I may have some bad news for you. Buying a new processor for your computer may mean that you have to purchase a new motherboard and RAM as well. However, before the replacement process starts, you need to pick the correct equipment for the replacement.
If your CPU or motherboard is just malfunctioning, you may decide to perform a straight swap and install the same model. Several materials are required to complete the replacement: a computer, (the one that needs a replacement), a Phillips screwdriver, a replacement processor, thermal paste, and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Remember to make sure that the replacement processor is compatible with the socket on the motherboard. This is not a small matter; every piece of hardware in your desktop connects to the motherboard. Lastly, turn off your computer and make sure the power cord is unplugged before continuing.
- Take off the side panel: For you to access the processor, you will need to open the computer case. Then, making sure that it is wholly plugged off, place the computer on its side. The back connectors (I/O panel) should rest closest to the table. Next, take the Phillips screwdrivers and use them to remove the panel screws. Once the screws all come out, you can pop off the panel.
- Ground yourself: Before you start working on the inside of your computer, make sure that you are correctly grounded. You can achieve this by attaching an antistatic wrist strap to the computer case’s bare metal or by touching a metallic water tap—significant damages caused by electrostatic discharges can occur without your knowledge. Therefore, grounding yourself is very important.
- Locate and remove the CPU cooler: Normally, CPU coolers are installed on top of the processors. The cooler is a metallic heatsink with a fan attached to it. To access the processor, you will need to remove this. Due to the crowded nature of the computer, some components and cables can block parts of the CPU cooler. You will need to detach anything in your way in order to access it, making sure to remember where each piece goes.
If you have an air-cooled CPU, unplug the fan of the cooler from the motherboard then unscrew the cooler from the motherboard. If your CPU is liquid-cooled, unscrew the water block of the cooler from the motherboard. If the cooler is still attached to the processor because of the thermal paste, twist the heat sink until it is freed off the processor. Using rubbing alcohol, wipe off the excess thermal paste from beneath the cooler.
- Lift the retention arm: The purpose of the retention arm is to lock the processor in place. By lifting the retention arm, you are unlocking the processor from its place.
- Lift the processor: Hold the CPU from the sides and attempt to lift it straight up. This will help to avoid any pressure that might damage its delicate pins. You may have to raise the processor at an angle to be able to remove it from under the socket cover. However, be sure that pins remain undamaged. If you wish to store your old CPU, it is best to do so in an antistatic bag.
- Install new motherboard: This step is only part of the procedure if you are trying to upgrade your motherboard for a new CPU. First, all the components and cables from the old motherboard should be removed. Next, install the new motherboard-if necessary, you can use new standoffs. Make sure to ground yourself again before proceeding to the next step.
- Install new processor: Without touching any pins or contacts, remove the latest processor from its bag. Make sure to grip the edges. Next, locate the corner of the new processor marked with a triangle and line it with the corner of the CPU socket. Once you are sure the processor and the CPU socket are lined correctly, gently fix the new processor in the socket. Never force it- you may break or bend the pins and make the processor inoperable. Once you have correctly inserted the processor, reattach the socket cover to hold the processor securely in place.
- Apply thermal paste to the CPU: You will want to spread a thin layer of thermal paste on the top of the CPU. The main aim of this step is to help heat be conducted from the processor to the CPU cooler by getting rid of any imperfections at the surfaces of contact.
- Reinstall CPU cooler and other components: To avoid causing uneven pressure on the motherboard, tighten the screws on each opposite corner when screwing in the cooler. Be cautious, as you do not want to overtighten any screws. If you had unplugged the cooling fan, plug it back into the motherboard. Then, you can begin reattaching everything you had detached earlier in your attempt to reach the CPU.
- Close the case: Reattach the side panel to its proper position using screws to secure it. Return the computer to its desk and plug in all the cables that were removed. Try to power your computer back on. In the event that you decided to change the processor and keep the same motherboard, the chances of your computer booting normally are quite high. Proceed to open the system properties window by pressing (Win + Pause) to ensure that the processor has been successfully installed. If it still refuses to boot, check if the CPU fan is connected to the CPU fan header correctly. By accidentally plugging the CPU fan into a system fan header, the computer will think that you are attempting to run the computer with no CPU fan. This will cause it to shut itself off to prevent damage to the CPU.
- If necessary, reinstall the operating system: You will need to reinstall a new operating system if the motherboard you installed was either new or if the processor you installed is high differenfromto from the old one. If you are having issues booting your computer after installing a new processor, try to reinstall your operating system. That should get you up and running. You can stress test your PC for stability once it is up.
What to Consider Before an Upgrade
First, a good upgrade should be at the top of your list since you will spend a lot of money on it. There is no point in going sideways on the issue. For example, if your plan is to upgrade and old FX 4300 from 2012 to a new R5 2600 from 2018, the performance increase will be sizeable and worthwhile. Using benchmark comparisons can help you figure out which processor can help you realize the objectives of your “new” PC. Always make sure to confirm if an upgrade will work with your computer.
The most significant barrier you will have to cross is the compatibility hurdle. Two main components need to be considered: the motherboard chipset and the socket required by the CPU. The socket should be one of the first things on your checklist. An Intel processor will not be compatible with the motherboard designed for an AMD processor because sockets have exclusivity to their manufacturers. Numerous generations of each socket type exist too. For example, a processor that runs on an 1151 LGA Intel socket is not compatible with a motherboard that runs an 1155 LGA socket.
Once you have established that the motherboard sockets and the CPU are the same type and generation, you will need to find out which chipset is right for you. On most occasions, the chipset you are running currently is going to the one you need. However, this is not always the case. Many chipsets associate with multiple socket generations meaning they support a varied level of features. This also means the costs will vary. The features of your new CPU will act as a blueprint to help you figure out which chipset you need. Make sure the chipset supports the features you want to use.
When it comes to upgrades, it is advisable to make sure that the upgrade is a good one. It is also necessary to learn what motherboard chipset and socket-type you require for a successful upgrade. Most importantly, you need to be sure of what you need. If it is a motherboard, you may be on the way to purchase new RAM, etc. On the other hand, if the motherboard and the CPU are compatible, the replacement process is going to be a walk in the park.