IMPORTANT: How to install an Intel CPU

The CPU or Central Processing Unit is the brain of the computer. All commands for data or calculations pass through the CPU. The current Intel® form factors are called LGA 775, 1155 and 2011. The main difference between these form factors and previous is there are no pins located on the processor. Instead, there are contact areas that are touched by pins located on the motherboard socket itself.

This guide will show you how to install an Intel® CPU and heatsink.

Note: Be sure to use proper precautions including an anti-static wristband or an anti-static mat to avoid hardware damage. Avoid touching the metal contacts on the processor, or the pins on the motherboard.

1. Locate the processor socket on your motherboard. The color and exact placement of your motherboard may differ slightly.

2. Lift the lever attached to the side of the socket cover.

3. Lift the metal cover with the plastic insert. It will pivot up and out of the way. Some socket covers do not move with the metal plate. If it remains over the socket, lift it out of place and set it aside.

4. Look at the CPU to locate the alignment notches. These notches will fit around small tabs located in the socket.

5. Gently place the CPU in the socket lining up the notches on the processor with the tabs in the socket. When the processor is correctly placed, the gold triangle should be pointing at the lever. The CPU should be flat and stable in the socket.


6. Lower the metal cover. Apply a bit of pressure on the plate and rotate the lever back down towards the motherboard. Slide the lever under the small tab to secure it in place. If the black plastic socket cover was still attached to the plate, it should pop loose at this time. Set it aside.


The CPU is now installed in the socket. The next steps will show how to add a heatsink to keep it cool.

Installing a Heatsink
The Heatsink is vital to the overall health of your CPU. The heatsink is designed to take the heat generated by the processor and dissipate it to keep the CPU running cool and efficiently. There are a number of different styles and types of heatsinks. This section of the guide will reference a stock Intel® heatsink.


1. Check the CPU for thermal compound. Thermal compound is necessary to create a tight bond between the heatsink and processor. Intel® heatsinks have compound pre-installed.

2. Align the 4 clips on the heatsink with the holes on the motherboard. Place the heatsink on top of the processor keeping the clips and holes aligned.

3. Press the 4 clips downward until they click latching the heatsink to the motherboard.

4. Connect the fan cable to the CPU fan connector on the motherboard. This is normally labeled CPUFAN or something similar.

That's it! Your installation is complete.

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