How to Replace CPU

In general, a CPU or central processing unit will last between 5 and 10 years. But before that, you might need to change it or upgrade it for several reasons.
Lots of computer enthusiasts build their PCs from scratch, and to them, replacing any hardware component shouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re not one of them, you need to read this article to learn how to replace CPU in a few simple steps.

When Should I Replace My CPU?

When you use your computer, the central processing unit or CPU starts heating then cooling off until it reaches an adequate temperature that allows you to use it for work, study, gaming, or other purposes. Going through these heating and cooling cycles puts its toll on the components of the CPU.
Although there are several protective parts that reserve the CPU, the silicon components in the CPU degrade and eventually break the more you use your device. But even if your CPU doesn’t suffer from severe damage, there will be a few cases when you want to think about replacing your CPU even if it’s still functioning.
  • Your CPU doesn’t match your requirements. If you’re into gaming, video editing, or any other application that requires a strong CPU, the old one won’t satisfy your needs.
A dual-core CPU will suit casual PC users who use Microsoft Word and occasionally browse the internet but won’t work for other more demanding software programs. In this case, upgrading to a 4-core or 6-core CPU will be a good decision.
  • Your PC keeps on crashing, freezing, or restarting. This means that you’re overworking your CPU by opening too many tabs while playing a game or using a video rendering app. To avoid losing progress or saved data, updating and replacing your CPU will be a good decision.
  • You deal with CPU bottlenecking. This is common among gamers, especially after investing in a good graphics card that the old CPU fails to support.
If you’ve already updated all other components and your game still runs slow, then you need to think about replacing your CPU. You can download an application to read your CPU utilization, and if it’s 100% or close to this number, this will be a CPU bottleneck.

Signs My CPU is Failing

Because it represents the heart and core of your PC, paying attention to any performance issues related to your CPU will protect your valuable data. A CPU rarely completely fails, but if this happens, then it’s because you’ve ignored a lot of the warning signs that it has been sending your way. Here are some symptoms that you might experience before your CPU dies.
  • Your PC shuts down often. This happens due to the fans failing to cool down the CPU, so the motherboard shuts down to prevent further damage until the heating problem has been resolved.
  • Your system freezes more often. This happens all of a sudden while you’re working or playing, and the computer becomes unresponsive until you restart it. Of course, in this case, you might lose some of your data.
  • You hear beeps that indicate that there’s a problem with your CPU. When you restart your device, it runs a self-test called the POST to detect any potential issues. Then it produces a number of beeps to indicate the faulty part. In case of an issue related to the CPU, your computer will make 5 or 7 beeps.
  • You can see signs of physical damage. If you see burn marks around the CPU socket, then it might have been damaged beyond repair.
  • You deal with booting issues as the computer doesn’t run the POST. The LEDs of the motherboard might light up, but your system won’t be responsive because the CPU has failed.
  • You see the Blue Screen of Death. This screen shows when your PC is experiencing an error that it can’t fix. It could be related to the RAM or the motherboard, but it might also be related to the CPU failure.

How To Replace CPU

Regardless of the reason, you can easily replace your CPU if you have the right tools. However, before you start, you need to make sure that your replacement CPU is compatible with the socket on your PC.

What You Need

  • New CPU
  • Screwdriver
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Thermal paste


  1. Turn off your computer and unplug the power cord. Next, discharge any static electricity to protect yourself and your computer.
  2. Use your screwdriver to remove the side panel screws to expose it.
  3. Locate the cooler’s fan, unplug it, and unscrew it from the motherboard. If your CPU is liquid-cooled, remove the water block from the motherboard.
  4. Clean the contact patch of any residual thermal paste using rubbing alcohol.
  5. Detach the processor from the socket by lifting the retention arm that holds it in place.
  6. Remove the old processor without touching the pins. In the case of an AMD CPU, the pins will be on the processor itself, but they will be on the socket if you have an Intel CPU. You can use rubbing alcohol to remove the thermal paste if you plan to reuse the old processor.
  7. Find the corner of the CPU socket marked with a triangle and align it with the triangle on the new processor.
  8. Place the new processor into the CPU socket.
  9. Lower the retention arm to keep the new CPU in place.
  10. Apply the thermal paste onto the new processor.
  11. Reinstall the CPU cooler without over-tightening the screws, as this might put pressure on the motherboard.
  12. Plug the cooler’s fan into the motherboard.
  13. Reattach the side panel.


Whether your CPU is failing or you simply want to upgrade it to match your needs, following some easy steps will help you do the job without risking any of your valuable data. It’s important to invest in a high-quality CPU that lasts for at least a few years before you consider replacing it again. As software programs keep on evolving and upgrading, it’s important to choose hardware components that are able to keep up.