How to Replace the CPU?

How to Replace the CPU?


Martha Davis
August 23, 2021

If you plan to build a new PC, installing a new CPU shouldn’t be a problem, especially if you are a professional.

However, if you have bought a PC and are looking to swap out the processor with a new one, you might need some help.

Removing the CPU already present in the PC and switching it with another one shouldn’t be hard if you have the right tools and are willing to figure it out.

Why Replace The CPU?

AM4 CPU Sockets

You may have several reasons for replacing the CPU present in your PC.

However, the most common ones include playing games or benchmarking a new graphics card.

In any case, there are many steps involved in replacing the CPU. So, why don’t we get down to it?

How To Replace The CPU?

Replace CPUs

Replacing the CPU and installing another one varies depending on several factors, including the processor, motherboard, coolant, and the case. Go through this guide to know how to replace the CPU of a standard desktop computer.

1. The Tools You Will Need To Begin The Process

Before you begin, you will need to gather a few things, including the replacement CPU, a screwdriver, isopropyl alcohol, and thermal paste.

You also need to ensure that your computer has been turned off and the power cables are unplugged.

Since you would be working with electrical equipment, it is better if you grounded yourself or wore gloves before you begin to be safe from shocks and other electrical hazards.

2. Taking Out the Old CPU

Old CPU Removal

So, now that you have all the things you need, it is time to begin the process. To replace the CPU, you must first take out the old one or the one present on the PC. For this, you will need to follow a set of steps as outlined below.

Remove the Side Panel

Remove the side panel of the cabinet by unscrewing it with the help of a screwdriver.

Locate and Take Out the CPU Cooler

Take out the CPU cooler. However, be cautious when doing so. If you have an air-cooled CPU, you may need to unplug or unscrew the fan from the motherboard, depending on whether it has screws or a cord.

Clean the Contact Patch

Use Isopropyl Alcohol to clean the CPU cooler’s contact patch and remove the thermal paste residue.

Lift the Retention Arm

Lift the retention arm to unlock the CPU from its socket.

Remove the CPU

Be careful when you take out the chip. Do it without touching the pins, for they could bend and suffer damage. Also, if you want to reuse the processor, make sure that you get rid of the thermal paste with the help of isopropyl alcohol.

So, now you have removed the old CPU from the PC, it is time to move to the next step, installing the new CPU.

It’s Possible The CPU Will Be Stuck To The Cooler If You’re Using AMD

CPU stuck to Heatsink

Do not be alarmed this is normal for AM3/4 Socket CPUs, if you recently installed your CPU the thermal paste will still be fresh and it’s quite possible the CPU will be stuck to the cooler as it should be, simply take a single strand of thread or tooth wire and run it in-between the CPU and the cooler.

3. Prerequisites for Installing the New CPU

support for cpus on motherboard

Before you can begin inserting the new CPU and fixing it into its place, you must ensure that the motherboard is compatible, and update the BIOS, and backup your data.

Motherboard Compatibility

Before inserting the new CPU into the socket, you must ensure that it is compatible. If the new CPU is not compatible, replacing the already present one would waste time. To know if the new CPU is compatible with the PC’s motherboard, you must research it. Luckily, there are sites like CPU-Upgrade that let you know about processor compatibility with different motherboards.

Many variables go into deciding a CPU’s compatibility with a particular motherboard. However, you don’t need to worry about them. If you can stick to the basics and check if your new CPU is compatible with your old motherboard, that will do.

Backing Up Your Data

Although optional, you can still backup your data to an external hard drive or a suitable cloud service if you feel that you may lose it during the process.

Updating Your BIOS

Updating the BIOS could help you to deal with several problems that occur when installing a new CPU. First, however, you must do it carefully by noting the exact version of the BIOS that your computer is running, visiting your motherboard manufacturer’s website, and downloading the same.

4. Installing the New CPU

Inserting CPUs

Now that you have been through all the prerequisites for installing a new CPU, including checking motherboard compatibility, backing up your data, and updating your BIOS, it is time to get down to inserting the CPU into its place.

Installing a new CPU is like taking out the old CPU from the respective slot. You can install the new CPU by following these simple steps.

Inserting the CPU

To insert the new CPU, you must first locate the corner of the CPU socket. It’s usually marked with a triangle.

Next, you need to place the new CPU to align the corners with this triangle.

Once you do this, let go of the chip so that it falls into the socket. After this, lower the retention arm to lock the processor into place.

Applying Thermal Paste

Once you complete inserting the CPU into its place, you must apply thermal paste. For this, you can follow the instructions that you find on the tube, but make sure that you use the appropriate amount as given on the tube.

Reinstalling the CPU Cooler

The next step in the process is to reinstall the CPU cooler. Again, make sure that you don’t tighten the screws too much.

To install the CPU cooler, firmly tighten the screws on each opposite corner to have no uneven pressure on the motherboard. After you do this, plug the fan as you unplugged it.

Attaching the Side Panel

Reattach the side panel by screwing it back.

How To Choose A CPU For Your PC?

Picking the right CPUs

When you decide to upgrade your PC, one of the most important things you must consider is the CPU you need to buy.

However, choosing the right CPU for your PC is easier said than done as many factors come into play so, if you are wondering what processor you will need for your PC, here’s how to choose one.

1. Understanding How Motherboards Work With Processors

When choosing the right CPU, you must know its compatibility with your motherboard.

You can’t fit a CPU into any random motherboard. So, you must understand how CPU-motherboard compatibility works.

Motherboards come in different sizes, and so do the chips. Hence, you may need to find a chip that fits into your motherboard.

2. Understanding Your PC’s Limitations

It is possible to upgrade any Windows desktop PC while upgrading a laptop is equally more brutal.

Upgrading a laptop computer is almost next to impossible, and even if you can do it, the process is tedious and cumbersome.

3. Finding Your Motherboard’s Model

The next thing you must do before buying a new CPU is to find your motherboard’s model. For this, you must:

a.  Click on the ‘Start’ menu, and type ‘CMD’ into the search field.

b.  Open an elevated command prompt by right-clicking on it and selecting ‘Run as Administrator.’

c.   In the administrator command prompt window, type and execute the following command by pressing enter.

wmic baseboard gets product, Manufacturer

d.  Once you type this command and press enter, you can find your motherboard’s model and the Manufacturer.

4. Know What Processor Socket You Will Need

What Type of Socket you need

Search for your motherboard by entering its name and model number to determine the type of processor socket you will need.

You could also try opening your PC and looking for the motherboard’s model, Manufacturer, and the processor socket.

5. Find A Compatible Processor

You can find a list of processors that are compatible with your motherboard by visiting

From the ‘Choose Socket’ drop-down menu, select the type of socket that your motherboard uses.

Then, from the ‘Choose Chipset’ drop-down menu, select the chipset number, and click ‘Search.’

You should see a list of processors that are compatible with your motherboard.

You can also look for a compatible motherboard that matches a CPU you already have.

To do this, go back to the same website, and click on ‘Choose Processor Series.’ Then, click on ‘Choose Model’ and select your processor’s model.

When you click ‘Search,’ you should get a list of motherboards compatible with your processor. You can then proceed to buy them.

Closing Words

You have many ways to replace the existing CPU on your PC with a new one.

You could also follow this guide or search for another way online.

Whatever you do, ensure that you follow the instructions correctly and stay safe from electrical hazards by wearing gloves or other protective equipment when swapping out the CPU.

When buying a new CPU or motherboard, make sure that you pay attention to the compatibility.

Not all motherboards are compatible with the different CPUs. The reverse is also true, and not all CPUs are consistent with the motherboards.

Martha Davis

Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.