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How to upgrade laptop processor from i3 to i7 (or i5)

For many years, I wished I could upgrade laptop processor from i3 to higher version like i5 or i7.

I had always thought laptop cpu upgrade is impossible. After all, every laptop service center told me the same.

In this post, I’ll show you how I performed a laptop processor upgrade and replaced my Legacy Intel i3-2330M processor with i7-2640M (turbo) on my personal laptop.(Samsung NP300E5Z). I only have basic understanding on circuits.

Samsung NP300E5Z_featured

I bought my first laptop in 2011 with my hard earned money! – Samsung NP300E5Z-S01IN. 😀 It was a pretty good, above average, ‘value for money’ deal at that time.

Almost close to a decade now, I’ve upgraded my laptop in every possible way so that it can perform at par with today’s standards: 👍

☠️ Be Diligent ☠️

WARNING:- It is common sense that you don’t attempt to upgrade laptop CPU if it is still under warranty or you have no clue about circuits, motherboard and other jargon.

Consequently, I take no responsibility if you brick your device! – Do it at your risk.

If you don’t want details, jump to:

Four easy steps to replace a laptop processor
Benchmark comparison of i3 Vs i7 processor performance

Here’s a summary of all the upgrades so far to my Samsung NP300E5Z

Currency: ₹ Indian Rupees (INR)

ComponentCompany Defaults
(Samsung NP300E5Z)
Upgrade
(I manually replaced)
Purpose of upgradeCost of upgrade
(in INR)
RAM4 GB (ADATA)+4GB = 8GBFaster processing₹ 1,200
Hard DiskHitachi – 1TB – HDDSamsung 750 EVO SSD -120 GB for OS
Crucial MX500 – 500 GB for storage
Faster File operations (Open, Read, Write, Move etc.)₹ 3,000
+
₹ 5,000
CD/DVD slotOptical disk trayReplaced it with default Hitachi 1TB😊Secondary to primary Storage₹ 300
Thermal GelDefaultThermal GreaseProcessor cooling, Less power consumption₹ 150
ProcessorIntel i3- 2330M
2.2GHz, Dual core, 4 Threads
Intel i7-2640M
2.8GHz – 3.5GHz Turbo,
Dual Core, 8 Threads
Overall performance boost₹ 3,800
Total₹ 13,450

It is a considerable investment for a guy from working middle class! However, for a price of almost 13.5K, (roughly about 200 USD), I’ve got myself a laptop that can easily beat a new one with triple price tag. Therefore this effort was totally worth it..!👍

Regarding SSD, I have a post that you can check this post to see how to choose best SSD for home user. .

On the other hand, the last row of the table – ‘Processor Upgrade” – I thought could never be done for my Samsung NP500E5Z.
On top of that, not just the local service centers but the so called “authorized” service centers of these multi-billion dollar companies told me out-right that it’s not possible to replace a laptop’s processor…ever!

Firstly, with an obsessive wish to upgrade laptop processor, hours of research and bit of a luck (which favors the one who works for it), I was able to do so.

Secondly, the results? – Are very satisfying.

So, how to upgrade a laptop processor? Although, this post illustrates processor replacement of my particular model of laptop, (Samsung NP300E5Z), it is not limited to this model.

Any laptop and hence, any brand can be upgraded- provided you do your due-diligence. 👈

Step 1: Check if your CPU is up-gradable.

Before you do a laptop cpu upgrade, you can either go to your computer >> This PC >> right click >> Select properties and view processor details there.

(OR)

Use a tool like ‘CPU-Z‘ to see your processor type.

I recommend latter because there is much more you can know about your motherboard, processor etc. CPU-Z is of great help.

NOTE:– If your processor is a mobile processor i.e., of type M or QM, then you can surely perform laptop processor upgrade. According to my limited knowledge, if your laptop processor is of type U, then you can’t replace it. Sorry!! – OR, may be you can but I don’t know! Sorry!!

