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How to upgrade your CPU—and why you should

Woman thinking about upgrading CPU

Is your computer moving slower than it used to? Rather than toss it, consider giving it an upgrade instead—your wallet and the environment will thank you.

At uBreakiFix® by Asurion, our experts have seen it all—and can fix it all. Whether you’re in the process of overhauling your gaming PC or need to boost your storage space, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about upgrading your computer’s processor to get it back up to speed.

What is a CPU and what does it do?

Your computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) executes instructions and processes data in your PC. Think of it as your computer’s brain.

Why upgrade your CPU?

Upgrading your processor can significantly enhance your computer's performance in several ways. A newer CPU can process tasks more quickly and efficiently, which is beneficial for high-intensity computing tasks. With a more powerful CPU, your system can handle multiple tasks and demanding applications more effectively, from video editing to gaming. If you like to work with multiple tabs open—we won’t judge.

Considerations before upgrading

There’s a lot you’ll need to know before you open up your computer. For example, different CPUs require specific socket types. You’ll need to know your motherboard's specifications to find a compatible processor and ensure it’s seated in the computer correctly. Upgrading a CPU is a significant decision that requires planning and tech experience.

Before starting any hardware upgrade, it’s essential to back up your important data to avoid potential loss. If you need help, check out our guide to backing up your computer.

Tools you’ll need to upgrade a CPU

Before you get started, you’ll need a few things:

  • A small Philips head screwdriver
  • Thermal paste
  • The new CPU

How to upgrade your CPU

Replacing a CPU involves several critical steps. We’ll help you through all of them. If you feel uncomfortable doing this upgrade yourself, our experts are here to help.

1. Prepare your computer and workspace

Power down your computer and unplug it. Open the case to access the motherboard.

2. Take care of the heatsink and fan

Your computer's heatsink is directly connected to your processor; it helps your fan keep your computer cool. You’ll have to get the heatsink and fan out of the way to get to your current CPU. The layout of your computer can vary depending on the model, but you’ll remove the screws holding the items in place. Then set the screws aside.

While you’re here, you can clean the old thermal paste off of the heatsink with isopropyl alcohol and a soft towel. Be careful not to get alcohol anywhere else in the unit.

3. Remove the old CPU and install the new one

Carefully unlock and lift the old CPU from the socket. Then, align the new CPU with the socket, gently placing it without force. Your processor should sit flat in the holder.

3. Reassemble the system

Apply a small amount of thermal paste on the top of the processor and reseat the heatsink. Whatever you did to take the heatsink or fan out, reverse the process.

When all screws are in their places, close the case, and reconnect all cables. Plug your power cable in and power on your computer.

If you've tried these steps and still need a little help, we're right around the corner. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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