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Ivan Barajas says: To maximize cost and use, it is best to match system requirements with core availability. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Not really, because data is stored on the hard drive of your computer, but you need to make sure your processor is compatible with your motherboard.

Computer CPU Upgrades - iFixit

The software being used will determine this — if an eight-core processor gets installed but the software can only utilize four of those cores, it will not be an efficient or cost-effective solution.

This means that a cooling unit must be purchased separately.

You also have to take into account how many actions a CPU can perform per clock cycle. Make sure the CPU you are buying fits in the type of socket your motherboard has. Intel is rolling out a thoroughly overhauled range of PC processors based on its new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. This summer we're expecting to see AMD processors based on a completely new design, currently called Bulldozer, which could pose a real threat to Intel's dominance.

What processor will give me the best bang for the buck?

Intel® Desktop Processor Upgrade Information

If I fail upgrading my processor, will I lose anything on my computer? Replacing the motherboard gives you a newer chipset and BIOS, and, of course, a new motherboard rather than one that's several years old.

We'll guide you through the business of picking the best chip. Learn more. It should be noted that you will only see performance gains from having more cores if you run applications that are optimized to take advantage of extra cores.

Upgrade Your CPU

Evergreen Technologies and other companies manufacture adapters that allow you to install a processor that uses a different socket than the motherboard, such as a Socket processor in a Socket motherboard.

Regardless of the type or brand of CPU, the process will be the same. Disconnect all cabling and wiring that may be in your way: For simplicity's sake, you may want to unplug any peripherals e.

Bulldozer's design looks very advanced and efficient. You may need to use a thin-bladed screwdriver to release the heat-sink bracket. You'll have to install your new processor using the same fit as the current one, so knowing which direction the processor is facing will help you install it correctly the first time.

Compare Intel Desktop Processors. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status.