break or bend a pin? Then, how frequently do you damage an entire gold pad that is stuck to the back of a processor? You aren’t meant to start bullfighting your processor. Thus, at the end of the day, more AMD processors are sent to fix broken pins than Intel processors are shipped for repairing broken gold pads.
Also, with LGA, the pins are on the motherboard. Even if you break them, broken motherboards are far cheaper to fix than a damaged CPU. You might get a dead board, but well, you can always get it back up and running. Especially in a world where CPU pin fixers are overly praised and admired for their work!
AMD had to follow the Intel way at last, and they are getting the LGA1718 socket. Now, that number in LGA 1718 signifies the number of pins we get in the array. For LGA 1151, the Coffee Lake series from Intel, we had 1151 pins. And Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake processors will be based on an LGA1700 socket. AMD still gets a lead of 18 pins, but no matter what, we are finally getting LGA sockets from AM5. Just like we are finally ditching DDR4!
DDR5 leaks have been everywhere. Intel even confirmed DDR5 support in their upcoming Alder Lake processors. Additionally, leaks suggest they are coming to AM5 as well. Although some DDR4 memory modules already go above starter DDR5 speeds, native hardware built to run on those speeds is going to be far more stable.
But AMD is late in the race.
Alder Lake processors have already launched. However, there is no sign of Zen 4 CPUs anytime sooner than Quarter 4 2022. While the 6000 series of mobile processors and the latest 5000G series of desktop APUs will keep AMD engaged for the first three quarters of this year, Intel will already have the sweet chunk of enthusiasts lured towards DDR5. But, why did this happen?
Well, when AMD introduced AM4 back in 2016, they planned to retire it by 2020. That is one year before the competition. Pretty smart, right? But, we know what happened in 2020. The pandemic took over the world, and every industry had to slow down their work and turn to work-from-home standards. AMD was no exception to this, and they had to postpone plans and stick with AM4 even for the 5000 series of processors. That cost the Santa Clara-based company.
Will AMD’s Shift to LGA even give any performance gain?
The answer, as you guessed, is a yes. Not only performance gain, but AM5 will also bless us with better power delivery.
Speaking of performance, think about this. The Threadripper line of processors is already in the LGA sockets or, more specifically, in the TR4 socket. In the higher end, those processors go up to 64 cores and are hands down the most monstrous processors out there. With the jump from PGA to LGA, well, expect a huge performance gain as well, more than what the 3000 series to the 5000 series gave us.
But, Intel draws in. The LGA1700 boards, that will run the upcoming Alder Lake processors, are rumored to support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory. That’s the next level. Although we haven’t got our hands on a DDR5 memory sample, from history, it is very evident that memory generations have different module designs. That is the same reason we can’t make DDR3 and DDR4 work together on the same board.
Now, until the talented engineers over at Intel figure out an extremely different way to make DDR5 and DDR4 work together, without unprecedented BSODs or experience hiccups; there isn’t anyway. Well, I would love it if Intel makes it official. If that happens, it is going to be an uphill battle for AMD.