How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (2022)

How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (1)

So you want a new processor. The bad news is, you’ll probably need a new motherboard (and maybe RAM) to go along with it. The worse news is that it’s a real pain to replace all of that hardware.

But before you replace either piece, you’ll need to select the correct hardware for the replacement. If you’re motherboard or CPU is just malfunctioning, you can just do a straight swap by installing the same model. If you’re looking to upgrade, though, you’ll need to do a bit of research first.

Picking Your New Processor And Motherboard Combo

If you want a more powerful processor, you’ll have to make sure that you have the right motherboard to support it. And since the motherboard connects to pretty much every other piece of hardware in your desktop, that’s no small matter. Go through the list in order to check all of your hardware for compatibility—if you see discrepancies, you might need to replace those pieces, too.

Which Processor Do I Want?

This is a complex question, and probably more than we can explain in this guide. Generally, faster processors and more processing cores means better performance and higher prices. But due to the complexity of CPU designs, it’s not quite so cut-and-dry: processors clocked at similar speeds but with different architecture might have wildly different performance.

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If you can afford it, you want to select the CPUs from the latest generation—they tend to be refreshed on a cycle slightly less than once a year. On the Intel side, Core i5 processors are a good balance between cost and performance; it’s more than enough for most demanding PC games, for example. Core i7 and i9 are higher-end for performance enthusiasts or workstation machines, while Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron chips are for budget builds.

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On the AMD side, the new Ryzen series offers a surprising range of performance and prices. The Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 families are good middle-of-the-road picks, some of which offer integrated Radeon graphics for mid-range gaming capabilities without a separate graphics card. Ryzen 7 and the top-tier Ryzen Threadripper series are for performance junkies.

What Socket Do I Need?

The “socket” is the part of the motherboard that holds the CPU in place and connects it with the other electronic components in the PC. Each socket generation supports a few dozen different models of CPU; they generally last a few years before they’re upgraded by the manufacturer. So, if your computer is only a few years old, you might be able to upgrade to a more powerful CPU that uses the same socket. Of course, you’ll still need to check the specs for your motherboard. Just because it has the right socket doesn’t mean every CPU that can fit into that socket is supported.

If you’re using an older PC and you want a big performance boost, you’re looking at upgrading both the CPU and the motherboard—and maybe your RAM, as well.

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The first compatibility check for the CPU socket is the brand. The two companies providing nearly the total consumer market for CPUs are AMD and Intel. Intel is the clear market leader, but AMD tends to offer similar performance at slightly lower price levels.

Intel’s consumer sockets from the last few years include the following:

  • LGA-1155: Supports Intel processors from 2011 to 2012
  • LGA-1150: Supports Intel processors from 2013 to 2015
  • LGA-1151: Supports Intel processors from 2016 to the time of writing.
  • LGA-2066: Supports the new X-series processors, only available on high-end motherboards

AMD’s recent socket lines are as follows:

  • AM3: Supports AMD processors from 2009 to 2011.
  • AM3+: Supports AMD processors from 2011 to 2016. Some Older AM3 motherboards can be upgraded to AM3+ support with a BIOS update.
  • AM4: Supports AMD processors from 2016 to the time of writing.
  • FMI: Supports AMD APU processors from 2011.
  • FM2: Supports AMD APU processors from 2012 to 2013.
  • FM2+: Supports AMD APU processor from 2015 to 2015.
  • TR4: Supports AMD’s high-end Threadripper chips from 2017 to the time of writing.

What Size Should My Motherboard Be?

The size of the motherboard depends mostly upon your case. If you use a standard ATX mid-tower case, you’ll want a full-sized ATX motherboard. If you use a compact case, like a Micro-ATX or a Mini-ITX, you’ll want the corresponding Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard. Simple, right?

No matter what size your case is, you can probably find a motherboard that fits its dimensions and your needs. For example, there are plenty of Mini-ITX motherboards that support high-end graphics cards and lots of RAM. You’re really only limited by your budget here.

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There’s no reason to go for a smaller motherboard if your case can fit a larger one, since the smaller designs tend to be more expensive with the same capabilities. But if for some reason you find a smaller one that you want, like you’re moving to a new case or you plan to go for a more compact build in the future, you’re covered. Modern cases include plenty of mounting spots for motherboards that are smaller than their maximum size.

What RAM Do I Need?

Your motherboard’s RAM support depends on which CPU and socket it’s designed to accept. Motherboards can only support one generation of desktop RAM, since they’re physically incompatible with each other. Most new motherboards will support DDR4, but a few from the last few years go for the older, cheaper DDR3.

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Motherboards also have maximum RAM capacities and speeds. So if you’re replacing your motherboard and you want to keep your current RAM, make sure it’s compatible with both the type and the amount of RAM you’re using. Also remember that the maximum RAM capacity assumes that every DIMM slot is filled. So a full-sized motherboard with four slots and a 32GB maximum capacity can accept 8GB of RAM per slot, but a smaller motherboard with only two slots and the same maximum will need 16GB of RAM in each slot to reach it. Of course, you can go for lower RAM capacities to save some money (and you might not need as much as you think you do).

