Upgrade laptop hardware. Can You Upgrade a Laptop’s CPU

What Is an Upgradeable Laptop? 5 Best Upgradeable Laptops

What is an upgradeable laptop? How to distinguish an upgradeable laptop from other ordinary laptops? What is modular laptop? In this post, MiniTool Partition Wizard offers you answers to these questions.

Ultimate Lenovo T440p Laptop Upgrade Guide | Screen, CPU, RAM, HDDs, & Keyboard

What Are Upgradeable Laptops?

When it comes to laptop upgrade, many people will think of CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive upgrades. Indeed, the four factors are most important in laptop upgrade. This post also focuses on them.

What are upgradeable laptops?

In general, as long as a laptop’s CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive are upgradeable, the laptop can be called an upgradeable laptop.

Why do you need upgradeable laptops?

The reason is simple—save money. If an upgradeable laptop can’t meet your need any more after years of usage, you can upgrade some of its hardware to boost its performance again. This will be much cheaper than buying a new high-performance PC.

I have ever seen some people ask online “Can a laptop last 10 years?” Actually, if an ordinary laptop can last for 5 to 8 years, then an upgradeable laptop may last nearly 10 to 15 years through hardware upgrade. In a word, upgradeable laptops are worth buying.

Note: Upgradeable laptops usually refer to those laptops that have room to upgrade. If a laptop has a top-level configuration already, I cannot guarantee that it still has room to upgrade in the future.

How to determine a laptop is upgradeable or not?

If you plan to buy an upgradeable laptop, you should note whether the laptop’s CPU or GPU is soldered. Some manufacturer will tell you this point. If the CPU or GPU is soldered on the motherboard (for example, Ultrabooks’ CPUs are usually soldered on the motherboard), this laptop is not an upgradeable laptop in a strict sense.

However, in most occasions, manufacturers won’t tell you whether this laptop’s CPU or GPU is soldered on the motherboard. If so, you can judge from the following aspects:

  • Whether the laptop’s CPU can be upgraded depends on the packaging method. If the CPU on the laptop uses PGA packaging method, this CPU can be replaced. You can check the packaging method through CPU-Z.
  • In terms of laptop CPUs, Intel CPU models with M letter at the end of the name are generally in PGA packages, while others are in BGA packages and soldered to the motherboard. This is another way to check the packaging method. But unfortunately, since the 4th generation, CPUs with M letter (using PGA) have never been seen again.
  • If the GPU is integrated into the CPU, replacing GPU means replacing CPU.
  • If the GPU is a discrete GPU and the manufacturer doesn’t tell whether it is soldered on the motherboard, you can determine that by checking its interface. If the interface is an MXM interface, it means that the GPU is not soldered. Otherwise, it is soldered and can’t be replaced at ease.

In recent years, no matter Intel or AMD, their CPUs are soldered to the motherboard and can’t be replaced easily, so I must take this situation and trend into consideration and regard these kinds of laptops as upgradeable laptops. Otherwise, there may be no real upgradeable laptops.

On the other hand, if you really want to replace the CPU soldered on the motherboard, you can still do that if you seek help from professionals. They may help you replace the CPU via BGA soldering station and other tools.

What is a modular laptop?

As we all know, users can customize and build their own laptops. This is because various computer interfaces are standardized and modularized. However, the development of computer hardware is changing with each passing day. As a result, various CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive interface technical standards have been introduced.

These interface standards are incompatible with one another and users are often troubled by this issue when assembling computers. Fortunately, modular computers (they are also upgradeable computers) can solve these problems.

To put it simply, a modular computer means that each component of the computer is a module that meets certain standards. These modules can be added and removed at will, so users can realize computer upgrade easily just by purchasing and replacing specific modules.

The biggest difference between a modular laptop and an ordinary upgradeable laptop lies in the interface standard and hardware architecture they support. The modular laptops use a standard designed by the manufacturer itself, while ordinary upgradeable laptops use the industry standard.

Therefore, modules of different manufacturers may not be compatible with one another. But on the other hand, as long as modules are designed by the same manufacturer, they can achieve plug-and-play upgrade without the need of considering the interface problem.

Looking for PC cloning software to clone a hard drive? Here is 2 best free hard drive cloning software for you to do a disk copy with ease.

Best Upgradeable Laptops

Alienware Area 51M Gaming Laptop

  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K (8-Core, 16MB Cache, up to 5.0Ghz w/Turbo Boost).
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 (Dedicated).
  • RAM: 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB DDR4.
  • Hard Drive: 1TB SSD RAID 0 (2x 512GB PCIe NVME M.2 SSDs) 1TB (8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive, or 2TB RAID SSD (2x 1TB PCIe M.2 SSDs) Upgrade.
  • Price: Start at 4999.

