Can I Upgrade a Laptop CPU? [Not really?]

If you are confused if you can change a laptop processor or not, here we have explained to upgrade the laptop CPU.

One of the most common practices among those looking to improve the performance of their laptop is to replace some of the hardware components with which a considerable increase in the speed of the processes can be achieved. RAM and storage type are some of the customizable elements, but can you upgrade a laptop CPU? There was a time when computers used to slow down, and parts needed to be replaced. On a desktop, the process is as simple as opening the case and swapping parts out.

However, on a laptop, the process is much more complicated. If upgrading the RAM is not enough, it is possible to upgrade the laptop CPU. It isn’t easy, so it may be worth considering alternatives instead. Below you will learn more about the types of laptop processors that exist on the market. And you will discover when it is advisable to change this important component of your laptop for another with greater power and when not.

What is a computer processor?

To get started, you need to know what a computer processor is. In simple words, this piece, also known as the CPU (Central Processing Unit), is the brain of a computing device. It is in charge of managing all the tasks that your laptop performs, that is why it is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new computer.

If you do a quick search on the internet, you will realize that there is a wide variety of types of laptop processors, among which two manufacturers mainly stand out:

  • Intel.
  • AMD.

Over the years, these two brands have managed to develop a whole range of processors that offer optimal performance for different tasks. Its power is expressed in Hz, which represents the speed to perform the various operations. 

Can you Upgrade the laptop processor?

Laptop CPUs are mounted on the motherboard in two ways. One method is surface mounting. In this case, the CPU is soldered directly onto the motherboard. Although it might be possible to desolder the CPU and solder a new power on, there is no guarantee that the CPU will work properly. The other method is through socket mounting. With socket mount, the CPU is placed into the connector on the motherboard, then either screwed into place or locked into place with a small bar. With the socket mount, it is possible to upgrade the laptop CPU without worrying about soldering, as long as the CPU is compatible.

Most of the new generation laptops have a BGA -type fixing system, which consists of a socket or socket with multiple contacts where the processor is soldered to the motherboard to prevent it from moving and losing its contact, affecting the transmission of electricity and data. While LGA & PGA are compatible within the same generation, upgrading a BGA is very hard to upgrade because of soldering. So, if you are holding a new generation laptop, you might not be eligible to upgrade the laptop processor.


The CPU & motherboard are tied together with compatibility. The CPU must match the motherboard’s socket and front-side bus specifications. Before upgrading a laptop CPU, check the laptop’s user manual for specifications. It may be that the CPU already being used is the maximum allowed for the motherboard, so an upgrade cannot be done.

Although, on a desktop, this situation would require replacing the motherboard as well. On a laptop, it is much more difficult because the motherboard has to fit in the case as well as be compatible with everything else in the laptop. Users need to update the BIOS. So due to a new BIOS, they can give the motherboard extended capabilities.


Socket Types

LGA (Land Grid Array) – The land grid array is a type of surface-mount packaging for integrated circuits that is notable for having the pins on the socket rather than the integrated circuit. An LGA can be electrically connected to a printed circuit board either by the use of a socket or by soldering directly to the board.

PGA (Pin Grid Array) – The Pin Grid Array is the integrated circuit packaging standard used in most second to fifth-generation Intel processors. The Pin grid array packages were either rectangular or square in shape, with pins arranged in a regular array. It is also a compatible contender for CPU upgrades in the same generation with some limitations.

BGA (Ball Grid Array) – A ball grid array is a type of surface-mount packaging used for integrated circuits. BGA packages are used to permanently mount devices. A BGA can provide more interconnection pins than can be put on a dual in-line or flat package. Becuase of its solder, it is nearly impossible to upgrade the processor.

How to upgrade a laptop CPU? (LGA & PGA Only)

If a new CPU is supported and the socket mounted, it may be OK to proceed with the upgrade. Accessing the CPU isn’t easy, though, and may require framing by disassembling the laptop. Before you begin, turn off the laptop, and remove the battery to avoid shock. Also, remove the hard drive to protect the data as well as the RAM.

In most cases, the process involves accessing and unlatching the screen for the first time. It may involve removing the plastic coverings that hide the screws. Next, remove the keyboard and top case to reveal the inside of the laptop. Remove video cards and heat sinks as necessary to access the CPU.

Unscrew or unlock the CPU, then put the new CPU on the motherboard. Many CPUs have little arrows to indicate how they should sit on the motherboard. Trying to force the CPU into place can damage the CPU, so if it doesn’t fit, it can’t be sitting properly. Once the CPU is located, put a small amount of thermal paste on top of it; and place the heat sink on top.

Other alternatives to improve the performance of your laptop

As you can see, upgrading the processor on your laptop is not always the best option. On the other hand, if you want to have a faster computer, according to your needs, you can make updates in two other important components:

  • RAM Memory – A RAM upgrade can help you speed up your programs noticeably.
  • Storage type – HDD or SDD? Currently, solid-state drives (SDD) achieve faster data transfer rates.

The Verdict

The time and money it takes to upgrade a CPU may not be worth it. But that’s up to the laptop owner to determine. If the user is inexperienced in changing the parts of the computer or the general construction of the laptop, it may cause damage to the laptop, making some or all of it not work properly.

Finally, it all depends on the use you will give the notebook. If what you need is a device for more demanding jobs, such as the use of design programs, video editing, or playing games, the most convenient thing will be to choose a computer that includes a good processor from the factory. What are your thoughts? Do let’s know in the below comment section!


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