Almost all desktops PCs use desktop-sized RAM modules. A few of the smaller motherboard models on the Mini-ITX standard will use the smaller laptop RAM modules instead.

What Expansion Slots And Ports Do I Need?

If you’re a gamer, you’re going to want at least one PCI-Express slot at the full size and the fastest x16 capacity. This is for your graphics card. Multi-GPU setups are rare these days, but obviously if you have more than one card, you’ll need multiple PCI-E slots to support them. The different multi-card systems (SLI and Crossfire) also require specific support for their standards from the motherboard manufacturer.

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Other expansion slots can be used for more general applications, like Wi-Fi cards, sound cards, extra USB slots, and so on. What you need depends on what your current system uses, and what you want. To cover yourself at a minimum, make sure that any hardware installed on your current system has a place to go on your new motherboard.

That said, take a look at what’s built in to the new motherboard you’re considering. If your old PC has a separate sound card and Wi-Fi card, but the new motherboard has those features built in, you might not need the extra slots for them.

(Video) How to CORRECTLY Upgrade Your CPU, Motherboard, and Graphics Card

PCI-Express and standard PCI cards come in different sizes and speeds, which don’t necessarily correspond to one another. Read this article to learn about how to spot the differences and figure out what you’ll need.

The new M.2 standard allows for high-density, high-speed solid state storage drives to be mounted directly to the motherboard, without plugging in a conventional hard drive or SSD. If you’re not using an M.2 drive right now, you don’t necessarily need that feature on your new motherboard, but it’s a nice perk if you plan to upgrade.

Other motherboard hardware is dependent on either the components that you currently have, or the ones you want. You’ll need to make sure that there are enough SATA slots for all of your storage and disc drives, and there generally are on most motherboards. You’ll need to have a video port on the main motherboard input/output plate that’s compatible with your monitor, if you’re not using a discrete graphics card. You’ll need enough USB ports for all your accessories, an Ethernet port if you won’t be using Wi-Fi, and so on. Use common sense here and you’ll be covered.

What About My Power Supply?

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Good question. If the processor you’re upgrading to requires significantly more power than your current system uses, you might need to upgrade it as well.

There are two more variables to consider here: the main motherboard power cable and the CPU power cable. Motherboard power cables come in 20 pin and 24 pin varieties. Most modern power supplies have a cable that terminates in a 20 pin connector, but features an additional 4 pin connector to accommodate the 24 pin slots.

The CPU power cable also plugs into the motherboard, but closer to the CPU socket. Depending on the design of your CPU and its power requirements, these can come in 4 pin and 8 pin designs. Some high-performance sockets need separate 8 pin and 4 pin cables for a total of 12. Check your power supply’s specifications to see what it supports.

How to Change Out Only the CPU

If you have an identical CPU you want to swap out in your system, or one that’s compatible with your current machine’s socket and other hardware, it’s not a huge hassle to get it out. Follow the steps below.

You’ll need a Phillips-head screwdriver and a clean, dry place to work, preferably without a carpet. If your home is particularly static-prone, you might want to use an anti-static bracelet. A cup or bowl is also handy for holding loose screws. You can re-use the CPU cooler from your current system or replace it with a new one, but if your new CPU doesn’t include thermal paste in the package, you’ll need to get that as well. Thermal paste helps conduct heat from your CPU into the CPU cooler, and it’s a necessity.

First, unplug all the power and data cables from your PC and move it to your workspace. Remove the screws holding the left-side access panel from the case—these are on the back of the machine, screwed into the edge. You can then slide the access panel off and set it aside. (If your case is a small or unusual design, consult the manual for precise instructions.)

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Set the PC on its side, with the motherboard facing up. You should be able to look down at the motherboard with all its various ports and connections. The CPU cooler is the large gadget with a big piece of metal (the heat sink) and one or more fans attached to it.

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You’ll need to remove the cooler before you can access the CPU. For our Intel stock cooler, this is relatively simple: we just turn the thumbscrews at all four corners, and then lift it off. This process can be complex if you’re using an aftermarket cooler, requiring adapters and some tight working.

Consult the manual for your cooler if it’s not obvious. More complex water-cooled systems might also require advanced techniques. You can also likely find videos on the internet of people removing and attaching the cooler you’re using. It’s worth doing a bit of research.

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Before you lift the cooler away, check the power cable attached to the fan. It’s probably plugged into a 4 pin power adapter, somewhere near the CPU socket. Gently pull it out, and you can then remove the entire cooler.

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How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (13)

You’re now looking down directly at your computer’s CPU. The gelatinous stuff on top of it is the thermal paste that allows heat to efficiently transfer to the cooler. Don’t worry if it’s a little messy.

You’ll now want to lift the retention plate off of the CPU. The method for doing this varies from socket to socket, but there’s generally a lever holding it down and/or a screw for extra security. On our Intel LGA-1151 socket, we release the lever and lift the plate.

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At this point the only thing holding the CPU in is gravity. Carefully grasp it with your finger and lift it out. Set it aside. If it’s broken and you have no use left for it, you don’t need to baby it. But if you’re hoping to use it in the future, you’ll want to clean off the thermal paste with a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol and put it in an anti-static bag. You’ll also want to do the same for the bottom of the heatsink you removed, if you’re planning on using it again.

