How to Upgrade a Laptop CPU: Ultimate Guide

How to Upgrade a Laptop CPU: Ultimate Guide

As laptops become more and more powerful, many users are looking to upgrade their CPU. This can be a daunting task, but with a little research and careful planning, it can be done relatively easily. Here are the steps to take to upgrade a laptop CPU.

When Do You Need to Replace the CPU on Your Laptop?

The most popular reason is when the “native” processor is obsolete, and you want to optimize the laptop. Digital equipment is becoming faster and more powerful every year, and components released five or more years ago, although they continue to work properly, some tasks are no longer able to solve. Then you can replace the processor in the laptop for a more powerful – it is cheaper than buying a new device.

When Do You Need to Replace the CPU on Your Laptop?

In addition to upgrading your laptop, you need to replace the processor when it fails: for example, as a result of overheating or malfunction. But you must be sure that this component is the cause of the malfunction. Only then it makes sense to look further for information on how to replace the processor on a laptop. In some cases, it is not necessary to install a new processor – it is enough to examine the condition of the thermal paste. If it is too viscous, there is too much or, conversely, not enough, they have already dried up, the central microchip can regularly overheat under load, and then shut down the system. Here, the best solution is to replace the thermal paste and not the CPU.

Laptop CPU Types

The type of CPU installed on your device determines whether or not it can be swapped out. Let’s find out if it’s removable or integrated into the motherboard. To do this, look up the model name in the Device Manager and use the manufacturer’s site or another reliable source to determine whether it is removable or not (that is, whether it supports swapping). If yes, it has the abbreviation PGA (pin grid array). These chips use miniature pins which are inserted into a dedicated socket. If you see another abbreviation, BGA (ball grid array), then the microprocessor is fixed. In the first case, feel free to read this article further, because you will be able to change this part yourself. There is no definite answer to the question on which laptops you can replace the processor – everything is individual. By the way, even with the same manufacturer, the same microchip models can be produced in different modifications and come in both removable and non-removable, so be very careful!

Laptop CPU Types

How to choose a CPU for your laptop? It is important to consider its compatibility with the previous one and the system as a whole. Here you need to pay attention to three parameters:

  • socket;
  • The code name of the core;
  • The thermal power (denoted as TDP).

These parameters must match perfectly. If they don’t match, in the first case you won’t physically be able to insert the microchip in its allotted space, in the second case the platform chipset won’t be able to address the processor, and in the third case the system won’t cope with the heat dissipation. You can choose a replacement processor suitable for your laptop model at specialized resources (for example, IT forums), where comparison tables of component compliance are often given. There you can also pick up other parts that will be possible to replace while disassembling the case – for example, a video card or hard drive.

Laptops With the Ability to Replace the CPU

The market can be divided into laptops with the ability to replace the CPU. More often it is not about specific models, but rather about the manufacturers. For example, it is often possible to replace the processor on a laptop brand Asus and Acer, if these are older models. In the case of HP, this service operation can be done with the vast majority of devices, similarly things are done with Dell products. In Lenovo the situation is ambiguous, there may be variations. In Samsung there are also different types of architecture. You are lucky if you happen to have a laptop with a replaceable graphics card and CPU – here the upgrade will bring more results, especially if in parallel you increase the amount of RAM.

Laptops Without the Ability to Replace the CPU

Their owners are less fortunate – their upgrade options are very limited. Replacing a soldered-in CPU is a nontrivial and very difficult task for an untrained person. Is it possible to replace the soldered processor on a laptop? The answer is yes, but with such requests, it is recommended to contact only specialized service centers. There they know exactly how to replace a non-removable CPU, are aware of the high responsibility (and give a guarantee on the work), as well as know all the subtleties of this process. This means that the risks for their customers are minimal.

