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  • CPUs

  • Motherboards

  • Video Cards

  • The CPU is the heart of any computer system, and is one of the primary contributors to overall system performance. Business applications scale well to increased CPU speed, as do many 3D games and applications. Of course, depending on your secondary PC components, a slow CPU can also be a serious bottleneck in achieving higher 3D performance. Adding a newer video card is one solution, but upgrading a system with a fast GeForce2 Ultra video card will do little if it is paired with an older, slower processor.

    Thankfully, the cost of a new processor is very low in relation to its potential benefits. Those with compatible, Intel-based systems can move to a powerful Pentium III 800E for only $180, and owners of older Athlon systems can give their PC a 900 MHz boost for about the same price. Moving up to a much faster CPU is also one of the most noticeable upgrades, since the enhanced CPU speed will affect every aspect of your computer's performance. Newer CPUs may also include features such as MMX, SSE and 3D Now! Extensions and will contribute much more than just speed to an older system.

    Best of all, you do not need an advanced degree to perform a CPU installation, and next to adding a new video card, it is probably the easiest system upgrade. There is only one component involved, and the motherboard and other system components will not need to be adjusted or removed. The following CPU Installation Guide outlines the detailed steps to follow, as well as offering tips geared towards making the install process that much smoother.

    This guide also assumes that the user has purchased a compatible processor, and that all required secondary components (such as CPU Coolers and Slockets) have been allocated as well.

    Installing a new CPU is a relatively simple task, but one that still needs some required components to be ready and organized. Here is the list of items to gather before starting with the actual CPU install.


    CPU Cooler (Heatsink/Fan)
    Thermal Paste (included with retail processors)
    Motherboard Manual
    CPU Documentation
    Slocket Adapter Card (if needed)

    Installing a new CPU without taking the time to confirm CPU compatibility is a mistake that many users make. When assembling a brand new PC, the motherboard can easily be matched to the CPU. The same goes if you are looking to move up to a faster speed processor within the same product line, It is when upgrading from an older CPU to a newer model, that you should do a little homework first.

    While confirming that your motherboard can handle the CPU is required, the system BIOS is the real key. Being several revisions behind may mean your CPU support is not as current as it should be. When the PC boots, there will be a BIOS revision number either at the top or bottom of the screen. This revision number could be as simple as “1.XX” or as complex as a series of ten numbers of more. Write this number down and then check the manufacturer's website. If a newer BIOS version is required to support the CPU in question, then download the file and flash your BIOS. Please consult your motherboard documentation or online resources for the exact instructions on updating your system BIOS.

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