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(Video) How to Install / Swap your PC Motherboard STEP BY STEP

Now take a look at the CPU socket on the motherboard. If there’s any thermal paste left on the socket near the electrical contact pins in the socket itself, carefully clean them with a dry cloth or a Q-tip. You’re trying to avoid getting any paste in between the CPU and those contact pins when you install the new CPU.

(If you’re upgrading to a larger CPU cooler at this point, stop. You may need to install a backplate on the opposite side of the motherboard. Consult the instructions if you’re not sure.)

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Now remove the new CPU from its packaging. Insert it into the open CPU socket on the motherboard. Most modern CPU designs can only fit in one way—check contacts on the bottom of the CPU and the socket to make sure you’re installing it correctly. It should slide or sit in place easily, without you putting any pressure on it.

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When you’ve seated the CPU, lower the plate onto it, and install whatever retention method is used on the socket. Don’t force it too hard: if you feel more than a pound (half a kilogram) of force pushing back on your finger, the CPU may not be properly seated. Pull it out and try again.

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If the cooler that came with your CPU has thermal paste pre-applied to the bottom, you’re ready to install it. If not, then squeeze about a pea-sized drop of thermal paste onto the center of the CPU from the paste tube. You don’t need a lot. It spreads out evenly when you lock the cooler into place.

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How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (20)

Now re-install the cooler. Again, the method for doing so will vary based on the cooler design. If you’re upgrading to a newer, larger cooler, you’ll be placing it on the backing plate I mentioned earlier. If you’re replacing it with a stock cooler, just screw it down. In either case, don’t forget to plug the cooling fan in on one of the 4 pin fan plugs on the motherboard when it’s in place.

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How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (22)

With the CPU and cooler re-installed, you’re ready to close up your PC case. Replace the access panel and screw it in on the back of the frame. Now return it to its normal spot and power it on for a test.

Replacing the Motherboard And CPU

This is the more complex operation. You’ll need to go about halfway to completely disassembling your PC to get an old motherboard out and a new one in. Set aside a couple of hours for this task if you’re generally familiar with PC hardware, and maybe a bit longer if you’re not.

Also note that replacing your motherboard, especially with a different model, generally requires you to re-install your operating system and restore it. Before you begin, you’ll want to back up all your data and settings, if possible, and have installation media for your new operating system ready to go. Really, you should consider this more building a new computer and reusing old parts than simply upgrading your computer.

You’ll need the same tools as above: a Phillips-head screwdriver, a clean place to work, possibly an anti-static bracelet, and some bowls or cups to hold onto screws. Before attempting to replace the CPU cooler, make sure you have some thermal paste (or that it’s pre-applied to a new cooler).

First, unplug all the power and data cables from your PC and move it to your workspace. Remove the screws holding the left-side access panel from the case—these are on the back of the machine, screwed into the edge. You can then slide the access panel off and set it aside. (If your case is a small or unusual design, consult the manual for precise instructions.)

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Set the PC on its side, with the motherboard facing up. You should be able to look down at the motherboard with all its various ports and connections.

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You’ll need to unplug almost everything from the motherboard to get it out of the case. If there are other components blocking physical access to it, like case fans, you’ll also have to take them out. A handy trick is to keep your phone handy and take lots of pictures: snap a photo or two with each cable and component you remove. You can refer to them later if you get confused.

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We’ll start with the graphics card, if you have one. First remove the power rail from the top or side of the GPU. Then remove the screw holding it in place on the back of the case.

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Now look for a plastic tab on the PCI-Express slot on the motherboard. Pull it away from the graphics card and press down, and you should hear a “snap.” At this point you can gently pull the graphics card out and set it aside. Repeat this process for any other PCI-E expansion cards you might have.

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(Video) How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU on Motherboard

Next, we’ll get the CPU cooler. The removal method will differ depending on what kind of cooler you’re using. Intel and AMD stock coolers can be removed simply, but larger, more elaborate air coolers and liquid coolers might need you to access the opposite side of the motherboard to remove a backing plate. If your CPU cooler is small enough that it isn’t blocking any other cables, you might be able to leave it in place.

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How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (29)

With the CPU cooler removed, it’s time to unplug the main motherboard power cable. This is the long one with 20 or 24 pins. You can leave it hanging loosely. Do the same for the 4 or 8 pin power cable near the CPU socket.

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Now unplug your storage and disc drives. For most recent machines, these are SATA cables. Just pull them out and leave them dangling.

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Next, go for the case connections and fans. For most modern cases, this includes one or more cables going to a port marked “USB” on your motherboard, one marked “AUDIO” or “HD AUDIO,” and several small cables plugged into the input-output ports.

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These can be particularly tricky—take note of their positions, and take a photo if you have your phone handy. Any case fans that are plugged directly into the motherboard should now be unplugged as well—they generally go into four-pin plugs around the edges.

You can leave your RAM installed at this point—it will be easier to remove it with the motherboard free. Ditto for any M.2 storage drives or expansions.

You’re almost ready to being the removal process. Make sure there aren’t any components or cables that will snag as you’re removing the large printed circuit board. If some power or data cables are in the way, you may need to unplug them as well.