Step 2: Check the motherboard socket type to replace laptop processor.

Mine is Socket G2 / rPGA988B and processor is Sandy Bridge architecture. Which means, the replacement processor should be a processor compatible with this particular socket and micro-architecture.

Step 3: You need to get technical. – Find a compatible processor to upgrade.

There are plenty of resources online. They even show probability indicators of success rate of replacement. I used this one:- cpu-upgrade.com/i3_mobile.

Though there are plenty of tempting QM (quad cores) , I wanted to go with same wattage (power) and wanted to be on safer side.

There is also websites that’ll give you an approximation of comparative performance. Like this one – Versus.com/i32330mvsi72640m

Comparative Advantage:

compare i3 2330M vs i7 2640M

Tip:- It is best to replace a processor of certain wattage with same wattage processor. The L1, L2, L3 cache can differ and it is good if high.

For Example:– Intel core i3- 2320M requires 35W power socket. Hence, I chose i7-2640M which also requires 35W power socket.

Step 4: Just do it!

Dismantle your laptop, find the processor and replace it. There are plenty of YouTube videos which show how to dismantle a laptop correctly. Find your model.

upgrade laptop processor

You will require a tool set with mini/micro screw-drivers.

Don’t forget to apply thermal gel/paste.

Remember: You’ll have to install a new Graphics driver – for integrated Intel Graphics on your processor. It’s easy to search and find on intel’s website. Or, use their auto-update feature. I used that.

Here’s the Satisfying part after replacement. I’ve used Novabench to run tests.

Performance comparision of my laptop processor upgrade [Samsung NP300 E5Z]

Yep. An increase of 38% – in benchmark score. You can also see there is an increase in RAM and Disk scores too. I wonder how? Well, isn’t it obvious? 😀

What about the real application test you ask?

Honestly, it is not a super mind-blowing upgrade. Though the difference of this laptop CPU upgrade is definitely visible, it is not a super big leap either.

I feel I should have gone for a Quad core processor but I that was more riskier and I didn’t want to risk money and laptop! So, considering that, I am overall happy! 😀

Before and after of laptop processor upgrade (in my day to day activities)

  • On my Windows 10, boot up time, i.e., from windows logo to till I see login screen, it used to take 8 seconds before. Now it is 5 seconds!
  • The laptop fan doesn’t make the loud sound of cooling. It is very rare now and used to be more often before.
  • Applications like MS words, MS Excel etc open slightly faster.
  • Games like Counter-Strike GO and MK4 11 – Komplete edition etc feel more responsive and fluid.
  • Battery lasts at least 15 mins longer. (without battery saver).
  • Multi-tasking, multiple desktops are much more smoother
  • File transfers are a bit faster.

So, overall, it was totally worth it!! 👻

Have you ever considered changing your laptop’s processor? – tell me about it in comments section.

Cheers,

🍻

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By Shivanandana Hegde

Shivanandana Hegde is a data practitioner. On a daily basis, he works with analytics and marketing gurus in his profession to optimize sales and user experience and empower clients across India and North America.

He has keen interest in digital devices, communication applications and networks to access and manage information. He has published a number of blog posts and publications over the last decade.

22 replies on “How to upgrade laptop processor from i3 to i7 (or i5)”

Hey Shivanandana,

I too have same Samsung laptop, I am thinking of upgrade.

Your post looks informative and interesting

Can you please tell me if you are still experiencing improved performance? Basically is the effort and investment worth the effort?

Hi Ashutosh,
Thanks for the comment. It’s been about 6 months since I did this upgrade and I haven’t faced any issues so far. To your questions, yes. The performance is still better than the old i3 processor and it is consistent. If you are considering upgrade, don’t forget to replace HDD by SSD and that itself is a huge upgrade in speed and performance. All the best!

Hey,

I’ve followed all the steps but when i turn my laptop on the screen is black and everything else is working do you have any idea what would be the problem?

