CPU upgrade – how to install your new processor

If the GPU supplies the muscle, then it’s truthful to say the CPU is the brains of your gaming PC. When one can not do the heavy lifting, it makes the opposite’s job that rather more tough, inflicting what is called a bottleneck. That’s why, each every so often, it’s good to carry out a CPU improve to match the best graphics card and boost FPS in-game. However don’t fear, it’s a lot simpler than you’d assume, even for a newbie.

Understanding precisely when to improve your processor is hard, particularly since Intel and AMD commonly launch new merchandise. Some PC fanatics favor to personal one of the best parts accessible, whereas others favor to attend till their rigs are stuttering and prepared for retirement.

If you wish to discover out the perpetrator inflicting pressure in your PC, you should use MSI Afterburner – free overclocking software program that shows CPU and GPU hundreds. When you’ve fiddled about with the settings within the software program, merely boot a recreation with it operating within the background and control the chances. In case your CPU is commonly hitting 90-100% whereas your GPU isn’t, then it’s time for that much-needed improve.

Since there are such a lot of CPUs to select from, your first process is to pick the best one for you. We are able to prevent a while by skipping over the workstation choices and going straight to our information to the best gaming CPU, the place we’ll maintain you updated with the newest and biggest from each Intel, AMD, and others that may disrupt the duopoly sooner or later.

You additionally want to bear in mind CPU motherboard compatibility earlier than upgrading the CPU. Intel has a handy tool that allows you to lookup any Intel processor and examine all appropriate motherboards. AMD have a similar application, too.


When you ought to be capable to use an present CPU cooler with the likes of Intel’s Alder Lake lineup, it’s price noting that you simply’ll want a mounting improve equipment to make sure compatibility. Some producers like Noctua will present a bracket freed from cost, however you may need to put money into one earlier than making an attempt to put in a brand new chip.

In case your present setup runs on an out of date socket, it may well make upgrading a chore, as you’ll want to put in a brand new motherboard first. Intel is responsible of this and is likely to be giving motherboards more longevity sooner or later, whereas AMD has completed effectively to help improve paths when doable.

After getting one of the best chip in hand and the best gaming motherboard for the job, it’s time to get to work making ready your rig. Fortunately, upgrading CPUs is extremely easy and comparatively fast relying in your setup.

All you want is:

  • A screwdriver
  • A tube of thermal paste
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • An anti-static material
  • An anti-static wrist strap (non-compulsory)
  • A flat, clutter-free floor (really useful)


1. Earth your self

Everyone knows that you will need to swap off your PC on the wall and unplug your energy provide earlier than fiddling about with something contained in the case, however there’s just a little extra to it if you wish to maintain your parts secure. In any case, there’s a motive that your elements are shipped inside anti-static baggage. Only one mistake can lead to an costly substitute, which is why it‘s finest to take precautions and floor your self first.

When constructing or upgrading something in your PC:

  • Press the ability button as soon as after you’ve unplugged the ability provide to flush any residual energy out.
  • Place your desktop on a tough floor, resembling wooden, and keep away from inserting it on carpets or blankets – in any case, you don’t need to encourage static electrical energy build-up.
  • Both stand on a tough floor in naked ft, resembling tile, or put on footwear with rubber soles for those who should stand on carpet.
  • Cotton clothes is your finest pal, whilst you ought to keep away from carrying wool and a few artificial materials that might conduct static.

Even for those who’ve ticked off all these steps, it’s finest to floor your self in order that the static discharge is pushed away out of your parts. That is simply achieved by carrying and attaching an anti-static wrist band to a steel a part of the case.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to contact an unpainted steel portion of the case each jiffy to reduce the danger. That is one thing most builders do, however a small likelihood of discharge stays with this methodology.

Intel 8-core CPU

2. Take away the outdated CPU

If you’re performing a CPU improve fairly than putting in one from scratch, you’ll first must whip your outdated chip out of the system. That is the place your screwdriver turns out to be useful, because the CPU cooler is obstructing your path. Simply flip the 4 screws in every nook and it’ll carry off simply, revealing the CPU it’s worthwhile to change beneath.

You’ll want to provide your outdated CPU and the contact portion of your cooler a wipe with isopropyl alcohol and an anti-static material to wash the used thermal paste up. Don’t fear for those who get thermal paste in your fingers because it’ll simply wash off, however be sure to don’t get it in your garments or depart something lingering in your {hardware}.

For the reason that outdated CPU is clipped in place, you’ll must carry the lever to loosen it earlier than making an attempt to take it out. You don’t should be as sluggish when eradicating a CPU as you do with placing one in, however the pins are delicate and it’s price taking care when pulling it out. Be certain that to pop it in an anti-static bag if you wish to reuse, promote, or give your outdated chip away.

ASUS motherboard CPU socket

3. Set up the CPU

Now that your processor substitute can start, something from right here on additionally applies to these putting in a CPU right into a model new motherboard, too. This step is just about the reverse of what we’ve simply defined, making it even simpler than you’d count on.

With an empty socket and a lifted lever, you’ll be able to unwrap the brand new CPU from its packaging and gently place it straight into the seat. It’s solely doable to place the chip in a technique, that means you will have to concentrate to the symptoms within the corners to get the proper orientation.