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Now, locate the screws holding the motherboard in place in the case. There are four to eight of them, depending on the size of the motherboard and the case design. They can be tricky to spot, especially if they’re dark screws and you don’t have much lighting. If you’re not sure exactly where they are, you might want to consult your motherboard’s manual.

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With the retention screws removed, you can grasp the motherboard with both hands and lift it free of the case. You’ll need to pull it slightly to your right to get it clear of the I/O plate, the small piece of metal between the ports on the back of the motherboard and the plate itself. If it catches on anything, stay calm, set it down, and remove the obstruction. When you have the motherboard clear of the case, set it aside.

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If you’re replacing your motherboard with a new model, pull the I/O plate out of the case. If you’re replacing it with an identical motherboard, leave it in place.

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If you’re re-using your current CPU, remove it from the socket with the instructions in the section above this one. If not, continue on to the next step.

Remove the RAM DIMMs from the motherboard. This is easy: just press down on the tabs on either side of the RAM, then pull them free of the slot. If you’re using an M.2 storage drive, remove it now—just remove the retention screw and pull it out of the slot.

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Now switch to your new motherboard. If you’re using a CPU cooler that’s oversized and needs a backing plate, install it now while you have easy access. If not, then install your RAM into the new motherboard—either the DIMMs you just removed or the ones you’ve bought for compatibility with the new board. Re-install your M.2 drive if you’re using it.

Next comes the CPU, so remove the new one from its packaging. The exact steps differ from socket to socket, but generally there’s a tension bar that you’ll need to release, at which point you can lift the plate that holds the CPU in place.

(Video) Guide: What to do AFTER building your computer...

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Insert it into the open CPU socket on the motherboard. Most modern CPU designs can only fit in one way—check contacts on the bottom of the CPU and the socket to make sure you’re installing it correctly. It should slide or sit in place with no extra pressure.

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Lower the plate onto the CPU, and install whatever retention method is used on the socket. Don’t force it too hard: if you feel more than a pound (half a kilogram) of force pushing back on your finger, the CPU may not be properly seated. Pull it out and try again.

If your CPU cooler is small enough that it won’t interfere with any screws or power rails, like most stock coolers, you can install it now to avoid the awkwardness of installing it inside the case. If thermal paste is pre-applied to the bottom of the cooler, just set it down and screw it in place. If not, put a pea-sized amount of thermal paste on the top of the CPU, then lower the cooler on top of it.

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How To Upgrade and Install a New CPU or Motherboard (or Both) (41)

Install the cooler according to the design and the instructions. Plug the power cable for the CPU fan into an open four-pin slot on the motherboard near the CPU.

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You’re ready to re-install the new motherboard in the case. If it’s a new model, place the new I/O plate in the back of the case. It goes in with simple pressure: just stick the metal rectangle into the open slot in the case.

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Lower the motherboard down onto the risers, the small metal pieces that accept the retention screws. You may need to adjust it a bit to fit it into the I/O plate. Make sure that there aren’t any cables hiding underneath the board as you set it into place on the risers.

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Now replace the motherboard retention screws. Simply screw them into place, putting them through the holes in the circuit board of the motherboard and down onto the threads in the risers. They should be firmly in place, but don’t over-tighten them, or you might crack your motherboard.

Now, simply go in reverse for the process that you performed to remove the motherboard. Replace the data and power cables in the same spots. Check them as you proceed:

  • Main motherboard power cable (20 or 24 pin)
  • CPU power cable (4 or 8 pin)
  • SATA cables for hard drives, SSDs, and disc drives
  • Case cables for USB, audio, and the I/O plate
  • Any case fans plugged into the 4 pin plugs on the motherboard

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Replace the GPU, if you have one. Install it with the reverse process: place it back in the longest PCI-Express slot, press down, and lift the plastic tab to lock it in place. Replace the screw that holds it into the back of the case, and plug in the power rail from the power supply. Now do the same for any other expansion cards you have.

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If you haven’t already installed your CPU cooler because it’s large enough to block access to some of the motherboard slots, do so now. Follow the same steps as the external installation above, with any adaptations you may need for its specific design.

If all your connections are back in place, you’re ready to close it up. Replace the access panel from the case, and screw it into place on the back of the case with its retention screws. You can now move your PC back to its normal position and power it up. If it doesn’t turn on, you’ve missed a step somewhere—double-check your connections, and make sure the switch on the back of the power supply is in the “on” position.

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If you’ve replaced only your CPU only, you shouldn’t need to make any changes to your system. Ditto if you’ve replaced your motherboard with an identical model, though you may need to adjust the boot order in BIOS/UEFI if you’ve changed the position of your SATA data cables. If you’ve replaced your motherboard with a different model, you’ll probably need to reinstall your operating system at this point.

Image credit: Amazon, Amazon, Newegg, Cooler Master,

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FAQs

What do I need to install a new CPU and motherboard? ›

Disconnect all cables and remove all expansion cards from the current motherboard. Remove the screws that secure the old motherboard and remove the motherboard. If you are reusing the CPU and/or memory, remove them from the old motherboard and install them on the new one.

