Technically, it’s feasible to upgrade the laptop processor; however, generally, it’s not possible mainly due to the positioning of the CPU and the way it’s incorporated into the laptop’s motherboard.
If you own an intel core i5 processor and are hungry for more power, your next logical move will be to change the CPU in a laptop with an intel core i7. However, it’s more complicated than it seems, as it’s an entirely different process than desktops, which usually come with detachable processors. In addition, the task is quite challenging, and you can do more harm to your laptop during this upgrade.
Can I Change My Laptop Processor?
As far as the question is considered,” can I upgrade my laptop processor”? The answer is yes, but in contrast to technical knowledge, it’s a very complex task that is impossible for an average user to execute.
Why? The CPU surface mounting is different both on desktops and laptops. In desktops, the processors can be removed from their sockets, whereas, in laptops, the CPU is usually soldered to its socket on the motherboard.
Rarely will you find a laptop offering a Detachable CPU, making laptop CPU upgrade easy? However, nowadays, the latest laptops don’t provide such a feature.
Getting the Know-How of Processor Surface Mounting Methods?
At present, there are three types of CPU surface mounting methods.
LGA, a.k.a land grid array, has flat contacts. You will usually find it in Intel computer processors. A CPU with this type is detachable.
PGA is the abbreviation for Pin Grid Array. This surface mounting type has distinct pins on the CPU. It’s also the detachable type and is often found in AMD CPU desktops.
Ball grid array, a.k.a BGA, is the latest trend in laptops. In this type of Surface mounting, the CPU is soldered on the motherboard, making it impossible to remove. Hence, this type makes CPUs undetachable.
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In short, if your laptop processor has a BGA surface mounting type, you can’t change the processor on the laptop. However, if your CPU has PGA or LGA mounting, replacing the processor in a laptop is possible. But as stated earlier, unfortunately, most modern-day laptops come with BGA type. Therefore, you will require a significant level of expertise and highly advanced equipment if you want to upgrade from a BGA-core i5 CPU to a BGA-core i7 CPU.
In rare instances, if you have a laptop with either LGA or PGA, you can detach intel core i3 and replace it with intel core i5 or upgrade from intel core i5 to core i7. However, they need to have the same socket type.
How To Find Out Which Surface Mounting Your CPU Has?
After finding the surface mounting techniques, the next question that pops up in your mind is:” how can we find out about our CPU’s surface mounting method?
Well, it’s simple. Go to the intel website,
From their select product specs, then click the processors.
A list of different intel processors will open; select the type of processor you possess. After that, a spec list highlighting all the information about your processor will pop up.
You have intel core i5 10310U; after looking up its specs on the intel website, you will find that its socket type is FCBGA1528, highlighting that it has BGA surface mounting; hence the CPU isn’t replaceable.
If you look up the Intel Core i5-321M specs, you find its socket type FCPGA988. It means that it has a PGA surface mounting with 988 pins, and it’s upgradeable.
What’s The Chemistry Behind Sockets?
To upgrade the laptop CPU, you not only need to find out the CPU surface mounting type, but you also need to match up the sockets. The older CPU and the newer CPU you plan to install should have the same sockets.
If your laptop has Intel core i5-321M, FCPGA988 socket type, and wants to upgrade it to intel core i7, then this newer CPU should have the same socket as FCPGA 988. An Intel Core i7 with FCPGA946 would be able to fit
Top Concerns While Upgrading:
Apart from identifying the surface mounting type or socket, while learning how to upgrade a laptop CPU, you also need to check the TDP.
TDP is an abbreviation for thermal design power, and it indicates how much power a CPU has and how much heat it produces.
For example, intel core i7 has more TDP than intel core i5 or i3.
Therefore, if you plan to upgrade Intel core i5 to i7, and your laptop cooling system is according to core i5 and can’t handle the heat produced by the processor replacement laptop, heat issues can arise.
Downsides Of Upgrading The Processor:
Upgrading your processor is a very challenging yet delicate process. Moreover, you can’t guarantee whether the CPU will work up to its full potential. Additionally, it would help if you had a BIOS update too.
Secondly, there is a massive risk that the laptop processor change won’t match your laptop cooling system. Hence, ineffective heat dissipation can lead to plenty of heat issues.
Your laptop’s warranty may become void, leading to extensive damage and malfunction.
Lately, upgrading to a more powerful CPU means greater power consumption; therefore, your laptop’s battery will quickly drain.
We’ve talked about the hottest topic, can I upgrade my laptop processor?
The upgrade procedure is complex and can only be done if your laptop CPU has LGA or PGA surface mounting. Moreover, it’s a process that requires significant expertise and still doesn’t guarantee that your CPU would be able to work stably after upgrading.
Therefore, it’s highly recommended that if your laptop is running out of juice, instead of upgrading your processor, it’s better to buy a new laptop, saving you from this hassle.
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This Article is Updated in August 2022.