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Can I replace my processor with a faster one?

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I have a Lenovo Tabletop C series with 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive. I love it all except the speed of the processor. How hard is it to replace the processor with a faster one?

To be perfectly honest, it’s rare to replace a CPU simply, much less replace it with one of a higher speed.

Speed is typically tied to the motherboard. Even when you can replace the CPU (and we’ll talk about a couple of scenarios where that can happen), the motherboard determines the speed. It’s the motherboard that is most often the limiting factor.

As for speed, let’s look at what you can do about that.

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CPU speed versus cores

I’m not at all familiar with what’s going on inside of a Lenovo. So, I would have you check with the manufacturer to see if there are even any options for replacing the CPU. My guess is there probably aren’t.

Sometimes, you don’t necessarily change the CPU speed, but you might get a compatible CPU that has more cores.

CPUFor example, if you have a dual core processor, perhaps you can upgrade to a quad. It will give you more computing power without actually increasing the speed at which the CPU runs.

But again, check with the manufacturer for your options here.

Solid-state drives

Assuming you’ve already maxed-out your RAM (typically the most effective speed improvement), I might have you consider something else.

The speed of our computers is based on many different things. You might consider instead replacing your hard drive with a solid-state drive. That will actually cause a tangible speed improvement in how the computer responds.

Now, the CPU won’t process anything faster. If you’re doing things that are very CPU intensive, those won’t speed up. For the most part, however, people are actually doing things that are more disk intensive than they are CPU intensive.

In the end, the bottom line is it all depends on your computer and how you use it.

39 comments on “Can I replace my processor with a faster one?”

  1. Another thing that can speed up a computer is to replace the “grease”, or thermal paste, between the CPU and heat sink. In older computers the paste dries out and does not allow proper contact between the two, and therefore a loss of heat transfer. This usually happens when the manufacturer applies too much paste. For more info do a search for Arctic Silver 5.

    Also, replacing a 5400 RPM with a 7200 RPM hard drive (in a notebook), or a 7200 RPM drive with a 10,000 RPM HD in a desktop will do wonders to gain more speed. The hard drive is almost always the constriction point when data moves back and forth to RAM.

  2. I totally agree with your suggestion to replace the spinning hard drive with an SSD to get more speed. A basic 120 gb SSD (by no means the best available) turned my old XP clunker into an amazing speed machine. You notice it immediately at boot up and shut down, saving files, logging off and on, erasing files, launching applications and all those routine things that I used to blame Windows for taking so long. Seems like it was the read/write speed to the platters that was the culprit. The only issue was cloning the hard disk to the SSD, which required some shrinking (and clutter clearing) but that’s a good thing. I’ll be putting SSDs in all my machines when the price drops a bit more.

  3. A new power supply will not make the computer faster.

    For some things (mostly gaming and video rendering), a better video card can help.

    • Gord, I think we can agree that just replacing a power supply does not necessarily speed up a computer. However, there are situations where it will.

      (Quote from askleo.com)
      “A new power supply is typically called for in one of two situations:

      •Your existing power supply is failing. Either it has failed completely or it’s “slowly” failing and no longer able to produce the power your computer requires. As it fails, unexplained crashes usually become more frequent.

      •You’ve added hardware in the form of add-in boards, memory expansions, additional hard drives, or other devices that draw power from your computer, and you’ve exceeded the previous power supply’s capacity. This, too, can behave like a failing power supply.”

      I would add that the translation of “unexplained crashes” is “slower computer”.

      Here is the link to the full article:
      http://ask-leo.com/is_it_safe_to_install_a_higher_wattage_power_supply_in_my_computer.html

      • If the machine is crashing, then sure, it’s possible that the powersupply is overtaxed.

        However if the machine is simply slow, then a powersupply upgrade will not help.

        Crashing and being slow are most certainly not the same thing,

  4. I agree that the switch of a spinning HDD to a SSD is the best way to improve overall system performance. Most PCs are bottlenecked by the HDD and the installation of a SSD gives you the best beat for the buck.

    Very few tasks will benefit from a CPU upgrade (unless you really have an extra slow banger). Graphic work, video conversions, CAD, etc. will benefit from a more powerful CPU. But those are not every day tasks and may not play a major role for the overall system performance.

