Change PC processor
Changing the PC processor is a practice that many users respect. The processors are quite expensive components, and this we must always add the doubts that usually appear on whether the processor we have will be compatible or with the new motherboard or vice versa.
That’s why we’ve decided to create this little tutorial where we’ll see the complete process of how to change a PC processor and we’ll also give you all the information you need to solve all the doubts about the compatibility of processors with motherboards and their sockets. Let’s get started!
Sockets and Processor Compatibility: Intel and AMD
It seems complicated, but knowing the market and knowing the processors and manufacturers that exist, you’ll see how a fairly simple task is going to be done. The first thing will be the manufacturers, and this will be simple because we will only have two: Intel and AMD.
The next thing we need to know are the generations of processors currently on the market. Keep in mind that technology is advancing, and possibly in several months this article does not contemplate the new processors that will come out. In any case, we are going to try to generalize the process so that you can do it yourself without having to see a tutorial from now on.
Processors and their generations
If we are going to buy a processor, used or new, we will have to identify its socket and its generation. This is necessary because not always being of the same socket implies being compatible, we have already seen in the previous image that the motherboard we have or in which we are interested, only supports 8th generation processors.
Generation basically means the update that the manufacturer has carried out on its processors. It can be by manufacturing process 14, 12, 7 nm, etc. Or just new CPU families coming on the market.
Let’s put those that are currently on the market. The manufacturer will follow the same nomenclature throughout its Intel Core range:
Of course we are interested in that first number that has the name of the product.
- 6: 6th generation (Skylake)
- 7: 7th generation (Kaby Lake)
- 8: 8th generation (Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake R)
- 9: 9th generation (Coffee Lake Refresh)
We will also have Intel Pentium Gold and Intel Celeron processors of different generations. Therefore, instead of learning this by heart, what you have to do is go directly to the manufacturer’s page, with the CPU model, since all this information will appear there.
Something similar happens in AMD, as its processors are divided into different generations. Among its products are AMD Ryzen, the most famous and used, and AMD Athlon. Let’s focus on the Ryzens:
Again we are interested in the first number of the final code of the product. Exactly the same then:
- 1: 1st generation (ZEN)
- 2: 2nd generation (ZEN+)
- 3: 3rd generation (ZEN2)
The good news is that almost all 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation CPUs are, or will be, compatible with an AM4 socket board. In any case, do the same as before to be sure, that is, take the model and place it on the page and you will see all the information.
Sockets currently available
To mount a processor in the PC we will have to find out its socket and the motherboard. The socket is where the processor is installed.
- Socket LGA 1151: Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron processors
- Socket LGA 2066: Intel Core X and XE Workstation processors
- AM4 Socket: AMD Ryzen and Athlon 9000 processors
- TR4 Socket: AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors from Workstation
These four are basically the ones that are used for the new desktop computers since a few years ago. In addition to our own socket, we need to know which processor family it supports. How do we find out the socket of the motherboard? Well very simple, we just have to take the model that is and look for it on the manufacturer’s website. Then we must identify in their specifications and within the “support” section, all compatible families.
Here we see how this motherboard has the LGA 1511 socket and is also compatible with 8th generation Intel processors. In fact, in support we will have a complete list of compatible families, easier impossible.
Having seen this, and identified the processor and the motherboard we need, now it will be turn for the most delicate, but not at all complicated, which is to change the processor of the PC.
Change PC processor step by step
In this case, we are going to change a processor from one motherboard to another. We are going to carry out this process on a desktop computer, as is logical, also carrying out the complete change of the motherboard for the new one.
The processor used for the change is an Intel Core i5 6500, i.e. 6th generation (Skylake). The motherboard I was using was an Asus B150 Pro Gaming Aura, and we’re going to replace it with an Asus Prime Z270-P. In the previous image we will see that both components are perfectly compatible, in fact, it is the most powerful chipset that supports this type of processors.