How do I upgrade my motherboard to a new CPU? ›

How to Update Motherboard BIOS - YouTube

Do I need to upgrade my motherboard if I upgrade my CPU? ›

You have to make sure that the motherboard has the compatible SOCKET for the CPU. If the socket of the your new CPU does not match that of the motherboard, then you will need to upgrade the motherboard. It is worth noting that many times a motherboard socket is shared across CPU generations.

Can I upgrade my CPU and motherboard? ›

Yes, you can easily upgrade CPUs in Desktop PCs. You'll have to make sure the CPU you want to get is compatible with the Motherboard and CPU Cooler that you already have. Also, you might have to upgrade some other components as well to make the new CPU compatible.

How do I upgrade my CPU? ›

  1. Ensure that your CPU is compatible with your motherboard. ...
  2. (Optional) Back up your data. ...
  3. (Optional) Update your BIOS. ...
  4. Gather your tools. ...
  5. Crack open your PC. ...
  6. Remove the heatsink or fan. ...
  7. Clean off the old thermal paste. ...
  8. Remove the old processor.
Mar 8, 2021

How do I install a new motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10? ›

Go to Settings > Update & security > Troubleshoot > I changed hardware on this device recently. Next, sign in your Microsoft Account again and click the Activate button. Then, Windows 10 will grab the activation key from your online Microsoft account and re-link it to your computer with its freshly-upgraded hardware.

How do you install a CPU? ›

How to Install a CPU - YouTube

How do I update my motherboard with new CPU and BIOS? ›

How to update the BIOS
  1. Download the latest BIOS (or UEFI) from manufacturer's website.
  2. Unzip it and copy to a spare USB flash drive.
  3. Restart your computer and enter the BIOS / UEFI.
  4. Use the menus to update the BIOS / UEFI.
Jul 10, 2020

How do I upgrade my CPU Windows 10? ›

Search “windows settings” in the Taskbar Search column, select the first search result and you will open the Windows Update Settings. 2. Check and install the Windows updates. This is how to update CPU drivers by updating the Windows operating system.

How do I know if my motherboard is compatible with a CPU? ›

So the simplest answer to the question “what CPU is compatible with my motherboard” is to find out what socket it supports and then choose a motherboard that has the supported socket. Sockets are also shared across different motherboard chipset generations as well.

Do you need to reinstall Windows after replacing CPU? ›

In general, you don't have to reinstall Windows if you change your CPU. However, one must reinstall Windows when they change the motherboard of their PC. This ensures that all drivers work as expected to get optimal performance from their newly built computer system.

Will a better CPU increase FPS? ›

Many games now use more cores as a matter of course (the quad-core CPU seems to be the most prevalent), and thus experience faster and better FPS rates.

How do I install a motherboard? ›

Steps for How to Install Motherboard
  1. Step 1: Prepare your Tools. ...
  2. Step 2: Unpack the Board. ...
  3. Step 3: Measure where the Motherboard goes. ...
  4. Step 4: Screw in the Standoffs. ...
  5. Step 5: Remove Unnecessary Bits. ...
  6. Step 6: Install I/O Shield. ...
  7. Step 7: Slide the Motherboard into Place. ...
  8. Step 8: Screw the Motherboard.
Jun 14, 2021

How can I upgrade my motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows? ›

Replace motherboard without reinstalling Windows via AOMEI Backupper. Universal Restore is a feature of backup software AOMEI Backupper that allows you to restore Windows system to another computer with dissimilar hardware. It guaratees that your computer can successfully boot without changing any settings.

Why should I upgrade my CPU? ›

Increased processing power, which can lead to faster application and system start-ups, as well as smoother gameplay. Better graphics performance, making games look more realistic and allowing you to play at higher resolutions or with more detailed settings.

Do I have to reinstall Windows 10 with a new motherboard and CPU? ›

Yes, it's recommended to reinstall windows following a CPU and motherboard upgrade. You could try and run your old OS to see if you'll have major ongoing issues.

Do I need to install drivers for new CPU? ›

In general, no. CPUs don't have drivers and don't need them to run. Your system does need to install its chipset drivers — related to the motherboard — in order to integrate all the components together and use all of your system's features.

What do I need to do before replacing my motherboard? ›

Before replacing a motherboard, it is important to do all the following:
  1. Remove the CPU and CPU fan.
  2. Remove adapters from expansion slots.
  3. Remove memory chips from expansion slots.
  4. Disconnect power connectors.
  5. Disconnect ribbon cables.
  6. Disconnect external devices such as mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
Mar 10, 2017

Do I need a new Windows key for a new motherboard? ›

If you change the motherboard you do not have any activation on the new motherboard. Therefore you must have a retail purchased key or get a new one.