This Alienware upgradeable laptop is a modular laptop, also an upgradable gaming laptop. In addition, this laptop’s CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive are top-level configurations, and it comes with Windows 10 Pro 64bit OS, 1x Thunderbolt 3 port, etc.

For gamers and those who want an upgradeable laptop, Alienware Area 51M laptop can meet their needs perfectly. However, the high price and up to 4.4 kgs weight will daunt a considerable number of consumers.

Asus ROG Strix Hero III Gaming Laptop 17.3”

  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h Processor.
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 (Dedicated).
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz.
  • Hard Drive: 512GB PCIe SSD.
  • Price: 2258.

Asus ROG Strix Hero laptops are well-renowned among the professional gamers and power users for its powerful performance and excellent thermal efficiency. This laptop features high quality CPU and GPU, which makes it capable of most of games. In addition, this laptop allows you to upgrade its RAM and hard drive.

This post introduces Acer and Asus, and recommends suitable Acer and Asus series to you for daily use.

HP Omen 17t Gaming Laptop

HP Omen series laptops have acquired a lot of fame among the professional gamers. Its laptops are equipped with powerful hardware and they are designed to deliver the performance to accomplish anything. Similarly, this laptop allows you to upgrade its RAM and hard drive.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 FHD 1080P Touchscreen Laptop

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U Processor (1.8 GHz base frequency, up to 4.6 GHz, 4 cores, 8M Cache).
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 (integrated).
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB DDR4.
  • Hard Drive: 256GB SSD, 256GB SSD 1TB HDD, 2TB SSD 1TB HDD.
  • Price: Start at 899.

The Dell Inspiron 15 is ideal for home or office users. It has the ability to use a touch screen which can come in incredibly handy if you want to lie down and work on the couch. Besides, the i7-8565U processor can offer good performance now and in the next few years, although it can’t be replaced. Of course, you can also upgrade this laptop’s RAM and hard drive as your will.

This post introduces 3 laptop brands: Dell, HP, and Lenovo. It also tells you how to choose from them.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

  • CPU: 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4. 1GHz).
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics 4GB (Dedicated).
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666MHz.
  • Hard Drive: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M. 2 Slots – 1 Slot Open for Easy Upgrades) 1 x Available Hard Drive Bay.
  • Price: 687.99.

The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812 is also a gaming laptop, although its CPU and GPU are not at the top level. This laptop allows RAM and hard drive upgrades, and its GPU still has a strong performance these days. With this GPU, you can run most games, but the game performance may not be optimized.

Tips on Laptop Upgrade

In general, laptop upgrade is always related to laptop disassembly. In this case, I recommend you to clone computer lest you do something wrong when disassembling and assembling the laptop. Cloning computer can help you recover data and system if there is something wrong.

As for computer cloning software, I recommend MiniTool Partition Wizard to you. This software is versed in disk management. Here is the tutorial:

Step 1: Click the above button to buy MiniTool Partition Wizard. Launch this tool and go to its main interface. Right click the system disk and choose Copy from the context menu (if you use this feature to clone a non-system disk, it is free).

Step 2: Follow the wizard to choose a destination disk (an external disk is recommended). Please note that the data on the destination disk will be destroyed. Then, review changes and click Next button.

Step 3: Click the Apply button to execute pending operations.

Then, you can upgrade the laptop. If the laptop goes wrong after you assembling it, you can boot it from the external hard drive and copy the system and data back to the system disk. In this way, you may rescue your laptop.

Hard drive cloning software helps us clone hard drives for hard drive upgrade or data loss prevention. Learn how to clone a hard drive easily.

Bottom Line

Does this post solve your problem? If you still have questions about upgradeable laptops, please leave a comment below and I will answer these questions in the next update. Besides, if you know other good upgradeable laptops (modular laptops or those whose CPU and GPU are removable), please share them with us. I will appreciate that.

Finally, if you have difficulty in cloning disk, migrating OS, or managing disk and partition, please contact us via support@minitool.com. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Upgradeable Laptops FAQ

This depends on the packaging method. If the CPU on the laptop uses PGA packaging method, this CPU can be upgraded. If the CPU uses BGA packaging method, it can’t be upgraded. To check the CPU’s packaging method, here are two ways for you:

  • Use CPU-Z.
  • If it is an Intel CPU, you can check that through its serial number. Intel CPU models with M letter at the end of the name are generally in PGA packages, while others are in BGA packages. In addition, since the 4th generation, CPUs with M letter (using PGA) have never been seen again.

