What to Watch Out For If You Are Upgrading the Processor on Your Laptop

Why Would You Want to Upgrade the CPU on Your Laptop?

After you have owned your laptop for two or three years you may find yourself wondering whether or not you should buy a new one.  Well if you are trying to delay the inevitable for a little while longer then you may want to consider an upgrade such as ram or a solid state drive.  If you have already upgraded these components and want to attempt a processor upgrade, then this could be an option to get the performance increase you need from your laptop.


A CPU Upgrade Can Help with Several Things

A CPU upgrade would speed up processor intensive tasks like encoding video or audio. Multi-core processors will help with multitasking on your laptop, especially when you are running intensive processes. Faster processors can also help boost gaming capabilities, but not as much as video cards.


How Do You Know If You Need to Upgrade Your Processor?

You can check how hard your processors are working by running the intensive processes, then bring up Task Manager (right-click on the Taskbar and select it) and navigate to the ‘Performance’ tab and right-click on the CPU graph to ‘Display logical processors.’ This will show a graph of your load levels across the processor’s multiple cores and threads.

Upgrading the Processor on Your Laptop Can Be Tricky

Laptops aren’t as easy to upgrade as desktop PCs. In fact, newer laptops are becoming harder to upgrade altogether due to the slimmer body type designs. Laptop models are becoming increasingly smaller and lighter, which means internal components have been redesigned to fit inside the new slender form factors. CPUs, SSDs and RAM are often times permanently soldered to the motherboard. It is generally a bad idea to buy a laptop with plans to upgrade it later. We recommend buying the laptop with the hardware you need whenever possible to avoid headaches later.


Upgrading Your Processor Can Be A Frustrating Experience…

Upgrading your laptop CPU can be a frustrating experience, even though the actual physical act of removing a processor and installing the new one is fairly easy. The major reason why upgrading processors on laptops is tricky is because of various proprietary hardware requirements for different models and brands.  Also adding to the complication for Intel CPU users are the various types of different socket formats that may be involved.


What is the Socket?

The socket is the physical interface to which a processor connects to. Sockets are located on the motherboard and cannot be upgraded without changing the entire board. This means upgrading to a new generation of processor may require a complete system re-build.


Sockets are Specific to Their Corresponding Processors…

This is because the sockets are specific to the corresponding processors. For example, the LGA socket consists of a series of pins which correspond to flat connectors on the bottom of the processor. New processors usually require a different array of pins and if the hardware does not match there is no way to perform the upgrade without upgrading the motherboard.  Some laptops can be upgraded fairly easily, but make sure to do your research here.

This is a Complicated Repair
Where Many Things Can Go Wrong

This is a complicated repair where many things can go wrong, so try to avoid doing this upgrade yourself if you do not have any computer hardware experience. If upgrading the CPU on your laptop makes sense for your situation then make sure you watch out for these common mistakes that many techs make:

Common Mistakes That Many Techs Make:

Anti-Static Bracelet

Anti-Static Environment

Wear an anti-static bracelet, stay away from carpeted flooring and make sure you are grounded.  Static electricity can have a disastrous impact on a CPU installation.

Laptop CPU

Compatible CPU

Make sure you have a compatible CPU model that will work with your motherboard.  Also, do the research beforehand to check if all the other hardware in your laptop is compatible with the CPU upgrade.

BIOS Update

BIOS Compatibility

We recommend you do a BIOS update with the latest available BIOS before replacing your processor. This step will ensure that your motherboard will recognize your new CPU. If you forget this step, you will have to install your old CPU in order to do this. Avoid this hassle by performing a BIOS update before replacing your CPU.

Bent Processor Pins

Socket Pin Displacement

Take your time when you secure the actual CPU onto the motherboard to avoid pin displacement.  Bents pins are not the end of the world, but a CPU install will go much more smoothly if you do not have to deal with this.  If  you do end up bending some socket pins you can try to straighten them with tweezers.

Thermal Paste Application

Thermal Paste Application

Thermal paste application is an very important part of this repair, make sure not to under- or over- apply the thermal paste as this can fry the CPU, motherboard, or both.

Heatsink Reinstallation

Re-Installing the Heatsink

Properly re-installing the heat sink during this upgrade is also important, and if done improperly this can damage the processor, motherboard or both.

You may be able to reap the benefits of upgrading the processor on your laptop, by prolonging the life for a few extra years. Nonetheless a CPU upgrade is considered a high risk repair with lots of room for error.  So if you have attempted to do this upgrade and are running into problems feel free to call us.



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