Upgrading your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) can be an intimidating prospect if you’ve never done it before, but there are several simple things you can do to make the process much more comfortable.
In order to upgrade your CPU, you’ll need to do some research into what will be compatible with your motherboard. Your motherboard is essentially the brain that controls all of the components in your computer. The CPU communicates with the rest of your computer via the motherboard’s chipset, which is a series of integrated circuits that handle data communication between various parts of your computer.
When choosing a new processor, it’s important to note that not all processors are compatible with all motherboards. In fact, there are several different types of processors and associated chipsets that are only compatible with certain brands and models of motherboards. While this may seem confusing at first, it’s actually quite simple—you just need to find out what kind of motherboard you have and then find out what kind of processor will work best with it.
This can be done by doing an internet search on terms like “motherboard model name” and “CPU type” or “chipset”, or simply by going the Windows search bar and type “msinfo32.” There you can find the BaseBoard Manufacturer and product.
Here’s a basic guide to getting the most out of your new CPU!
- You need to perform a bit of research first
- Make sure your computer is turned off, then unplug it from the power source.
- You will also need to make sure that your motherboard is compatible with your new CPU
- You will need a pair of tweezers and a screwdriver.
- Remove the socket cover.
- Ground yourself by touching the side of the case before you open it up.
- Remove the old CPU
- Upgrade the power supply and cooling system, if necessary.
- The processor should have a small plastic lever holding it in place, which can either be on the side or top at one end of the socket.
- With this lever pushed down, use your finger to lift up on the processor. It may be stiff at first, but don’t force it.
- Install the new CPU; apply thermal paste; press the processor into place and secure it using a retention mechanism.
- Reattach all cables, plugs, and screws; close the CPU socket cover.
1. Check Motherboard and CPU Compatibility
When you’re upgrading your computer, you’ll need to check that the new parts are compatible with your motherboard. The (motherboard) is the base of all computing power, and it’s what the processor and other computer components are plugged into. To be sure that the new parts will work well with the motherboard, you’ll need to ensure that it will physically fit into the motherboard. Different motherboards come with different holes, so make sure to check which type of CPU socket your motherboard has.
Then, make sure that the CPU itself will fit into this socket; some sockets have a specific size and shape that only permits one type of CPU. Also make sure to get a CPU cooler if you don’t already have one—this is an important part of keeping your PC from overheating and breaking down.
2. Back up your data
Once you’ve got a new CPU, you’ll need to spend some time getting your operating system set up with the right drivers and applications again. If you aren’t too confident in your ability to do that, back up all of the files on your hard drive onto an external drive or burn them onto a CD or DVD. If anything goes wrong with the installation process (and it’s not due to operator error), this will save you from having to reformat and reinstall Windows from scratch.
3. Buy tools and thermal paste
This is a no-brainer, but you’ll need the right tools to pull this off. You can get away with just the basics, like a Phillips head screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver, and maybe a pair of needle nose pliers. But to help you work faster and more efficiently, we’d recommend getting a few extra screwdrivers with different shapes and sizes.
For example: we love this set for its versatility and reasonable price range. It includes other handy tools that make working with electronics easier as well. Thermal paste is also going to be an essential part of this process, because you’ll need it to improve the connection between your CPU and your cooler.
And if you don’t have any thermal paste yet, we recommend checking out the Arctic MX-4, which is popular with tech geeks like us for its effective cooling capabilities and easy application process.
4. Open your PC
First, make sure your computer is turned off and unplugged from its power source. Now open up the case by removing the screws holding it together (usually found on the back or bottom of the case). Unscrew all the cables that are connected to the various components—the wires that connect to your hard drive and optical drive in particular, but also things like fans, the power supply itself, and any other cabling that might be attached to cards or fans. If you aren’t sure what something is or what it does, just leave it alone for now; more on that below.
If you’re replacing just a motherboard or CPU, remove any cards, fans or other components that are attached to them (if there are any). Remove the old card’s bracket if necessary and replace with a new one if you bought one; otherwise just leave it alone.
5. Remove the heatsink or fan
This will be located either on top of the CPU or attached with a screw to it. Once you have found it, remove it from its mounting place. Then you will remove the old processor. You can do this by removing one or two screws from the side of your motherboard that holds it in place, pushing down on a lever while gently pulling on the processor with your other hand, then lifting it out of its slot.
A heatsink is different from a fan because it has thermal paste on it (the silver stuff). Thermal paste is an essential part of the cooling process which helps draw heat away from the CPU chip and transfer it to the heatsink, which then takes it away from the computer case by way of air flowing over its fins. The two are inseparable; you need both for maximum performance.
6. Remove the old processor
The CPU is typically held in place by a bracket on your motherboard (the main circuit board of your computer) that locks into place with a lever or other device. Just be sure to ground yourself before touching the motherboard, and remove the CPU after shutting down the computer and unplugging it from any electrical outlets.
7. Install the new processor
Installing a new processor is easy as pie! All you have to do is place it down over the old one, and make sure that the little indentations on the side of it line up with the little indentations in your motherboard. If you run into trouble, just make sure not to force anything—it’s better to let a professional do the job if you aren’t comfortable.
8. Remove the old thermal paste and apply new one
To keep this from happening, computers have a layer of thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink (the metal thing you remove to clean out dust). It serves as an insulator that keeps the CPU from overheating. While some newer models include thermal paste in their packaging, it’s still a good idea to replace it every few years on older models since it eventually dries out and stops working well enough.
When you’re replacing thermal paste, you want to make sure you use enough—if there’s not enough of it for proper insulation, the CPU will overheat. You can install too much or too little thermal paste, but both situations are bad for your computer: too little and your computer will overheat; too much and you’ll see a significant decrease in performance because silicon wafers from the CPU are no longer touching the heatsink properly.
9. Reinstall the heatsink or fan
When you remove the old heatsink/fan from your old processor, keep track of where all the attachment points were connected on it and make sure to connect them to the same points on your new heatsink.
10. Close the computer case and power it up
Congratulations! You’ve just successfully upgraded the CPU in your computer. If you found this process to be hard or frustrating, don’t lose heart: no one likes to open up their computer case, but it is really worth it when you see how much faster everything runs!