One of the quickest ways to boost your HP Pavilion laptop's performance is to install a faster processor, or CPU. A faster CPU will add a few more years to your laptop's life and make your laptop run at a much faster pace. Unfortunately, replacing the CPU in most HP laptops requires disassembling most of the laptop. Nevertheless, the performance boost is worth the trouble, as you will feel like you have a new laptop when you are done.
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Things you need
- New CPU compatible with your motherboard
- Phillips screwdriver
- Thermal grease
- Electrostatic wrist band
Locate the service manual for your specific HP Pavilion laptop. HP makes the service manuals, complete with disassembly instructions, available on their website, HP.com. Download the manual. This guide will offer general instructions on disassembly, the service manual for your laptop is essential (see Resources).
Determine what type of processor your laptop's motherboard can accept. Motherboards are designed to accept only certain processors. Refer to the website of your motherboard manufacturer to determine which processors you can install. At a minimum, and AMD-based motherboard will not accept an Intel CPU and vice-versa.
Begin disassembling your HP Pavilion. Disconnect the power cable and remove the battery. Remove any covers from the bottom of the laptop. Remove the hard drive and memory sticks. If you have access to it, remove the wireless adaptor as well. Finally remove the optical drive.
Remove any screws remaining on the bottom of your laptop and turn it over. Open the display as far as it will go. Remove the keyboard, typically by prying up the bezel and removing any screws holding it in place. Remove the display panel by disconnecting the cable from the motherboard and removing any screws holding it in place. Slide the display panel straight up to remove it.
Remove the top cover to your HP Pavilion. Remove any screws holding the top cover in place. Lift the back edge of the top cover up and tilt it forward. Disconnect the touchpad cable and any other cables connecting the top cover to the motherboard. Set the top cover aside.
Locate the CPU and thermal assembly. In most Pavilion's the CPU and thermal assembly will be in one of the back corners of the motherboard. Look for a large piece of copper with pipes on the sides. That will be your heat sink. Remove any screws holding the heat sink in place and lift it straight up to remove, revealing the CPU.
Unlock and remove the CPU. If your Pavilion has an AMD CPU, raise the release latch on the side of the CPU socket to unlock the CPU. If your laptop has an Intel CPU, turn the locking screw near the top of the processor counter-clockwise until it clicks to unlock the processor. Grab the processor by the sides and lift it straight up to remove it.
Install your new CPU. Carefully line up the pins on your processor with the holes on your CPU socket. Your new CPU will only fit one way, but as all CPUs vary slightly, refer to the documentation that came with your processor for specific installation instructions. Once the CPU is in place, lower the release latch or turn the locking screw clockwise to lock the CPU in place.
Apply a very thin layer of thermal paste to the top of your CPU. Replace the heat sink and reassemble your Pavilion. Boot your laptop up and enjoy your new processor.
Tips and warnings
- Do your research before purchasing a new CPU. Often last year's CPUs are still comparatively fast at a much lower price than the current year's models.
- Never work on a laptop without wearing an electrostatic wrist band to prevent static electricity from damaging your laptop.
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