When it comes to upgrade old laptop, it usually refers to upgrade to a better CPU and GPU, add more RAM, and upgrade from HDD to SSD or to a larger hard drive. If so, you can get guide from this post: What Should I Upgrade on My PC – A Complete PC Upgrade Guide.

Yes, they are. There are many upgradeable gaming laptops, such as Alienware Area 51M gaming laptop, Asus ROG Strix Hero III gaming laptop (this laptop’s GPU and CPU is not upgradeable), etc.

About The Author

Linda has been working as an editor at MiniTool for 5 years. She is always curious about computer knowledge and learns it crazily. Her articles are simple and easy to understand. Even people who do not understand computer can gain something. By the way, her special focuses are disk management, data recovery and PDF editing.

Copyright © 2023 MiniTool® Software Limited, All Rights Reserved.

Can You Upgrade a Laptop’s CPU?

Laptops are one of the highest-selling computing devices. Students, professionals, artists, and business people all use laptops for their personal or work-related stuff. Like any aging electronic device, even laptops become slow and sluggish after some time. While upgrading their RAM and SSD can improve their performance, many laptop owners often wonder if it is possible to upgrade the laptop’s CPU. An upgrade from, say, a core i3 to a core i5 or core i7 would definitely make a difference in its operation. So, can you upgrade a laptop’s CPU?

In this guide, let us see the answer to this common and popular question. First, we will take a look at the reasons why someone looks to upgrade their laptop’s CPU. Then we will explore the possibilities of the upgrade option.

The Need to Upgrade a Laptop’s CPU

Laptops are excellent computing devices. They offer extreme portability and at the same time, their performance is also very good. There are several people who never used a desktop computer in their whole life. Maybe, they used one in the school library or similar places. But never owned one.

This is because laptops went from being expensive and available only to business people to being affordable and accessible to everyone.

Whether it is a desktop computer or a laptop, their performance doesn’t stay the same over the year. This can be due to more and more sophisticated software or the age of the hardware.

Speaking of hardware, people often look to upgrade their computers down the line after they feel a significant drop in performance. This applies to desktop as well as laptop users.

Things are a little bit easy for desktop users. They can easily upgrade their CPU, GPU, RAM, Hard Disk (SSD), or Power Supply. This is the benefit of DIY PC building.

However, things are a little bit different when we consider laptops.

Can You Upgrade a Laptop’s CPU?

The simple answer is, no. But a slightly confusing answer is, it depends. Let us dig a little bit deeper into this.

In a desktop computer, upgrading a CPU is as simple as taking out the old CPU, and replacing it with a new and pin-compatible (same socket support) CPU.

You might think why not do the same with laptops? First thing, you can if the laptop manufacturer supports it.

If you take a slightly older laptop, their CPUs are not soldered onto the motherboard. Rather, they are installed in a socket, similar to what we see on a desktop motherboard. Of course, the socket and the CPU are designed for laptops.

If this is the case with your laptop, then there is a chance for you to upgrade your laptop’s CPU. Just look for a supported CPU and try to replace it.

When we say “supported CPU”, we mean a socket-compatible CPU from the same manufacturer. If your laptop has a Core i3 for example, then you can replace it with a socket-compatible Core i7 CPU.

Some laptop manufacturers provide a list of compatible CPUs for a laptop. There is also a problem with BIOS compatibility. Some laptop manufacturers lock their BIOS to a particular CPU. This prevents any sort of upgrades, even if your laptop has a socketed CPU.

This is the case with slightly older laptops. What about the latest laptops? Things are even difficult for modern laptops. In most newer laptops, the manufacturers are soldering the CPU directly on the motherboard.

As a result, it is practically impossible to replace or upgrade the CPU on your laptop. If laptop manufacturers could design their laptops with CPU upgradability in mind, we could simply throw in a newer CPU a couple of years after the laptop’s release and give it a new life.

This means we are using the same electronic device for a couple more years without throwing it in the dustbin or giving it up for recycling. We never know how the logistics behind the “recycling” of electronic devices work, but being unable to upgrade a laptop’s CPU is definitely increasing the amount of e-waste.

How to Improve the Laptop’s Performance?

Are old laptops doomed after they suffer a performance blow? Well, not entirely. While it is very difficult (nearly impossible) to upgrade a laptop’s CPU or GPU, there are a couple of important things that you can upgrade. They are the RAM, Hard Disk, and sometimes the Wireless Card.

To cut costs, laptop manufacturers skip installing two RAM sticks on laptops, even if the laptop’s motherboard has two RAM Slots. As we are getting the laptop for a slightly low price, we also don’t care (usually) if the RAM on the laptop is a single stick or two sticks.