As soon as the CPU has seamlessly slotted in, you’ll must decrease the lever to lock it into place. This shouldn’t want quite a lot of drive and if you end up struggling, you would possibly need to test the orientation and reseat it earlier than making an attempt once more.


4. Apply thermal paste to your new CPU

Your CPU ought to now be locked and loaded, however you’ll be able to’t simply put your cooler again on and name it a day. You’ll want to stay a layer of thermal paste between them in order that the cooler can do its job and, effectively, cool.

Thermal paste – in any other case referred to as thermal grease, compound, goop, gunk, and lots of extra unflattering names – is significant for transferring the warmth from the CPU to the heatsink of the cooler. Whereas it may appear as if the CPU and cooler heatsink each have flat surfaces, even the smallest inconsistency may cause air pockets. And since air is a reasonably terrible conductor of electrical energy, we’d like thermal paste to actually bridge the hole.

Making use of the thermal paste is a controversial problem that has torn friendships aside and shone a reasonably dangerous mild on sure firms on the market, however there’s one surefire approach to get it proper: squeeze a small blob onto the center of your new CPU, however ensure it isn’t an excessive amount of. The scale of a backyard pea is all you want.

You solely want a pea-sized dollop of thermal paste

You need to use sure instruments to unfold the thermal paste, nevertheless it’s way more pure to make use of your cooler’s heatsink once you reattach it to your PC. Most coolers are screw-based, that means you merely must be sure to’re utilizing the best bracket for the motherboard’s socket, line up the holes, and tighten the screws.

Watch out to not over-screw, as making use of an excessive amount of drive dangers warping and breaking the motherboard. It simply must be tight sufficient to not transfer round. As soon as issues really feel agency, plug the cooler into the CPU fan header. Failsafes are in place in case you neglect this step, shutting down your PC in a matter of seconds so your CPU doesn’t fry, nevertheless it’s finest to be secure fairly than sorry.

Please word: New CPU coolers usually include thermal paste pre-applied, and placing on any extra may trigger points. In case you’re pairing your new chip with the best CPU cooler or best AIO cooler, it’s price checking if that’s the case earlier than shifting on to the following step.

Corsair Hydro X CPU water block

5. Getting your new CPU as well

Don’t shut up your PC simply but, nonetheless, as we nonetheless must maintain our eyes in your machine’s chip-chiller as we boot it up once more for the primary time. Even for those who manage cables completely and ensure followers aren’t obstructed, holding the aspect panel off makes it simpler to do additional upkeep if we run right into a velocity bump – like your PC not turning on.

The very first thing to do when an issue like this arises is to test how tight you’ve screwed the cooler onto the motherboard. It’s not all the time as apparent as indicators of warping on the motherboard, however twisting every screw half a flip every and making an attempt to reboot may very well be a straightforward repair on your problem.

If this doesn’t work, then considered one of your parts may very well be the trigger. Even the best gaming RAM is noticeably fiddly at occasions, and merely reseating every stick can clear up a number of totally different points. To do that, press down on the discharge catches both aspect of the DIMM slot, unplug the RAM, after which reinsert. When you’re tinkering, additionally it is price ensuring all cables are firmly plugged in and that nothing important is lacking.

Lastly, there’ll both be a BIOS reset or CLR CMOS jumper on the board (or, for those who’re fortunate, a helpful button on the rear I/O panel). Shorting this reference to a screwdriver or jumper swap will utterly reset the BIOS, simply in case there was a setting inside that holding issues up.

Absolutely the final resort is to retry the steps on this information as soon as extra or return your new CPU – which may have been DOA. In case you’ve taken care of your outdated CPU, it would assist itch your gaming habits till you get this debacle sorted, however hopefully, your PC booted simply high-quality.

3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPU

6. Testing and troubleshooting the setup

As quickly as you’re graced with the stunning boot display, hit the DEL key to move into the BIOS for those who’ve not been despatched there mechanically. Right here, you’ll need to discover the ‘optimised default’ setting – most likely situated in the identical part of the BIOS to ‘save and exit’ – and reboot your rig. You must now see the long-awaited Home windows login display.

In some circumstances, your motherboard might have a BIOS update to be appropriate together with your new CPU, in order that’s one factor you’ll need to analysis to keep away from the panic of a failed boot.

Dive proper right into a recreation to see the advantages or use testing software program

Now that you simply’re again in your PC, outfitted with a model new little bit of silicon by your aspect, you would possibly need to take the brand new CPU for a take a look at drive. You may head straight right into a recreation, however if you wish to see the chilly onerous numbers, you’ll be able to obtain free software program like Cinebench R20 and HWMonitor.

Cinebench will push all of your cores and threads of your CPU to 100%, and all you’ll must do is sit again within the best gaming chair and control the frequencies and temperatures displayed on HWMonitor. Something beneath 80°C and also you’re primarily high-quality, whereas something above that may imply redoing your thermal paste, changing your cooler, or RMAing your CPU.

And that’s all there’s to it, until you need to know how to overclock your CPU safely for one of the best efficiency doable. And if you wish to study how to install a graphics card or maybe familiarize yourself with how to install a power supply to get the additional juice your chip would possibly must run alongside the remainder of your system, we’ll be right here that can assist you get gaming as quickly as doable.

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