Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Replacing or Upgrading Your CPU – Pt 2

cpu Welcome to the second part of my tutorial on how to “upgrade” or replace your computer’s processor. If you have not read Part 1, please click here and read it before proceeding.

(I am going to repeat that I cannot think of a way to write this article without using those durnded Geek Acronyms; so, I will make them ‘click-able’ to the relevant Wikipedia page.)

Yesterday we accomplished two important steps in determining which type of CPU we should be shopping for, because you cannot just stick any old processor in your machine, any more than you can stick a Honda engine in your Dodge Ram.

* AMD or Intel?
* CPU socket type

asus_a8n_mobo It is also a very good idea to determine your computer’s motherboard make/model; and consult the computer manufacturer’s documentation online. In some cases (such as HP) it will tell you what types of CPU you can install.
(The best way to do this is open your computer cases and look for printing on the board itself. If the idea of opening your computer’s case – and/or looking up technical specs – bothers you (or intimidates), please stop reading. A D-I-Y processor swap is really not for the novice.)

Yesterday, in our hypothetical example, we established that we would be upgrading an Intel Socket 775 (our two primary factors), but you may be working with an AMD Socket AM2 or AMD Socket 939 for example. (AMD will be covered in Pt 3.)

3) The next step is to determine our motherboard’s chipset.
Since I have looked at my mobo (“motherboard”) and know the model number, (In my real life case, the mobo inside my HP a6317n desktop is an IPIBL-LB), a search engine search will be very useful. In my case, a search for “IPIBL-LB” produced this page — which told me everything I need to know for selecting a new processor.
Alternatively, you can download and run a system information tool like BelArc Advisor or Sandra Lite

Here is why the chipset is important:
We determined (using one of the the methods above) that our hypothetical sample Pentium 4 Socket 775 computer has a 915G chipset motherboard (let’s say). The Socket 775 can accept many types of CPU (from the P4 to the Core quad), now we need to narrow things down by determining what type the 915G chipset will work with.

4) To do that, we go to Intel.com’s product information page here.
* Click on the “Chipset” tab.
* Find your chipset on the list and click it.
* Scroll down to the bottom to the Valid Processor Combinations table.

This shows us what CPU’s we can install.

P4 Looking at the table we see that here we have again (hypothetically) stubbed our toe a bit. The 915G motherboards will only accept Celeron D and Pentium 4 processors. On the bright side, we could upgrade to a much faster Pentium 4… if we can find one. A quick search showed that I can still find 3.8 GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 670 with prices ranging from $89 to $629 (that latter made me LMAO).

So in review.. by determining Manufacturer/Socket/Chipset, we know what CPU’s will work in our machine. In my hypothetical example, our “upgrade path” was not all that great, and we learned that if we want a dual core or quad-core CPU, we would have to also upgrade our motherboard.
This is fun! Right?

(The lesson here is, don’t wait too long when considering upgrades. After a certain age, machine replacement is more cost effective.)

Tomorrow I will look at AMD, and CPU comparisons.

update:Upgrading the CPU pt3 – Selecting A Processor
update:Upgrading Your CPU – Conclusion(s)

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 4, 2009 - Posted by | add device, computers, hardware, how to, PC, performance, tech, upgrading | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. This is a great and detailed write Paul. Very well done. I was recently thinking about upgrading my core 2 duo with a more powerful core 2 duo or a core 2 quad. I have heard good things about the Wolfdale class of Intel CPU’s. Do you have an opinion on these?

    Like

    Comment by Dominic | November 5, 2009 | Reply

    • Thank you Dominic,
      Your question falls right into part three of the series.. which was supposed to appear today, but time did not allow.

      So, I will simply invite you back for the answer.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 5, 2009 | Reply


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