Pin Grid Array

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What Does Pin Grid Array Mean?

A pin grid array (PGA) is the integrated circuit packaging standard used in most second- through fifth-generation processors. Pin grid array packages were either rectangular or square in shape, with pins arranged in a regular array. Pin grid array was preferred for processors with larger-width data buses than dual in-line pins, as it could handle the required number of connections better.

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Techopedia Explains Pin Grid Array

The pin grid array started with the Intel 80286 microprocessor. It was mounted on a printed circuit board either by insertion into a socket or occasionally by the through-hole method. Pin grid arrays had many variations, such as:

  • Ceramic — PGA in ceramic packaging
  • Flip-chip — Die facing downwards on top of the substrate
  • Plastic — PGA in plastic packaging
  • Staggered — Pin layout staggered for tight compression
  • Organic — Die attached to an organic plate

One of the biggest advantages provided by the PGA is the number of pins available per integrated circuit compared to older packaging standards like the dual in-line packages. This served well for newer processors with wider data and address buses. Moreover, PGA is cheaper than the ball grid array and other grid arrays.

However, the pin connections of the PGA are often less reliable and the PGA technology also had certain limitations on thermal and electrical capabilities. These drawbacks eventually resulted in the PGA being gradually replaced by other standards such as the ball grid array.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.