People often think that upgrading a CPU on a laptop is impossible and very risky if done yourself. It’s certainly not the case unless the CPU installed in your laptop is BGA because BGA (Ball Grid Array) CPUs are soldered onto the motherboard and cannot be removed. Today we look at how to change a CPU in a Dell laptop.
Pre-requisites before upgrading your CPU:
1) Check the compatibility of the new processor with the motherboard socket and chipset
2) A multi-purpose screw driver
3) A hard plastic card
4) A good thermal paste
1) Remove the battery
2) Remove all the marked screws at the bottom of your laptop. Different laptops have different screw configurations. New laptops have screws underneath the battery as well so make sure you unscrew them before proceeding.
3) Once removed, put the screws in a bowl so you don’t lose them
Since we are using an old Dell laptop with pPGA478 socketed Celeron processor it is easier to upgrade the processor because all we have to do is remove the back panel as shown below.
1) Once the screws have been removed from the panel which houses your Windows key, proceed with the hard plastic card to remove the panel completely.
2) You can even use the screw driver to lift the panel but if you are not careful you can damage the components so we suggest using a hard plastic card for beginners.
Once the back panel is removed you will notice a copper heatsink.
1) Unscrew all five screws of the heatsink to reveal your processor.
2) Now be careful! Because there will be two chips – CPU and Chipset. You should never touch the chipset of the motherboard.
3) CPUs are placed in the socket while chipsets are soldered on the board so it is easier to identify the correct chip.
If you still find it difficult to distinguish between the chipset and the CPU then you check the part number of both chips. Usually the chipset do not have any part numbers on the corners so the chip which states Intel along with something like this “2.2/1M/800”, it means it is the CPU because these are its specifications.
• 2.2 GHz CPU frequency
• 1 MB Cache
• 800 MHz Graphics speeds
1) Once you have identified the processor. It’s time to remove it from the socket.
2) Take the screw driver and loosen up the silver which will unlock the processor from the socket.
3) Remove the processor carefully so you do not damage the pins. Check the images below.
1) It’s time to install the new processor in your laptop.
2) You have to make sure that you align the marked corner with the socket otherwise the CPU will not fit and might get damaged as well.
3) You can refer to the image above to see the marked corner, it is supposed to come on the top right corner of the socket.
4) Once the CPU is placed on the socket, tighten the silver screw clockwise and your new processor is installed.
Apply a small amount of thermal paste on top of the processor so it spreads evenly when the heatsink is installed on top of it.
Warning! Do not over apply the thermal paste because it spread in to other components and severely damage them.
Place the heatsink on the CPU and the chipset and tighten the screws to make sure it fits perfectly.
Place the back panel back to its position and insert the screws in to their respective positions. It is always better to take picture of the screws layout so it is easier when putting back the panel.
And you are done installing your new CPU. It is extremely simple and fail safe if you follow the instructions correctly. Newer laptops do require more effort because you have to remove the keyboard and the top panel to reveal the processor but it is not so difficult. It is always important to your motherboard’s capability first before upgrading the CPU. The latest Intel Core mobile processors come with rPGA sockets which allow interchangeable CPUs. Below are the generations of sockets of new CPUs:
Do refer to this list before upgrading your CPU in the future.
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