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Install A CPU

What is the Definition of CPU?

How to install a CPU? What is the definition of CPU? To assess processing performance, run CPU benchmarks and make sure that you manage processor cooling (and overheating) through a CPU temperature monitor.

Remember that the definition of CPU is central processing unit. If the motherboard is the heart of your system, the CPU is the brains of it! You need to ensure that you choose a CPU that is compatible with your motherboard; they are often sold in combination together.

Now, we are ready to install a CPU. First off, remember to ground yourself before handling the CPU.

Your computer CPU should have come with 3 main things:

  1. CPU
  2. Heatsink
  3. Small Tube of Thermal Paste

Note: If you did not get a tube of thermal paste with your CPU or motherboard, check the bottom of the heat sink. Some heat sinks come with the paste already applied. If your heat sink has the thermal compound already applied, then you don't need to worry about getting any. If there is no paste present, I would recommend running to your nearest computer store and grabbing a tube. It is pretty cheap, around $5.00, and you really should have some between the heat sink and CPU to maintain a good connection between the two and to keep your CPU temperature down.

CPU Heat Sink

Install a CPU

The steps to install a CPU couldn't be easier. You just need to take it nice and slow, and be gentle with the processor.

When I install a CPU, I like to take the motherboard and lay it on the foam that it was packed with, on the table. This gives me some room to work on the motherboard, and keeps a soft cushion below it. Install A CPU
1. First, lift the lever on the socket. It tucks underneath a small catch, so push down and gently pull out to release it. There may be a protective socket cover. If so, remove this. Install A CPU
2. Lift the metal plate that is over the socket Install A CPU
3. Next – Find the Alignment Keys on the socket, notches on the side of the CPU, and the Pin 1 Marking – it will be a triangle. Install A CPU
4. Line up the alignment keys on the socket with the notches on the side of the CPU. If they are lined up correctly, the Pin 1 marking on the CPU will line up with the marking on the socket as well. Install A CPU
5. The CPU should simply sit on top of the socket. You do not have to apply any pressure to install a CPU. Install A CPU
6. Once it is seated in place, close the metal plate. This should sit nicely over the top of the processor. Install A CPU
7. Lower the lever and lock it in place. For this step you will apply a small amount of pressure to the lever to lock it down. Install A CPU

Ok, you have completed the steps to install a CPU - not too difficult. Next, we are going to install the heat sink. This is what keeps the CPU temp down (you need to ensure that you manage the temperature to prevent overheating - a CPU temperature monitor will help manage it).

Note: If you bought an after-market heat sink, the instructions below will be similar. The vast majority of Heat Sinks will install the same as we are about to do. However, read over the instructions that came with the heat sink and note major differences. If there are a lot of variations compared to what is outlined below, follow the instructions that came with your heat sink.

If your heat sink came with the thermal compound pre-applied, then you can skip to step 11 and install the heat sink directly. The thermal compound will activate automatically from the heat when you first use the CPU.

Install the Heat Sink

Here's what you need to do...


8. Get the Thermal Paste that came with your processor and apply a small drop of it on the CPU. Install A CPU
9. I use a business card for this next step, but anything with a straight edge will work, such as a credit card or razor. I am using a stiff piece of paper here. What needs to be done is to spread the thermal paste all over the CPU. Your goal is to apply a thin even layer over the area inside the metal plate. You don’t need any on the plate itself, just on the CPU, but getting some on the plate won’t hurt anything. This is going to help maintain a connection between the heat sink and the CPU for better heat transfer. Install A CPU
10. Once you have a nice thin layer of thermal paste on the CPU, get your heat sink. You will see 4 pins on the corners of the heat sink. These will align with four holes on the motherboard that surround the socket. Install A CPU
11. Line up the four holes – the orientation of the heat sink does not matter. Select 2 of the pins that are diagonal to each other, and press down on them. Press until you hear a click. I find that pressing the pins, and bracing the back of the motherboard helps with this. You will need to apply some pressure on top of the pins to get them to click into place. Note that sometimes these pins can be tough to get in place. The heat sink will lock down very tightly over the CPU. If you need to, pick up the motherboard and brace the back as you lock a pin down. Do the same for the other 2 pins. When you have all four pins locked down, turn the motherboard over and verify that the pins are all in place. They will look like this. Install A CPU


12. In these 2 pictures, you can see the pins, first in the unlocked position, and then in the locked position.

Install A CPU

Install A CPU

13. Finally, attach the power connector from the fan on the heat sink to the connection on the motherboard. Look for the label "CPU Fan" on the board. Install A CPU


Install A CPU

That's it! That's all it takes to install a CPU. With your CPU and heat sink good to go, let's move on to the system memory.

Step Seven - Installing Computer Memory


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