Upgrading the processor in a socket 775 motherboard is a quick procedure and can be carried out by anyone even if you are a complete beginner when it comes to computers upgrades / computer repairs. It is also a very good way of increasing the performance of your PC, particularly if you are upgrading from a single core pcdesigner to a dual or quad-core chip.
The CPU and motherboard are both susceptible to electrostatic discharge (ESD) so ensure that you wear an anti-static wristband when performing this upgrade procedure.
To follow the steps in this article you will need an anti-static wristband and possibly a philips screwdriver (dependent upon how the CPU heatsink is fixed to the motherboard).
To begin this procedure disconnect the PC from the mains and lay the PC on its side on a steady surface before removing the main side panel so that you have clear access to the computer components. The side panel will usually slide off once two small thumbscrews have been taken out.
The CPU heatsink is located on the main board and consists of a fan attached to a metal heatsink which sits in direct contact with the CPU. You should be able to see a cable connecting the fan to the board (will be a 3 or 4 pin connector) – this cable will need to be unplugged from the motherboard.
Now the fan cable has been unplugged you will need to remove the metal heatsink itself which will be connected to the motherboard via screws or pushpins at all four corners. If the heatsink is attached by screws then you will need to loosen all four screws so that the heatsink can be lifted clear of the motherboard. If the heatsink uses the standard Intel push-pin attachment then you will need to turn each pin 90 degrees clockwise (this will now release the locking pins and enable the heatsink to be removed).
Once the heatsink has been removed you will be able to see the top of the CPU sitting inside the socket – you will need to unclip the metal locking bar from the socket and raise the lever so that you can flip the top of the metal bracket out and gain access to the CPU. The processor will need to be lifted out very gently to avoid damaging any of the pins on the motherboard.
Fitting the new processor is the reversal of the removal process but take care to ensure that the processor is aligned correctly before fitting. You will notice that there are two grooves in the CPU – these will line up with two groves in the socket and the CPU should be lowered into the socket gently. The metal cover can now be flipped down and locked in place with the metal lever.
Use the heatsink that came with the new CPU to ensure that the processor will be properly cooled and fit this into the motherboard using the pushpins (follow Intel instruction booklet) or screws.
Assuming your new CPU is compatible with your motherboard the PC should power on as normal and begin loading your operating system. In some motherboards a BIOS update may be required in order for the board to recognise the new CPU correctly. Once the system has powered on, check the computer properties in Windows (Start > Computer > System Properties) and check that the processor information is being reported correctly.
Following this tutorial and upgrading the CPU in your system will hopefully give you a nice performance boost if the replacement CPU is a faster model and will have just saved you in the region of 25-40 GBP that this upgrade would cost in a local computer repair shop.