The processor is generally one of the most expensive single components, so installing it safely and correctly first time is important. Almost as important is how you plan to keep the processor running smoothly after installation.
The Central Processing Unit
This is the first part of the build where things can go wrong if you are not very careful. Always handle the CPU with great care and take your time when fitting.
Step 1 – Fitting the CPU in to the motherboard socket is usually best done before the motherboard is fitted into the case, as is fitting the CPU Cooler and RAM, as this allows for greater control. The CPU is a small and delicate component, so making installation as easy as possible makes sense. Even if you take anti-static precautions at no other time during the build, do so for this part.
Step 2 – The process for fitting an AMD or Intel CPU is similar, but there are some physical differences between the two processor types, not least the arrangement of the contact pins. We are using an Intel CPU for our build and we will concentrate on that process. See further down the guide to see specific AMD CPU installation advice and precautions.
Step 3 – With your motherboard carefully placed on a flat surface, a thin sheet of anti-static foam beneath the motherboard will help to stop it moving or being damaged, and positioned so that the locking lever on the CPU socket is pointing towards you, carefully take the processor out of its box. Only ever touch the CPU on the sides, never touch the contacts on the underside.
Step 4 – The arrow shows you which way the chip sits in the socket (arrow to arrow). Intel processors also have a small indentation on each edge, which further helps you to line it up in the socket. Holding the CPU carefully by the edges, lower it it into place in the socket. Ensure it is seated correctly, with the arrows and the notches lined up and in place.
Step 5 – Carefully release the locking bar on the socket and lift it up. This will slide the processor lock back and hinge it up out of the way. Leave the plastic socket cover on for the moment. Take a close look at the now visible CPU socket and you will see a small arrow in the bottom left corner. If you look on the CPU itself, you will see that it also has a small arrow in one corner.
Step 6 – You can now remove the plastic cover on the CPU lock, lower it down over the seated CPU and slide it into position. The exact locking process may vary slightly, even between the Intel family of CPU’s, but most will slide the locking frame under a metal plate or raised washer. Firmly press the locking bar into the locked position. Your processor is now safely installed onto the board.
The main way that AMD processors physically differ from Intel processors is that they have the pins on the chip, whereas Intel has the pins on the motherboard socket. Just as with Intel processors, you can use the arrow in the corner to orientate the chip correctly.
Instead of dropping the AMD chip in flat, you need to hook the edge under the lip and then lay it down so that it sits flat. Use the notches to line it up in the socket. The locking bar can then be pressed down into place to firmly hold the CPU in position.
The guide above is a sample of the content in this high-quality guidebook. Our guidebooks are all written by experts, and designed to help anyone learn more about the tech around them. If you would like to see more guides like this, and continue to expand your knowledge of the subject, click the image to see more information and viewing options.