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How to Install a New Computer Processor on a Motherboard

by Paul Sanders

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Computer processor motherboard

Things You Need:

  • Processor
  • Motherboard
  • Screwdriver

Building your own computer can be a fun and challenging do-it-yourself project. Installing a new computer processor on your motherboard is the most delicate and important upgrade installation you can do. The computer processor is the centerpiece of the entire machine. You'll want to be cautious when installing processors in a socket on your motherboard, but it's a quick and simple task. Follow these simple steps to install your own computer processor safely.

Installing a Computer Processor:

  1. Check motherboard compatibility: Each motherboard has a computer processor socket, but not all processors fit all motherboards. If you've already purchased either the motherboard or the processor or both, be sure that your computer processor is compatible with the processor socket on the motherboard.

  2. Prepare the motherboard: If you're simply upgrading an old computer processor on an old motherboard, you may want to disassemble the computer and remove the motherboard from the computer case. Work on your computer in a non-carpeted area to reduce static electricity which can damage your computer processor, your motherboard and other components. Touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge static from your body.

  3. Inspect the computer processor: The bottom of your processor will have many tiny pins. If any of the pins are broken or severely bent, you may need to return it for a new one.

  4. Insert the processor: Most motherboards have a zero insertion force (ZIF) computer processor socket. This means you won't need to press down on the processor to install it. You'll instead use a lever on the motherboard socket itself.



    • Unlock the processor socket on the motherboard by lifting the small metal or plastic lever on the side of the processor socket. If you're replacing the old computer processor, remove it now and set it aside.

    • Align the processor with the socket. The pins on the bottom of your computer processor are arranged in a specific pattern. When properly aligned, the pins will simply fall into place on the motherboard socket. Often, one corner of the processor will be marked to match up with a corresponding corner on the motherboard socket.

    • Drop the processor into place and lock the socket. Once the pins are aligned with the holes in the processor socket, very gently lower and drop the processor into the socket on the mother board. Don't apply any pressure or force. Instead, gently close the socket lever and lock it in place. Your computer processor is now installed.

  5. Finish installing components and test: Once you've finished installing the motherboard and other components into the computer case, test your computer system.

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