Check the connections again. While re-connecting everything, your screen/monitor’s bus seems to be not connected properly. You’ll have to re-open everything and check for small flat wire with plug-in end. Let me know if that worked.
If not, try replacing the processor again and see if that fixed the issue. That way, you’ll know that the processor is not compatible with motherboard.

Hi!
Very informative post!
Is very nice somrbody is carry on to use old laptop!
I have as well a np300e5x and i was willing to upgrade the cpu and the ram(currently a very old b820 and 6gb ram)
I think for the cpu your i7 will be fine as the models are very close as specs.
But i have a question for you, i was searching information about the maximum ram support from my laptop, and i found different version, someone is saying 8gb and somebody else is saying 16gb.
Do you have any idea which is the right answer?
Model is np300e5x.
Also after i replace the cpu i need to install anything? The drivers are already update to the latest.
Let me know!
Thank you

Hi Shiva

Thanks for the post. I am having HP 14q core i3 7th gen(cs0009TU). I have upgraded the ram to 12gb(from 4gb). Can I upgrade the processor to i7?
Can you please let me know if I can add any graphics card or not.

My wife use this laptop for graphics and video editing (photoshops, lightroom, after effect, illustrator, premier pro).

Thanks in advance.

Hi Sudipta,
Glad to have you as a reader! The first choice of upgrades for a laptop are SSD and RAM. Processor upgrade gets tricky and needs lots of due-diligence because every manufacturer has different configuration on their motherboard. I have a note which says if your motherboard/processor is of type ‘U’ then you’re not so lucky in this matter. Your laptop’s processor is “Intel® Core™ i3-7020 U”. So, No. Perhaps getting an SSD will give a boost! All the best!

Hi Shivanandana,

Glad to see your post about processor upgrade, I am having Dell ‘n’ series laptop with 6GB ram and i3 2350 M processor. I thought of upgrading my RAM and Processor, could you please suggest me the best fit?

Hi Shivanandana bhaiya I have an intel i3 process manufactured by hcl intel i3-2105 but I am not able to find whether it is U or M or QM, it is not written after the processor name and anywhere, where can I find it?. Please, help!

Hi Shivanandana,

great post, very informative and you have inspired me to try and upgrade my Samsung NP300E5A-A05DX Laptop, it currently has the i3-2350M processor but im looking at replacing this with either an i7-2620M or i7-2640M as they are the same 35W power, sandy bridge and G2 socket. Do you think either of these processors would work for me?
I have already upgraded my RAM to 8GB and replaced the original HDD for a 500GB SSD.

Hi Jordan,
Glad to know that you’re considering this upgrade. Yes. i7 2640M should work. You can always put your old processor back in case if the new one doesn’t work. So, it is worth giving a try. All the best!!

Hi shivananda a

Nice and informative post.

I have a samsung np300e5x-a08in laptop

How did you install two ssd one for os and one for storage?

HDD I understand was installed in place of dvddrive.

Hi Sarang, glad you liked the post. The second SSD is in place of CD/DVD drive. You will get CD/DVD to SSD port convertor on amazon. The trade off here is that you won’t be able to use CD/DVD anymore. For me, they are extinct. Who uses them these days anyways right? 🙂

Hi,
I need help with my laptop. Lenovo Ideapad 320-14isk.I know that it can be upgraded to HDD to SSD, and 4gb ram to 8gb ram. I wanted to know if I can upgrade i3 to i5/i7 as well. Please help. Thanks.

Hi ! Thanks for you experience.
Have you install a bios modded, for this upgrade?
I have the samsung np300e5c ,
with the bios P07RAC ,
South Bridge Intel HM75 rev 04,
North Bridge Intel Sandy Bridge rev 09.
Can I install cpu i7-2640M?

Hi shivanandana
I have dell laptop with intel -i5 1035g @1.00GHz to 1.19 Ghz can i upgrade this processor

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