We8217;ve written before about how to build your own gaming machine 8211; if you8217;ve done that, then you should feel fairly comfortable installing components. Upgrading your CPU is partly just reversing the original process to remove your current device and installing a shiny new one.
There are a few prerequisites though. Like knowing which CPU to buy, will it fit? Is it worth the money?
- Motherboard 8211; Asus ROG STRIX Z370-E
- CPU 8211; Intel Core i7-8700K (socket LGA1151)
- CPU cooling 8211; Corsair Hydro H150i Pro RGB liquid cooler
These are the only three parts of the machine we8217;ll be meddling with during this process which keeps things nice and simple. A quick Google search reveals the list of CPUs supported by this motherboard.
Cast your eye over the list and you8217;ll see you could easily upgrade from a Core i3 CPU to an uber-powerful Core i9 if you had the cash to splash. Once you know what will fit, you just need to find somewhere to purchase the upgraded CPU.
Ensure you have the right socket (in our case LGA1151) then find something with more power. We went for the Intel Core i7-8086K. Not a massive performance leap from the current CPU but perfect for demonstration purposes.
- Something to clean the thermal paste off the current CPU
- Some new thermal paste to apply to the new processor
- An anti-static wrist strap (view on Amazon US and Amazon UK)
The easiest solution is this thermal compound and cleaning kit from Arctic Silver (available from Amazon US and Amazon UK). A cleaning compound, surface purifier, lint-free cloths and a fresh supply of thermal paste will work wonders for this job.
An important part of ensuring your computer can handle the upgrade is to make sure you8217;re running the latest BIOS version. This is easy to do thanks to a free piece of software known as CPU-Z.
Download and install the software, then click the 8220;Mainboard8221; tab to see the BIOS info. Check this, then refer to your motherboard8217;s support page to see the latest BIOS version. Download and install with care.
- Attach the anti-static strap to yourself and to an earthing point 8211; a radiator works perfectly.
- Unscrew the CPU cooler/heatsink and detach any cables that might get in the way.
- Set the screws aside and carefully pull the cooler off.
- Apply some small drops of thermal paste removal solution to your lint-free cloth.
- Wipe the worst of the compound off the CPU taking care not get moisture or mess on your motherboard.
- Repeat this process with the cooler/heatsink.
- Apply the purifier to another clean cloth and apply that on both the CPU and cooler/heatsink.
- Remove the lever holding the CPU in place, lift up the flap and gently remove the old CPU by lifting it by the corners.
- Ready the new Intel CPU, remembering the gold arrow in the bottom corner should point that way when installed. You8217;re installing the new CPU in the same way the old one came out.
- Carefully and gently push the CPU into place.
- Replace the flap and ease the lever back into place to hold it down.
- Ready the new thermal paste.
- Apply a small amount of thermal paste in a pattern that will cover the entire CPU but not come out of the edges.
- Replace the CPU cooler, reattach and tighten the screws to keep it in place.
- Remember to plug all necessary cables back in.