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What is a Ball Grid Array?



The conventional IC packages that use pins (such as quad flat package) are entirely different if compared to the relatively newer BGA (Ball Grid Array) package. BGA gets its name from the arrangement of its pins which are arranged in a grid pattern. The main difference however is that its pins are not conventional wire like connections, instead the pins are actually small metallic solder balls. BGA components are normally placed on a similar grid pattern of copper pads on the required PCB (Printed Circuit Board).

When compared to their quad flat package rival components, BGA components provide several benefits to the PCB designers and manufacturers. This has resulted in an increased use of BGA components in PCBs. Advantages are listed below:
  1. Lower Track Density Optimizes PCB Design: Quad Flat Packages have very small distance between their pins which has to be compensated by using higher track densities on the PCB. Since the metallic solder balls are arranged in a grid pattern covering the bottom surface of a BGA component, track densities can be reduced to optimize PCB design.
  2. Reliability and Robustness of BGA Package: The pin connections in a quad flat package are normally very thin thus more fragile and they require extreme care while being handled. Therefore, they get damaged or bent more often and more easily. The fine pitch of these pins makes the repair nearly impossible in case of any damage. BGA components use solder pads which are directly connected to the metallic solder balls thus providing a more reliable and robust connection.
  3. Thermal Resistance is lesser: Because of lesser thermal resistance between the silicon chip of a BGA component than its rival quad flat package; the heat generated by the IC (Integrated Circuit) is quickly conducted out of the component towards the PCB.
  4. Better Performance at Higher Speed: The connections inside the BGA component are shorter owing to the grid array of conductors at the bottom. Reducing the unnecessary lead inductance levels enables a BGA component to provide better performance at higher speeds as compared to their Quad Flat Package rivals.

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