Last Updated on December 21, 2021 by Shivanandana Hegde
For many years, I wished I could upgrade my laptop processor from i3 to a higher version like i5 or i7.
I always thought laptop cpu upgrade is impossible. I mean, every authorized laptop service center told me the same. So, when a multi-billion dollar companies cannot do it, how can I?
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 a basic understanding of circuits and motherboards.
I bought my first laptop in 2011 with my own 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 the latest standards. For instance, I have replaced HDD (hard disk) with Samsung and Crucial SSD 👍
☠️ Be Diligent before upgrading your laptop processor ☠️
WARNING:- It is common sense that you don’t attempt to upgrade the laptop CPU if it is still under warranty. Also, if you have no clue about circuits, motherboard, and other jargon, don’t attempt this.
Obviously, I take no responsibility if you brick your device! – Do this at your own risk.
Yes. You don’t have to be an expert at the engineering level. However, you should know the basics of connection, screw fitting, etc.
Below are the steps to replace a laptop processor (i3 to i7):
- Check if your CPU can be upgraded at all (M type processor)
- Check the motherboard socket type to replace laptop processor
- Get technical and find a compatible processor to upgrade
- Just do it and this is how I did it.
➤ End result was satisfying!. Checkout the final result of this cpu upgrade
Just for the record, below is a summary of all the upgrades I’ve done on my Samsung NP300E5Z model laptop.
Currency: ₹ Indian Rupees (INR)
(I manually replaced)
|Purpose of upgrade||Cost of upgrade|
|RAM||4 GB (ADATA)||+4GB = 8GB||Faster processing||₹ 1,200|
|Hard Disk||Hitachi – 1TB – HDD||Samsung 750 EVO SSD -120 GB for OS. + |
Crucial MX500 – 500 GB for storage
|Faster File operations (Open, Read, Write, Move etc.)||₹ 3,000|
|CD/DVD slot||Optical disk tray||Replaced it with default Hitachi 1TB😊||Secondary Storage||₹ 300|
|Thermal Gel||Default||Thermal Grease||Processor cooling, Less power consumption||₹ 150|
|Processor||Intel i3- 2330M|
2.2GHz, Dual-core, 4 Threads
2.8GHz – 3.5GHz Turbo,
Dual-Core, 8 Threads
|Overall performance boost||₹ 3,800|
It is a considerable investment for a guy from working for 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 a triple price tag. Therefore this effort was totally worth it..!👍
Regarding SSD, I have a post that you can check to see how to choose the best SSD for home users.
Firstly, with an obsessive wish to upgrade the laptop processor, hours of research, and a bit of luck, I was able to do it.
Secondly, the results? – Are very satisfying. ❤
So, how to upgrade a laptop processor? Although this post illustrates the 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 can be upgraded
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.
Use a tool like ‘CPU-Z‘ to see your processor type.
I recommend the 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 a 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 the processor is Sandy Bridge architecture. This 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 the 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 the same wattage (power) and wanted to be on the safer side.
There are also websites that’ll give you an approximation of comparative performance. Like this one – Versus.com/i32330mvsi72640m
Tip:- It is best to replace a processor of certain wattage with the same wattage processor. The L1, L2, L3 cache can differ and it is good if high.
For Example– Intel core i3- 2320M requires a 35W power socket. Hence, I chose i7-2640M which also requires a 35W power socket.
Step 4: Just do it. This is how I upgraded my laptop processor
Dismantle your laptop, find the processor and replace it. There are plenty of YouTube videos that show how to dismantle a laptop correctly. Find your model.
You will require a toolset 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 comparison of my laptop processor upgrade [Samsung NP300 E5Z]
Yep. An increase of 38% – in benchmark score. Of course, you can see the increase in RAM and Disk scores too. 😀
What about the real application test?
Honestly, it is not a super mind-blowing upgrade. Though the difference of this laptop CPU upgrade is definitely visible, it is not a huge leap either.
I feel I should have gone for a Quad-core processor but that was riskier. As a result, I would’ve risked both money and a 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 the comments section.