  5. I’ve never had a slow computer because of a power supply unless you call ‘dead in the water’ slow when my PSU went belly up.
    Overclocking. It’s what some gamers do when striving for speed. DO NOT ATTEMPT unless you know what you’re doing,

    • Snert, I think you just stated the obvious. If your computer is “dead in the water slow” and replacing the power supply fixes the problem, then what Leo said as quoted below holds water.

      (from my reply to Gord), I think we can agree that just replacing a power supply does not necessarily speed up a computer. However, there are situations where it will.

      (Quote from askleo.com)
      “A new power supply is typically called for in one of two situations:

      •Your existing power supply is failing. Either it has failed completely or it’s “slowly” failing and no longer able to produce the power your computer requires. As it fails, unexplained crashes usually become more frequent.

      •You’ve added hardware in the form of add-in boards, memory expansions, additional hard drives, or other devices that draw power from your computer, and you’ve exceeded the previous power supply’s capacity. This, too, can behave like a failing power supply.”

      I would add that the translation of “unexplained crashes” is “slower computer”.

      Here is the link to the full article:
      http://ask-leo.com/is_it_safe_to_install_a_higher_wattage_power_supply_in_my_computer.html

  6. These days, CPUs are so powerful now that they’ve gone beyond our needs, and if you got a high-end CPU, most of its power will be idle most of the time.

    Other components are the bottleneck, and seem to be several generations behind the CPU technology. The most irritating one, in my opinion, is USB, if you happen to stumble upon a USB 2.0 connector and want to copy a 4.7 Gb movie. Here is a comparison of maximum transfer speeds between several devices and standards:

    USB 2.0: 60 Mb/s
    HDD (SATA 2.0): 140 Mb/s
    SSD (SATA 3.0): 600 Mb/s
    USB 3.0: 600 Mb/s

    Obviously, having a SATA 2.0 scratcher and a USB 2.0 will cause issues such as having to find a way to kill time until your PC finishes transfering the file from point A to B.

    Personally, I’d recommend upgrades in this order:
    Motherboard (if it doesn’t have USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0)
    HDMI (either by changing the motherboard or the video card – if using VGA)
    SSD (keeping the old hard drive for storage)
    Video card (if needed)
    RAM (if running Firefox) 🙂

  7. Per Mark’s comments above and to reiterate what others, including Leo, have said, a computer’s power supply (PSU) has **NOTHING** to do with the speed of **ANYTHING**! 90 percent of all computer owners never need to deal with their PSU unless it’s failing.

    Back to the original issue, I agree that a Solid State drive (SSD) would be the single best upgrade. The Lenovo table PCs are nice items and most likely have a decent CPU. I’m guessing the hard drive is the slow link in the chain.

  8. I have a laptop Compaq Presario CQ56 that is running slowly and I have tried everything I can to speed it up but it dosent work
    Pliz help
    System properties are
    OS- Windows 7 home premium Service park 1
    Processor- AMD V140 processor
    Remainig Hard disk Memory- 31.1GB
    RAM-2.00GB(1.74 usable)

    Pliz reply thank you

  9. Thanks so much for the info. I”am in the process of finding speed for my Toshiba xp Laptop
    I bought in ’06 . The SSD will be what I consider …

  10. I had a processor which was working well, i removed it from its original computer and placed it in another desktop computer. But when i brought it back to its original computer, it failed to work, what could have been the problem?

  11. hai.i was using compaq machine and it was dual core processor and I change that ram 512 to 2gb.so it perform well i think if i change that processor to i3 it will give good performance. so can i change the processor.

    • That depends on which processors your motherboard is capable of handling. But if you read the article, you’ll see that even if you change it, it probably won’t make a significant difference.

  12. I am a professional photographer using a 6 year old HP computer with a Intel E5400 processor and 8GB Ram, NVIVIA 210 graphics card and a 300ws power supply.

    I use Photoshop CC and Light Room CC every day, all day long processing Raw files. I would like my computer to run faster and more efficient.
    I DO NOT play any games, or do cad or 3d work.
    I’m thinking about installing an NVIDIA GeForce GT7300 2048 2MB graphics card and going to 16MB of ram. And replacing my power supply to 400wa.
    What do you think. Do I need to change anything? I am not sure if I need the power supply.