So a full-sized motherboard with four slots and a 32GB maximum capacity can accept 8GB of RAM per slot, but a smaller motherboard with only two slots and the same maximum will need 16GB of RAM in each slot to reach it.. There are two more variables to consider here: the main motherboard power cable and the CPU power cable.. The CPU power cable also plugs into the motherboard, but closer to the CPU socket.. Larger aftermarket CPU coolers need a support plate on the back of the motherboard.Now remove the new CPU from its packaging.. Intel and AMD stock coolers can be removed simply, but larger, more elaborate air coolers and liquid coolers might need you to access the opposite side of the motherboard to remove a backing plate.. With the CPU cooler removed, it’s time to unplug the main motherboard power cable.. Plug the power cable for the CPU fan into an open four-pin slot on the motherboard near the CPU.. Main motherboard power cable (20 or 24 pin) CPU power cable (4 or 8 pin) SATA cables for hard drives, SSDs, and disc drives Case cables for USB, audio, and the I/O plate Any case fans plugged into the 4 pin plugs on the motherboard

This article will teach you how to install a CPU processor on the motherboard for desktop computers step by step.. Search the motherboard number online and find its compatibility details.. If you finally fail to find a CPU that can match your current motherboard, or, if your old motherboard can’t support the modern CPU processor that you like very much, you can change your mind to get a new motherboard that is compatible with your new CPU.. Yet, if you decide to replace your old motherboard, you will probably need to upgrade your old RAM still due to compatibility problems.. If not, just follow the below steps to remove the old CPU processor out of the current motherboard.. Then, you can remove the CPU processor from the socket on the motherboard.. If you upgrade your motherboard, or your new CPU is quietly different from your old one, or you have boot issues after installing the new CPU processor, you should reinstall your operating system to fit your new hardware equipment.

In your computer, all other components like Ram, Processor, Hard Drive , power supply etcetera are connected to the motherboard.. Then you must upgrade to a more powerful and compatible motherboard.. Detach all the cables and wires which are connecting the motherboard to the power supply, case’s front panel, hard drives, fans etcetera.. The motherboard is the main board of your PC by which all other components of your PC are connected and perform as a computer.. Sometimes, your motherboard may fail to perform or you may want to upgrade a PC component that is not compatible with your motherboard.

Operation 1: Back up the Windows OS before Upgrade Before the upgrade, change, or replacement of the motherboard and CPU, we strongly suggest creating a system image backup to avoid any accidents.. Operation 3: Upgrade Your Motherboard and CPU After creating a bootable USB drive or CD/DVD disc with a system backup, now you can start changing the motherboard and CPU.. To replace the dead motherboard and install a new motherboard in Windows 7, you should ensure the motherboard you choose can be installed in the computer case and pay attention to the motherboard's port.. In this case, in addition to using MiniTool ShadowMaker to perform a universal restore (mentioned in Operation 4 ), you can choose to use an offline Registry Editor to modify the Windows Registry to upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows.. With these three steps, you now know how to upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10, and how to reactivate the OS as well.

Place your desktop on a hard surface, such as wood, and avoid placing it on carpets or blankets – after all, you don’t want to encourage static electricity build-up.. If you are performing a CPU upgrade rather than installing one from scratch, you’ll first need to whip your old chip out of the system.. Now that your processor replacement can commence, anything from here on also applies to those installing a CPU into a brand new motherboard, too.. Please note: New CPU coolers often come with thermal paste pre-applied, and putting on any more could cause issues.. The first thing to do when a problem like this arises is to check how tight you’ve screwed the cooler onto the motherboard.

The hard part is not the hardware installation –modern motherboards are easier to set up and install than in years past–it’s bringing up an existing Windows installation and all your applications.. I’ll focus on the process with Windows 7, but I’ll also offer tips and tricks for Windows XP and Windows Vista.. The latest Intel chipset drivers, which you can download from Intel’s Website, are generally supersets, so the driver for your motherboard will also install drivers and .INF files for newer chipsets.. Note that these files aren’t actually active in your system, but are enumerated and installed when you bring up Windows for the first time on the new board.. If you are migrating between similar chipsets (old Intel to new Intel, for example) and are running Intel RAID or AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode, update the Intel RAID drivers to the latest version.. The system to be upgraded had an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU running on an Intel DX48BT2 motherboard, which uses an Intel X48 chipset.. Don’t forget to install the ATX I/O back plate, or you’ll find yourself removing the motherboard to install it.. After you’ve installed the motherboard, CPU, memory, and cooler, it’s time to attach all of the connectors.. Before you attempt to boot into Windows, get into the BIOS setup program by pressing F2 (Intel motherboards) or Del (most other motherboards).. You want to check the boot order, particularly if you have more than one hard drive–you need to make sure that the Windows boot drive is the first drive the system sees.. Since I installed the latest Intel motherboard drivers prior to taking out the old motherboard, this process went smoothly for me.. If you’re upgrading a Windows XP installation, boot from the Windows XP CD.

