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How to Upgrade a CPU

If you built your PC from scratch, then upgrading your central processing unit (aka processor, or CPU) shouldn’t present too much of a challenge — just reverse the steps you used to install it. However, if you purchased a pre-built gaming desktop, or had some help from a more tech-savvy friend, rooting through your computer’s guts to swap out its very heart may sound downright daunting.

The good news is that swapping out a CPU is not very difficult, provided you have all the right information and tools at your disposal. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll spend more time prepping for the process than you will spend actually upgrading the processor. With that in mind, here are a few simple steps for choosing and installing a brand-new CPU for your favorite gaming or productivity PC.

Bear in mind that we took these photos with an Intel processor; installing or replacing an AMD processor will involve a slightly different process.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

1. Ensure that your CPU is compatible with your motherboard.

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