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How to Install an Intel Processor

Installing an Intel CPU is as easy as installing an AMD CPU, with a few minor limitations that make it slightly different. You need some equipment before we get started, but nothing that costs you more than a few dollars. If you would like to learn how to install an Intel CPU as part of a complete PC build, read our comprehensive guide to this topic.

For more detailed help, you can also find useful guides on installing a motherboard and installing a graphics card.

Step 1: Preparing the Tools

  PC Build

Before you start the CPU installation, make sure that you have all the tools you need. The first is not essential, but we always recommend it. An antistatic bracelet.

This prevents static discharges from damaging your CPU or motherboard. We also recommend installing on a non-conductive surface such as a desk and not wearing socks on the carpet. If you do not have a wristband, ground yourself before and during installation by touching your PC case or power supply case.

You also need the CPU itself, the desired motherboard For installation, you need a suitable CPU cooler (which is included with the CPU is fine), thermal grease, if your CPU cooler is not pre-installed, and a Phillips screwdriver, if your CPU needs it.

It's a good idea to have a lint-free cloth and some 100% isopropyl alcohol if you are over-zealous with the heat paste.

Step 2: Install the GettyImages CPU

The only obvious physical differences between Intel and AMD CPUs are the arrangement of the pins. AMD chips have the pins on the processor itself, while Intel has the pins in the socket. This means it's easier to handle the CPU without damaging it. However, you must be a little more cautious when installing.

Loosen the bracket on the CPU socket by pressing and lifting it to the side Lift it up. You should see that the base moves slightly during this movement. Remove the plastic retainer when working on a new motherboard or the old CPU and set it aside.

Pick up your Intel CPU and look at the top. In one of the corners you should see a golden triangle. This is aligned with a plastic indentation of an arrow on the socket itself. Use these and the notches on each side of the processor board to align the processor correctly, and then gently lower it into the socket. It should be tight without effort. If in doubt, remove it and try again.

When you are sure that the processor is installed, push down on the support arm to lock it. This requires some strength, but should not be difficult. Firm but gentle is a good attitude.

Step 3: Install the Cooler

  How To Install The Intel Processor installintelcpu02
Minerva / GettyImages

There are several ways to install the myriad of coolers out there. See the installation guide for instructions on how to do this cooler. That is, the wide dashes work for most and there are steps that may not be described in the chiller installation guide.

Thermal grease is of the utmost importance as no surface is perfectly flat. Paste serves to fill in these gaps for better contact. For some coolers, the heat paste is already applied. If this is your case, skip this part of the manual.

Otherwise, you'll want to use a popular commercial paste like Thermal Grizzly's Kryonaut and squeeze out a small, pea-sized lump in the middle of your CPU. There are many quarrels about the best way to apply thermal grease, but there are no big differences in the final results. This method is a good starting point.

Note: Some thermal compounds are electrically conductive. While most do not, it is a good idea to make sure that there are none on the bottom of the CPU or in the pins to which it is connected. In this case, use the lint-free cloth and isopropyl alcohol to clean it before proceeding.

Install the cooler according to the instructions. The paste spreads as the pressure increases. When tightening the screws, tighten them slowly, one or two turns at a time in a criss-cross pattern – one corner opposite and the other two in the same way. This will prevent the CPU from being overloaded on one side, which can damage your hardware or cause uneven thermal paste coating.

After installing the cooler, connect the fan to the CPU cooler header on your motherboard. It is a three- or four-pin header, commonly referred to as CPU_FAN or similar.

Step 4: Test

  How Intel Processor Is Installed. Intelxtu01

If everything went according to plan in the above steps, your CPU should be installed. Complete the rest of your build and plug in everything.

When you're ready, you should test the system to make sure it's working properly. In this manual, we want to test the CPU. The first step is to make sure the system sends messages – that is, it beeps and then displays either the system logo or a series of numbers on a black screen. In this case it should be started on Windows or under your preferred operating system.

If you make it there, congratulations, you have a CPU installed. It's a good idea to make sure the temperatures are where they should be. For example, install the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (above) or HWInfo and check the CPU temperature at idle. It should not be too much above ambient temperature. Testing during a game or using a benchmark is also a good idea.

If everything looks good, try overclocking your CPU.

If you encounter problems when the CPU does not boot, or at temperatures If you are set too high, it is best to reboot the processor. Repeat the above steps in reverse order to remove the processor, then reinstall it using the same methods.

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