You are looking to upgrade to a more powerful CPU, but don’t want to spend extra money on upgrading your motherboard, but are not sure if you need a new motherboard to go with your new CPU.
Don’t worry because you are in the right place.
Buying a new CPU can be expensive, and purchasing a brand-new motherboard can also make you waste a lot of money.
So, is there a way you can upgrade your CPU without upgrading your motherboard?
Yes, you can upgrade your CPU without upgrading your motherboard. However, you can only do this if the motherboard and CPU support the same socket. If your motherboard doesn’t support the socket of your new CPU then you will need to purchase a new motherboard that is compatible with that socket.
How To Upgrade Your CPU Without Changing Your Motherboard
Upgrading your CPU without changing your motherboard is not a very hard task.
You first need to check your motherboard model and CPU model to see if they are compatible with each other.
They both need to be compatible with each other’s socket types.
During this step, you need to be very careful because some socket types are very similar to others, but aren’t compatible.
You should also keep in mind that even if the motherboard has the same socket type as the CPU it still might not be compatible.
An example of this is AMD’s AM4 socket type. If you use a first-generation AM4 motherboard it will not be compatible with the latest generation AM4 Ryzen CPU.
Although this usually won’t happen it is important to check just in case you run into a situation like this.
1. Checking Your CPU Model
Checking your CPU model is fairly easy
First, go to your settings by pressing the Windows key and typing in settings.
Next, click on “About PC”.
Then you need to check your “Windows Version” and “Processor Info”.
If you don’t have your CPU yet you can always go online and look it up as well.
2. FInd Your CPU Socket
The next thing you need to do is find your CPU socket type. There are actually a few different ways to do this.
First is that you can go to your CPU manufacturer’s website. This will be either Intel or AMD.
If you have an Intel CPU, you will want to go to their website and enter your CPU model.
I showed you how to find your CPU model in the last step.
Once you do that you are going to want to look for the socket support for your CPU which will be there on the page after you search for it.
If you have an AMD CPU, then you will do the exact same thing just on the AMD website. First, you will go to the website.
Then, you will click the search button and search for your CPU model.
After searching you will look for the CPU socket support.
These socket types can also be found on Amazon, Newegg, or any other retailer. However, sometimes these online retail stores can be wrong, and if you want to be 100% sure what model and socket you have it is best to go to AMD or Intel’s official website depending on what brand CPU you have.
3. Find Your Motherboard Socket
With your motherboard, you will do a similar search to what you just did with your CPU.
First, you need to go to the manufacturer’s website.
Next, search for your motherboard model.
Find the spec sheet, and see what socket your motherboard supports.
Check BIOS Version To Make Sure Motherboard is Compatible With CPU.
This is something that you have to be very careful with because you might have socket compatibility, but the BIOS version on the motherboard might not be compatible with the newer CPU models with the same chipset.
This can make this process very confusing because your CPU and motherboard might have the same socket, but when you try to turn your computer on and use it you will either be met with a black screen or a BIOS error.
To avoid this error from happening you need to check the motherboard’s chipset model.
The release date of the motherboard chipset is very important to the CPU you are upgrading to.
To explain this simply, the socket between the CPU and motherboard can remain the same across multiple generations, but a newer CPU can have compatibility issues due to the BIOS version that is being used with the older motherboard.
It is actually very unfortunate that these companies stop supporting BIOS updates for their older motherboard models to discontinue support for the newest generation of CPUs.
A great example of this is with AMDs AM4 Chipset.
One of the computers I am using actually has this issue.
I have a B350 Tomohawk motherboard with a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU.
If I ever wanted to upgrade to the latest AM4 Ryzen CPU, then I would also have to purchase a new motherboard because the B350 model motherboards no longer have BIOS support for the latest technology.
If you are upgrading your CPU and aren’t sure if your motherboard will have support for your CPU, a good measurement to be safe would be a 4-year difference between the motherboard a CPU.
Anything older than this won’t be compatible unless the motherboard manufacturer decides to keep providing BIOS updates to their older motherboards which never usually happens.