Can I Upgrade My Laptop Processor?

Yes, you totally can. But before we get into the details, it’s important to note that your laptop won’t recognize an upgraded processor unless the new chip is compatible with the motherboard in your computer.

Additionally, you cannot upgrade a processor if your laptop does not come with removable parts; this will require a bit of extra work on your part.

What Kind of Processor Can I Add?

Processor upgrades are available in two forms: socketed and soldered. There are other possibilities, but the vast majority of laptop CPUs today fall into one of these two categories. The distinction is important, so it merits some explanation.

Socketed processors are designed to be removed and replaced. In a laptop, this generally means a CPU that is mounted on a removable card–this is what we typically think of as a “processor upgrade”. A soldered processor, on the other hand, is one that cannot be removed.

The chip itself has been directly attached to the motherboard circuitry using ultra-fine wire leads, solder bumps (small balls of molten metal), or a combination of the two. There’s no practical way to remove and replace this type of CPU without doing some serious motherboard surgery.

As far as laptop CPUs go, socketed processors are gradually disappearing in favor of soldered units that cannot be upgraded.