    Please let me know something ASAP if possible

  13. I have an 8 yr old system, running 2.20 gigahertz AMD Phenom 9550 Quad-Core, Not hyper-threaded in an AM2+ socket, Win10 Home 64 with * Gb RAM.
    I’ve been told I can put an AMD FX-4130 Zambezi Quad-Core 3.8 GHz Socket AM3+ 125W FD4130FRW4MGU Desktop Processor
    in this socket, which would be a good 50% faster, if not more. My main problem child is using Dragon Naturally Speaking for voice editing
    fairly large Microsoft Word files and I don’t think an SSD would help. Ideas?

    Thank you,
    Jim Dodds

  14. Hello Sir,

    I have Dell XPS 15 L501X, with i7 processor of very early days. Its without any generation, as further you would have witnessed g2, G3, etc. started coming in market, My board details are below, pls suggest if i can change my processor to any next getnration CPU, pls suggest if there is any scope to get it replaced please.

    Manufacturer Dell Inc.
    Model 00YWG2 (U2E1)
    Version A08
    Chipset Vendor Intel
    Chipset Model DMI Host Bridge
    Chipset Revision 11
    Southbridge Vendor Intel
    Southbridge Model HM57
    Southbridge Revision 06

    BR
    Rajeev

    • You’d probably do best to check with a computer shop. We don’t have the resources to keep track of all of the possible hardware configurations.

  15. I posted this as a reply somewhere here but for me a CPU upgrade improved my speeds greatly, not for surfing the internet or start up and shut down but on Nero since I do a lot of video encoding. Making a DVD that took me 38 mins to do now takes me around 24. I went from 2.53 duel core to a 2.67 duel core but this on has a turbo speed of 3.33 as long as the tempter is not high or it will adjust its self accordingly. The 2.53 didn’t have that feature. A SSD will improve your speed a lot and if I had an SSD I don’t think I would have noticed the advantage of the faster processor as much. Also see if you can run faster ram. I never have money for a new computer so I slowly get the parts that will get my older one to run its best and they are pretty quick.

  16. im new to all this, and as a hobby i am looking at making a computer from scratch and i’m finding it hard to get the answer for what i feel may be a very basic answer, Do i have to change the motherboard if i change the processor i3 to an i7 series? its not about price at the moment its about understanding how it all fits and works, so far i have changed the hard drive to a 1tb and the ram from a 2gb to 16gb, and the power from a 250watt to a 800 watt pack, fans and coolers are next but i have no answer for the above.

    • Typically yes – different processors have different connections. You would do best to do the research on the pin-out and compatibility of each of the processors you’re considering and make sure to get a compatible motherboard.

  17. hey leo
    i will be making cpu … i need your help…. so i will be buying kingstone 8gb ram ddr4 , galax gefore 4gd graphic card ddr5, gigabyte motherboard ddr4 , antel core i5 6600k ddr4 , circle pheniox cabinet , asus DVD burner and about hard disk that will be bought all round. i had question that will my system work?
    will it be good enough for high gaming stuff?
    and will my ddr5 graphic card support ddr4 motherboard?
    i am indian and in ruppes my budget is 50000 and in dollars 737$ … so is everthing good around budget and will my system will great?

  18. Hi
    Can you help me
    I have new Hp laptop that i use system information viewer to know what is my cpu type so I have this message and i need to know what it means
    Intel Core i3 Dual 7000 (Kaby Lake-U) [B0] 2.70GHz Socket 0x04 (Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7200U CPU @ 2.50GHz) (Intel64 Family 6 Model 142 Stepping 9)

  19. Hi Leo,
    I have an HP XW4400 Workstation with a Pentium D 945 CPU. Can I replace this CPU with an Intel core 2 duo E8200 that I have in stock ? Is it a better solution?
    thanks a lot
    Dion

  20. I have just one problem about my latop LG LW70 Express it says my processor cannot be replaced is that true or not please help thank you

  21. I have an 8 year old Sony Vaio. I maxed out the RAM to 8GB (not a lot) and I replaced the HDD with an SSD. It runs as fast as any general purpose laptop needs to run, pretty much no lag, and it’s running the latest upgrade of Windows 10. RAM and SSD are much more important to a computer’s all around performance than the CPU speed.

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