In our case, we have a liquid cooling system, so the goal is to remove all the wiring that is connected to the motherboard, but without removing absolutely any component that will not be the board itself.
- We completely shut down the PC.
- We removed the wiring in question. Internal USB connectors, boot system, EPS and ATX cables and expansion cards.
- We also remove the dissipater or refrigerator that we have. If it’s a heatsink, we’ll be able to do it once the base plate’s out.
- Finally we remove the screws from the base plate and remove it from the chassis.
In these steps we must make sure to touch something metallic or earth to discharge static electricity. It is not strictly necessary but we always recommend it, as the electronic components are sufficiently protected to withstand static electricity.
Well, it’s time to work on the processor, now it’s time to take it out of its socket to change the board.
- We clean the IHS (encapsulation) of the processor, for it we use a dry paper napkin or some not too wet towel. In any case, do not wet or touch the electrical connectors.
- Now we are going to take the right side rod, we are going to push it down and simultaneously to the right to dislodge it from the metal fixation plate.
- Continue to turn this upwards to open the fixing plate completely.
To take the processor and extract it from the socket, we must do so from the IHS with care that we do not fall. As soon as it comes out we can pick it up from the sides of the PCB for greater safety.
We shouldn’t worry about static electricity, a priori it wouldn’t have to damage a CPU, but the less we touch the contacts, the better.
It’s your turn to remove our new motherboard, do the same procedure to open the socket’s fixation plate and connect our processor. We don’t even need to remove the plastic protector, because it will go off the moment we close the plate.
- The first thing we need to do is make sure that no contact on the new plate is bent. All this must be perfectly aligned and at the same height, otherwise it is up to us to return it or repair it ourselves.
- So let’s open the socket plate.
- We are going to correctly place the processor on top of it. Notice that in the upper zone there are two semicircular grimaces, below there are not, so the correct position will be this one, because otherwise I would not enter.
- And that’s not all, since in the lower left zone we have an arrow on the CPU and a dot (or arrow) on the motherboard. These two must be lined up.
- Once the processor is in place, close the metal plate and place it under the front screw. Then take the lateral rod and close it tightly until it is in the desired position.
Do not worry about having to make too much force on this rod, it is normal because the metal plate what it does is compress the CPU on its contacts to ensure the transport of energy.
Now don’t forget to place your heatsink adapter on the new motherboard. As long as it is a custom heatsink, it will have a plate installed in the back area of the plate that is responsible for attaching the heatsink to the plate and thus bring it into contact with the IHS of the CPU. Just align the screws in the four holes in the plate and then screw the fasteners into the main area.
Now we can put the plate inside the chassis, or if you prefer place the heatsink outside and then put it.
Now it’s your turn to put it back in and finally connect all the cables in place. With the heatsink on, unless it’s a small stock heatsink, you’ll have more difficulties, although this always depends on which chassis you have clear.
- It is our turn to apply the thermal paste, we do it by means of a thin cord in straight line in the center of the CPU, but you can do it as you want, for example, throwing it in the center. We only recommend that you do not leave any closed gaps because there could be air left inside.
- Next, place the heatsink or cooler and simply connect everything in the same way.
- Finally place the expansion cards and everything will be ready to start.
Do not apply too much thermal paste, because not always more is better, even if it is not conductive in most cases the excess can fall into the socket itself dirtying everything in its path and is something we must avoid at all costs.
Do not throw too little, a small thin cord will suffice to spread throughout the area, note that both elements are practically glued together, so the thickness of the paste is going to be minimal. The thermal pastes we recommend are:
- Arctic MX-4
- Corsair TM30
- Noctua NT-H1 and H2
And finally, once the heatsink is in place, don’t take it off to see if it’s all right, because in the second glue everything will be worse.
It is an action in a single movement, then in the system you can check the temperatures, if they are very high compared to those you had previously, then you should consider that you have applied little paste or have misplaced the dissipater.