This tutorial is for people that are willing to replace their CPU by a faster one but don’t have a clue on what CPUs their system supports. In this tutorial we will list all CPU models you can install on your system without replacing your current motherboard.

In order to upgrade your CPU you will need to know two things about your motherboard: its CPU socket and its maximum external clock rate (a.k.a. FSB, Front Side Bus – for AMD CPUs based on AMD64 architecture you don’t need this information). These two data are written on the motherboard manual. If you don’t have your motherboard manual, please read our tutorial How to Find Out Your Motherboard Manufacturer and Model.

There is one very important thing to note about motherboard manuals: usually they bring wrong information about what is the fastest processor you can install on your board. This happens because usually motherboard manuals are written well before all CPU models are available on the market, so your motherboard may accept a faster CPU than your motherboard manual is telling you.

You can only replace your CPU with another CPU that uses the same socket. Otherwise you will need to replace also your motherboard (and maybe other components, like memory, if your new motherboard requires a different kind of memory, for example).

On the next pages we will list all CPU upgrading options you have depending on the CPU socket your motherboard has.

Before replacing your CPU we strongly recommend you to perform a BIOS upgrade on your motherboard to update your motherboard with the latest available BIOS. Please read our How To Perform a BIOS Upgrade tutorial for further instructions. This will assure you that your motherboard will recognize your new CPU. Several times when you install a new CPU that you know that your motherboard supports your motherboard won’t turn on because it needs a BIOS upgrade, and you will have to install back your old CPU in order to do this. Avoid this hassle by performing a BIOS upgrade before replacing your CPU.

On our tutorial How to Correctly Apply Thermal Grease you will find detailed information on how to replace a CPU. Of course this procedure must be done with your computer turned off.

After replacing your CPU you will need to run a hardware identification utility such as Sandra, Hwinfo or CPU-Z to check whether your new CPU is running at its correct clock rate or not. If not, you will need to enter the motherboard setup (by pressing Del after turning your computer on) and change your CPU configuration there. This is usually necessary when you replace your current CPU by one that requires a higher external clock rate (FSB).

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.