I would like to upgrade the motherboard and CPU of my computer, which runs Windows 10.. And if you try to replace motherboard and CPU without reinstalling, Windows 10/8/7 and older systems like Windows XP will most likely fail to boot, because they lack the drivers required to boot Windows after replacing major hardware.. Universal Restore is a feature of backup software AOMEI Backupper that allows you to restore Windows system to another computer with dissimilar hardware.. After replacing motherboard and CPU, your Windows may fail to boot, so you need to create a bootable media in advance.. Press DEL or F2 repeatedly at computer startup to change boot order and set the bootable disk you created as the first boot option.. Here are two ways, including Restore this system backup , Restore a partition in this system backup .. Before replacing motherboard and CPU in Windows 8/10 or Server 2012, you need to change the msahci key in Registry, because it has been replaced by StorAHCI in these systems.. Step Ⅰ: link Windows account to online Microsoft account Only when you link your Windows 10/8 account to a Microsoft account, you can reactivate your Windows after upgrading motherboard and CPU.. Step Ⅲ: activate your Windows after replacing motherboard and CPU You may need to reactivate Windows 10/8 after upgrading motherboard, just follow the steps below to make it.. Upgrade the motherboard and tell Windows 10 to reactivate after the boot: Settings > Update & security > Troubleshoot > I changed hardware on this device recently .. Start your computer from installation disc, press F2 or Del repeatedly to enter BIOS, set the disc as the first boot option, then press F10 to save changes and restart.

Upgrading and replacing PC components can be a little tricky, but it’s something anyone can learn to do.. If you don’t have a non-carpeted area to work, consider investing in an anti-static bracelet .. When you’re disassembling PCs you’re going to have a lot of loose screws.. The easiest way to improve the performance of your PC is to upgrade its RAM .. It’s really one of the best upgrades you can make.. Physically, replacing a hard drive is pretty simple.. Desktops have dedicated bays for storage drives, and they connect to the motherboard and power supply with standardized SATA cables.. You’ll probably spend more time re-installing the operating system, if you’re replacing the primary storage drive.. If it’s your first time installing a hard drive, plan on it taking 20-30 minutes.. However, if you’re replacing your only drive (or just the one on which your OS is installed), you’ll also need to account for the time you need to reinstall or transfer your operating system.. Replacing or installing a graphics card should go pretty quickly.. If you want to upgrade to a faster CPU, you’ll often have to swap out the motherboard, too (and maybe even upgrade your RAM).. You should set aside a few hours for this type of upgrade, if you’ve never done it before.. Your computer’s power supply is directly connected to the motherboard, the CPU, every storage drive and disc drive, sometimes a discrete graphics card, and often the case’s cooling fans.. Replacing requires you to disassemble a good bit of the PC (at the least, you’ll have to unplug the power cables to all components).

Most cases are designed for ATX form factor motherboards, but some can fit smaller mATX motherboards, and yet others can fit even smaller ITX motherboards.. You need to limit your motherboard search to only the motherboards that can fit into your computer’s case.. Decent, if spartan, motherboards start at about $80, but you will get meaningfully better motherboards for your money up until about the $250 price point.. Start by powering down and disconnecting any cords or cables attached to your PC, then open up the side of your computer’s case so that you can access the motherboard.. Finally, it’s time to disconnect all of the power cabling plugged into your motherboard.. On most motherboards there will be a smaller 8-pin CPU power connector near the top of the motherboard, and a much larger 24-pin ATX power connector near the middle of the left side of the motherboard.. Thomas Ryan. A motherboard’s 8-pin power connector.. It’s time to break out your favorite Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the screws holding the old motherboard to the mounting points in your PC’s case.. With the old motherboard free, you’ll need to remove its CPU cooler, CPU, and RAM so you can install it into your new motherboard.. Once that’s done, it’s time to get your new motherboard in your PC.. Thomas Ryan. Install the CPU, CPU cooler, and RAM in your new motherboard, insert your motherboard’s I/O shield in the rear of your case, then place the motherboard into your empty case.. Reuse the screws that held your old motherboard in place to secure your new motherboard.. Thomas Ryan. A completed motherboard sitting inside a PC case.. If you run into problems getting your computer to boot properly after you’ve replaced your motherboard, contact your motherboard manufacturer or ask for help on one of the many computer building forums around the web.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide) Nothing will stop your CPU upgrade in its tracks faster than finding out that your computer can't support your new processor.. (Image credit: Tom's Guide) I admit that I'm a little superstitious about this, but my philosophy is this: If you're going to swap out a computer part, back up anything that you can't bear to lose first.. (Image credit: Tom's Guide) Updating your Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is one of those things you don't strictly have to do, but could help head off a potential problem at the pass.. (Image credit: Tom's Guide) The heatsink is the part of your computer that connects to your processor on one end, and your fan on the other end.. (Image credit: Tom's Guide) Technically, the world wouldn't end if you leave old thermal paste on your heatsink or fan.

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer licenses come preinstalled on the hardware you purchase and are linked to the motherboard in the device Retail: You purchase a retail license online and can transfer the license between different computers Volume: Microsoft issues volume licenses in bulk to large organizations, such as businesses, universities, or governments, and allows a single license key to activate numerous installations. If you attempt to swap out the motherboard on a Windows 10 machine using an OEM or Volume license, there is a strong chance the new installation will not activate Windows 10.. When Windows 10 was announced, Microsoft confirmed that existing Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 license holders would receive a free upgrade to Windows 10.. If Windows 10 will not activate after installing a new motherboard and you upgraded to Windows 10 via Windows 7 or 8/8.1, you can attempt to activate Windows 10 on the new hardware combination using your old product key.. Input the product key associated with your Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 license and select Next.. Windows 10 OEM and Volume license holders can attempt to upgrade their motherboard without reinstalling Windows.. Did you upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10?

