Can i change CPU without changing Motherboard? (Explained)

Tech World is all about getting updated when new technology or a software is introduced. But you need a proper hardware to run the latest changes.

For a PC, a motherboard and CPU are the core hardware. Considering the cost of CPU and motherboard, will it not be better if you can just replace the CPU without changing the board?

Let us explore the possibilities of such changes you can make in your PC.

Can i change CPU without changing Motherboard

Can i change CPU without changing Motherboard?

When you have a compatible motherboard for the CPU, then Yes, you can change the processor without changing the motherboard.

CPU manufacturers as well as motherboard manufacturers list the compatible hardware for their products.

So, you just have to choose a CPU that is suitable for your motherboard. Therefore, you can check the compatibility with the following procedures.

Motherboard Compatibility

First of all, you have to check the model of the motherboard and what kind of chipsets it can support. Here is a simple way to find out the motherboard details.

  • Press Windows + R button to open the Run Window.
  • Now type cmd and hit enter to open the command prompt window.
  • Here, enter the following command: wmic baseboard get product, manufacture, version, serialnumber
  • Now, you will be able to see the manufacturer, motherboard model, and its respective serial number with version.
  • Using this information, you can search the web and check the supporting versions of the CPU easily.

Remember that a motherboard with an AMD socket will support only AMD processors and the same goes for Intel too. 

Therefore, if you find that your motherboard has an AMD socket, then choose an appropriate AMD CPU with the right pins that fit your motherboard CPU socket.

CPU Compatibility

Every processor manufacturer will mention the compatible motherboard sockets on their respective websites. You can simply enter the CPU model and check for specifications. You will likely find the following socket types for the CPUs.

These are the latest CPU models you are getting on the market today and they are compatible with their respective socket types. 

Socket TypeSupporting Processors
LGA 1151Intel 7th, 8th and 9th Gen Desktop CPUs
LGA 1200Intel 10th and 11th Gen Desktop CPUs
AM4AMD 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 series Desktop CPUs
LGA 2066Intel 10th Gen Core Extreme Processors (Workstation Grade)
sTRX4AMD Threadripper Processor (Workstation Grade)

Therefore, find out whether your motherboard has the socket for the CPU you have chosen. If yes, then you can easily change the CPU without buying a new motherboard.

In general, a new generation motherboard will likely support new generation and old generation CPUs of a particular version.

This means that a motherboard that supports a generation of the processor can comfortably support all the series of the CPU in that particular generation. 

For example, the AM4 socket supports AMD’s 5000 series processors. Therefore, you can buy any CPU from the 5000 series and easily install it without changing the motherboard. The same goes for Intel processors too.

Therefore, the only thing you must look for is the type of socket in your motherboard and the generation of CPU it can support.

BIOS Compatibility

Even if the CPU and the socket are compatible, you might have to check the BIOS version and update it for the motherboard. Because if you don’t update the BIOS, after installation, the processor will not communicate with any of the hardware.

  • Generally, the motherboard has a BIOS setting for your current processor. So, if the CPU you are buying needs a different version of the BIOS, then you have to download and install it.
  • After checking the socket compatibility, go to the CPU manufacturer’s website and search for your CPU model.
  • Then go to the drivers and update option for the CPU. This is usually mentioned as “Drivers” or “Downloads”. 
  • Find the latest BIOS update for the CPU and download it. After downloading it, simply install and restart your computer. 

This is an important step before installing the new CPU in your motherboard without any issues.

Read: Guides on Increasing Clock Speed of CPU

How to change the CPU on the motherboard?

  • Turn off all the power supply to the PC and remove all the power cords from the PC case.
  • Then move the PC to a clean workspace.
  • Remove the side panel with the appropriate screwdriver and find the CPU. Usually, there will be a heatsink or a cooling fan on top of the CPU socket. 
  • You have to remove the cooling system from the socket to reach the CPU.
  • Then remove the clip that holds the CPU and remove the old one carefully.
  • After that, take your new CPU and check the pin arrangement. Because you have to place the CPU properly on the socket that fits the arrangement.
  • If you are holding the CPU in the wrong manner, then turn it accordingly. After ensuring the exact alignment with the socket, place the new processor in it and clip it.
  • Place the cooling system on top of the socket and screw it tightly. 

You have now changed the CPU in your motherboard. You can simply plug the power supply and start using your PC.

Risks of Changing CPU without changing motherboard

First of all, if you don’t check the compatibility of the motherboard, then you cannot place the CPU in the socket properly.

If you forcibly change the CPU, then your processor along with the socket may get damaged permanently, and possibly the motherboard too will be damaged.

When you have compatibility, there will not be an issue in using the CPU. But there are some considerations that might have some effects:

  • Your motherboard should be able to deliver the required power for your new CPU. Especially older-gen motherboards face this issue.
  • The board should be able to handle the processes efficiently and if it doesn’t do it, then you cannot run along with the old motherboard.
  • After installing a new CPU, you will also look forward to upgrading other components of the PC. If your motherboard doesn’t have the capacity for upgradation, then there is no use even if you install a new CPU.

Therefore, these are the risks associated with using an existing motherboard for your new CPU.

Read: Are Cores and Threads have difference?

Conclusion

Changing the CPU without changing the motherboard is absolutely possible if it has compatibility. You can simply check the model and versions easily and buy an exact match for your motherboard. With this guide, you will be able to change the CPU easily. 

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