Installing the CPU in Your Laptop With Your Own Hands

Is it possible to change the processor on the laptop on a more powerful? Yes, and now we will tell you how to do it at home. For work you will need a minimum set of devices: a screwdriver, a cloth and thermal paste. Thermal paste effectively removes heat from the heated computer component to the cooler, thanks to it the processor does not overheat even under high load – when you run heavy applications like modern shooters, graphics and video editors. The higher the thermal conductivity of the paste, the better. Thermal paste is applied to the processor just before installing the processor into a special compartment.

Installing the CPU in Your Laptop With Your Own Hands

Another thing that experts recommend to do in advance is to update the BIOS. If the system has the latest version of firmware, it is guaranteed to recognize the new device that you plan to install.

The instructions below are designed for introductory purposes. We are not responsible for the end result and warn that after replacing the processor, the laptop will no longer be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty (if the device is under warranty).

So, let’s get started: follow the seven steps below in sequence.

  1. The first task you need to solve is how to remove the processor from the laptop. Unplug the device from the power supply and remove the back cover or part of it (depends on the design of the particular model, some models require almost complete disassembly of the case).
  2. Remove the cooling elements: fan and radiator. Unscrew the screws fixing them in the correct order, according to the manufacturer’s numbering. At the disassembly stage, the correct order is 4-3-2-1. If there are no special markings next to the screws, you can unscrew them in any order. It is better to pre-draw on a piece of paper all the fasteners and place on them the screws that you have already removed. This will simplify the subsequent assembly.
  3. Lift the heatsink up, ideally you should feel no resistance (if there is resistance, it’s probably due to dried thermal paste). Remove any remaining thermal paste from the processor with a cloth.
  4. Use a screwdriver to unscrew the cross-cut screws that secure the processor. Rotate the tool until the processor lifts up. When the screw loosens, you will be able to pry open and remove the microchip.
  5. Before replacing the processor on the laptop, apply and evenly distribute a thin layer of thermal paste on its working surface. Place the microchip in its designated slot. Make sure that all elements and grooves are strictly aligned – then the processor will fit without additional effort.
  6. Secure the screw which holds the CPU to the motherboard. Reinstall the heatsink and fan. Assemble the other components in reverse order. Be careful – you should not have any extra screws left! If this happens, disassemble again and this time reassemble the case correctly to avoid problems.
  7. Turn on the laptop and test its operation with the new hardware.

Do Gamers Need to Upgrade the CPU on Their Laptops?

By the way, gamers are well aware that by itself, replacing the processor on the laptop does not solve the problem of its power, because for powerful games it is extremely important to have a high-quality video card, as well as a sufficient amount of RAM. And if your computer has a built-in video card, replacing your laptop CPU with a more powerful one will be pointless at all.

Accordingly, your device should have a balanced performance for gaming. Study the specifications of your video card and processor (information about this is available on the Internet), look what the requirements for the PC are specified in the available games and only then decide whether you need to replace the CPU on the laptop.


Is it worth upgrading Intel Core i5 to i7 in my laptop?

Yes, upgrading from an Intel Core i5 to an i7 will offer better performance. The i7 is a faster and more powerful processor, so you will see improved speed and efficiency when using demanding applications or multitasking.

Is it worth upgrading AMD Ryzen 3 to 5 in my laptop?

It depends on what you need and want from your laptop. The AMD Ryzen 3 is a great budget processor, while the AMD Ryzen 5 is a mid-range processor. If you need more power for things like gaming or video editing, then upgrading to the Ryzen 5 would be worth it. However, if you’re happy with the performance of your Ryzen 3 and don’t need the extra power, then there’s no need to upgrade.

Can I upgrade my laptop CPU from AMD to Intel?

No, you cannot upgrade your laptop CPU from AMD to Intel. The two types of CPUs are not compatible with each other.

Related Video: Upgrading Your Laptop – CPU / Graphics / RAM / Disk

Final Words

Upgrading a laptop CPU is not as difficult as it may seem. With a few simple tools and some basic knowledge, almost anyone can do it. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully and take your time.

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