So if you are checking out the options to find if you can upgrade the motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10, you would definitely want to read on.. You would definitely not want to reinstall Windows 10.. Wondering how to change the motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10?You can put several options to use for upgrading the motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10 or any other operating system .. Altering a few registry entries can help you upgrade your motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10.. Set the disc as the first boot device Save your BIOS settings Restart your system Go to Repair your computer option Follow the path Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt Type regedit to reach Registry Editor Highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key, choose the File option and then Load Hive Go to System Drive and pick the options for open system files.. Will Windows 10 work if I change my motherboard?. Can I change the CPU in my computer?. Make sure that you have activated your account after replacing the motherboard.

So here is a quick post about it, especially things to watch out for and gotchas you may encounter.. Further googling (on another PC) revealed that although my motherboard supported the CPU, it required an upgraded BIOS to do so.. And, annoyingly for me, the motherboard didn’t support FlashBIOS so the only way to update the BIOS was from the BIOS, and I was faced with a chicken & egg situation of not being able to get into BIOS with the new CPU.. The only solution was to swap back to the old CPU in order to be able to boot into BIOS.. I browsed through to my motherboard manufacturer’s website, downloaded the new BIOS and updater, followed the instructions for creating a USB stick for upgrading, and then set about swapping the CPU back to the old one.. I got away with it on the swap back to the old CPU, successfully booted to BIOS, applied the updated BIOS, powered down, and set about swapping the CPUs again to re-install the new CPU.. So, another CPU swap to go back to the old CPU.. A raised ridge around the socket makes sure the CPU is accurately aligned so that the correct contacts on the socket are touching the correct pads on the CPU.. Some of the contacts on the socket were bent and misaligned.. That’s why it is important to install CPUs with the motherboard horizontal, as then gravity is working with you not against you.. At this point I really should have come to my senses and called it a night and gone to bed.. Time for bed.. Once the replacement motherboard had arrived, and I had very carefully installed the new CPU into it (on the workbench, laid flat, and properly observing anti-static procedures, like I should have done in the first place), and carefully installed it into the case, everything worked fine and I had a working system again, albeit at extra expense.. I also sold the old CPU on eBay and got a little back for it, although not much.. Always undertake these things when well-rested and sober, preferably in daylight.

This will require an installation media to be created by downloading an installation package from the internet and installing Windows as a fresh new installation.. You will have to make sure that your boot drive is set to the correct drive and that you have the same SATA configuration as your last setting with your old motherboard.. Download the Windows 10 media installation tool and run it once you downloaded it and follow the prompts in order to prepare the flash drive with a new installation package.. Once you have prepared the USB flash drive, unplug all other drives from your computer except the hard drive that you are going to be installing Windows onto.. You will want to keep the ordinary boot drive settings to have your old drive as the first boot drive.. This is because, the installation process will only need to boot from your USB drive once, and every time thereafter, you will need to boot from the old hard drive.. Once you exit the BIOS, the computer will boot from the USB drive, starting the Windows installation procedure.. The installation software will automatically configure the partitions on your drive and begin the installation by copying some files over to the drive.

To those of you afraid of working inside your computer: I too used to be like you, until I learned that computer hardware isn t the mysterious bad-boy you always thought.. Prepare the case Most cases come with brass standoffs that you'll need to screw into your case.. Install your CPU Installing your CPU in your motherboard is a very simple but delicate process.. Find the corresponding corner on your motherboard's CPU socket and gently lower the CPU into the socket.. Install the Heatsink/Fan Installing your CPU's stock heatsink and fan is also a relatively painless process.. Hook the heatsink to the socket, then pull the locking arm until it snaps into place.. Install your motherboard You're almost there.. After that, your motherboard and CPU installation is complete!

Will I have to upgrade my motherboard when I upgrade my CPU?. You don’t want to upgrade your CPU all the time , so there is no point upgrading it unless you are going to significantly upgrade your CPU.. Remember that if you upgrade your CPU, you may have to upgrade a bunch of other parts as well .. You will need to be careful if you try to reuse your old one because you can run into problems with glitches.. In the end, you want to upgrade your processor or replace the CPU when you are capable of doing so to improve your computer.. You can afford a better CPU that is worthy of an upgrade ; You have the sockets and chipsets that you need or you can purchase them with the upgrade; You have a power supply that can handle the new CPU; You can cool the CPU properly. As long as you take the time to upgrade your CPU in a smart way that respects the pieces you already have in your computer, you should make the switch.. However, upgrading your CPU can just be the start of a chain reaction of upgrading everything on your computer .

Videos

1. How to Install a CPU
(Linus Tech Tips)
2. How to Upgrade Motherboard and CPU without Reinstalling Windows
(AOMEI)
3. How to replace your PC’s motherboard in 8 easy steps | Hardware
(PCGamesN)
4. Transfer Windows 10 To New Motherboard & CPU + Digital License Transfer
(The Grok Shop)
5. Upgrading motherboard without reinstalling windows 10?
(PIF DIY)
6. How to Update Your BIOS Without a CPU
(Greg Salazar)

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