Can I Fit Any CPU I Want to My Laptop? (Explained)

No, you can not, technically, it is possible to upgrade your laptop processor from i5 to i7. However, the general idea is that upgrading a laptop is impossible because of how CPUs are placed on the laptop’s motherboard.

If your laptop has Intel Core i5 and you want more CPU power, then upgrading to Intel Core i7 is the next logical decision.

However, upgrading the CPU on a laptop is not as easy as upgrading to a desktop. The complexity of upgrading the CPU on laptops is due to increased CPU levels versus desktops.

On desktops, CPUs can be disconnected from their sockets on the motherboard. However, on laptops, CPUs are almost always soldered into the sockets of their motherboards.

The upgrade should be straightforward in rare cases where your laptop has removable CPUs.

Most laptops, unfortunately, feature BGA sockets for their laptops. It means that the processors are soldered to the socket, so it is painful to upgrade them at least.

Can I Upgrade My Laptop Processor Like A Pc?

In general, you can not. As mentioned earlier, CPU laptops are often soldered to the motherboard. Therefore, it is impossible to upgrade unless you have a laptop model supporting detachable CPUs.

Understanding CPU Surface Mounting Methods

Types of climbing techniques for CPUs are:

  • Land Grid Array (LGA): Detachable with flat connections. Most Intel desktop CPUs have this kind of upgrade.
  • Pin Grid Array (PGA): This growing type has visibility on the CPU. AMD CPUs for desktops use this type of mounting adjustment. This mounting type is also detachable.
  • Ball Grid Array (BGA): This growing type is found in most LAPTOP CPUs. With BGA, CPU connections are soldered to the motherboard. It is not detachable.
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If your CPU has a growing variety of BGAs (ball grid arrays), the general idea is that you can’t change them. Unfortunately, most laptop CPUs are of the BGA type.

In BGA mounting type, the processor is permanently connected to the motherboard. For this purpose, there are small solder balls under the CPU and small solder pads on the motherboard.

Therefore, removing the BGA-based Core i5 processor and replacing it with the BGA-based Core i7 processor requires a high level of expertise and tools.

In rare cases, if your CPU has PGA or LGA mounting type, you should be able to upgrade it from Core i3 to Core i5 or Core i5 to Core i7 unless They share the same socket type.

CPU socket and processor upgrade

To repeat, CPUs with LGA and PGA sockets are upgradeable, allowing you to upgrade from Core i5 to i7 using these sockets.

However, it would help if you ensured that both the old and new processors have a socket on the motherboard.

Can I fit Any CPU I Want to My Laptop? (Explained)

Find out if your CPU is BGA, LGA or PGA.

The easiest way to detect your laptop’s CPU level is to look at its technical features. You can see here that the socket in this CPU is FCBGA1528.

The BGA level indicates the growing type, the ball grid array. Therefore, you cannot upgrade this CPU.

You can see through the lens that it uses a laptop-based CPUPGA or pin grid array surface mounting. Therefore, this is an upgrade.

Make sure the socket is the same.

The type of level rise is only one part of the equation. You also need to ensure that both the old and new CPUs use the same socket.

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For example, if you have a Core i5 CPU based on the FCPGA946 socket (with 946 pins), then the Core i7 that needs to be upgraded must have the same number of sockets and plugs.

Core i7 based on FCPGA988 (with 988 pins) will not fit in the FCPGA946 socket.

A Possible Upgrade Example

Here we give an example of a possible upgrade from Core i5 to i7. Suppose you have a 3rd generation laptop with a dual-core Core i5-3210M processor.

By checking the details on the Intel website, you will know that the model uses an FCPGA988 socket.

You can search the internet and find a third-generation i7 processor that uses the same socket.

You can also find out on the laptop manufacturer’s website if there are different variants of the laptop with an i7 processor.

In that case, a possible recommendation here would be to upgrade the 3rd Generation Core i5-3210M to a 3rd Generation Quad-Core Core i7-3630QM processor as they both use the same socket and can be disconnected.

TDP concerns over upgrade

You need to check factors (such as TDP) before upgrading, which is why we recommend that it be done only by experienced people.

TDP stands for Thermal Design Power and indicates how much power the CPU uses and how much heat it will dissipate.

TDP for Core i7 is higher than Core i5. For example, the TDP of Intel Core i5-3210M is 35W, but the TDP of Intel Core i7-3630QM is 45W.

So if your laptop does not have adequate heat dissipation capacity, installing Core i7 on a Core i5 laptop can cause heart problems.

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Related Article: 

How Do I Find the Right CPU with the Correct Socket? (Explained)

Disadvantages of upgrading

There are also some disadvantages to upgrading the processor from Core i5 to i7. This process can be delicate, and there is no guarantee that the new processor will work to its full potential. You may also need a BIOS update.

There is a risk that the new i7 CPU will not match the cooling device. Furthermore, it cannot support the heat dissipation of the upgraded CPU, as mentioned earlier.

In addition, the upgrade procedure may void the laptop’s warranty and may result in damage and malfunction.

Your laptop’s battery life may be shorter because the i7’s power consumption is higher than the i5’s.

Final thought

Here we talked about what many people want to know when their laptop doesn’t have enough juice for their work:

Can I upgrade my laptop processor from i5 to i7? An upgrade is possible if you have a PGA or LGA level CPU and take care of other factors like CPU socket.

Therefore, it is often recommended that you get a new laptop with a more capable processor that suits your needs rather than the hassle of upgrading.


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