If this is the case with your laptop, then we highly recommend you add that second stick of RAM. This will show a significant performance boost as the CPU now utilizes its dual-channel RAM capabilities to the full extent.

Another possible RAM upgrade is replacing it with faster RAM. Yes. If the motherboard of your laptop supports faster RAM than that is already present, consider upgrading to that.

We are seeing a trend where laptop manufacturers are soldering the RAM onto the motherboard. If any laptop manufacturer (or a person working with such a company) reads this, please stop doing it.

Coming to the hard disk, most modern laptops are already coming with SSD Storage. So, what sort of upgrade is possible here? Once again, a faster SSD such as a PCIe SSD instead of a SATA SSD will show a terrific improvement in the laptop’s performance.

Finally, the Wi-Fi card. If your laptop has a slower Wi-Fi Module, say a Wi-Fi AC Card, then consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi AX Card.

What about the MacBook?

The answer to this question is very simple. If you own any form of MacBook (Air, Pro, or anything else), then you don’t have anything to upgrade in the future. Apple solders the CPU, RAM, and even the SSD onto the motherboard.

So, pay more to get a fully spec’d model while you are buying one. Or sell the old laptop and buy a new one.


Laptops are one of the mainstream computing devices on the planet. Modern laptops have very good performance figures even for intensive tasks and yet they have the benefit of being portable.

A common question every laptop owner ask is “Can You Upgrade a Laptop’s CPU?”. We have seen the answer to this question in this guide, which is disappointingly no, you cannot upgrade the CPU on a relatively modern laptop.

We also covered a section on the things you can upgrade such as the RAM, SSD, and Wi-Fi card so that your slowing laptop might get a new life.

Can You Upgrade Your Laptop’s Processor? If So, How?

We have brains; computers have processors. Just like our brains, the CPU performs calculations, processes data, and gives instructions to your computer.

The more powerful the processor, the faster your computer will perform.

Sooner or later, though, you will have to upgrade it, and the same holds true for any other component as well.

If you have a desktop PC then it’s a pretty straightforward affair; its CPU is essentially a separate component, one that can be swapped out within just a couple of minutes.

Laptops, on the other hand, are a completely different beast as their CPUs are soldered onto the motherboard.

For most of us, the answer will be a resounding: No.

For the tinkerers among us, though, that don’t shy away from digging deep into the electronics of a Laptop, it may be viable.

Can You Upgrade Your Laptop’s Processor?

In most laptops, the processor is soldered onto the motherboard, which means that upgrading it simply isn’t possible — or is, at the very least, an exceedingly complicated endeavor, one that is by no means worth embarking on.

Most modern laptops have a very high level of component integration to have a sleek design. That’s the price of modernity.

Do laptops with easily swappable processors exist? Yes, they do, but they’re nonetheless extremely hard to find. And even if you do find them, they will most likely be very expensive.

So, what can you do if you want to upgrade your laptop’s processor?

Steps To Upgrade Your Laptop’s Processor

To check whether such an upgrade is possible with your specific Laptop, do the following:

#1 Go Over Its Spec Sheet and Do Some Research

This will tell you whether your laptop has a replaceable CPU.

If it does, you must ensure that the new processor is compatible with your motherboard’s CPU socket.

upgrade, laptop, hardware

To check your processor details, go to Start → System Information → System Summary.

Look for the Processor row on the right-hand side.

Now go to Google, search your processor’s name, and head on over to the manufacturer’s website.

Here, look for Package Specifications — that page will contain all the necessary information.

Here, the socket supported is FCBGA1449.

The letters BGA indicate the type of CPU surface mounting technique. Surface mounting refers to how chips are placed and connected on top of a board – in this case, the motherboard.

Therefore, the surface mounting type will also tell you whether the processor chip is detachable from the motherboard.

  • Land Grid Array (LGA). This type of surface mounting is most commonly found in Intel desktop CPUs. It means the chip is detachable from the motherboard.
  • Pin Grid Array (PGA). This one is usually found in AMD desktop CPUs. It is also detachable.
  • Ball Grid Array (BGA). Laptop processors usually have this type of surface mounting. These CPUs are soldered onto the motherboard, meaning they are NOT detachable.

As you can see in the screenshot, the type of surface mounting available for my laptop’s processor is the BGA type, which means the current processor is more or less final.

Technically, you can upgrade a BGA-based processor. This, however, is extremely difficult even with a godlike level of soldering expertise and all the necessary equipment for the job.

In contrast, here’s the spec sheet of the Intel Core i5-3210M processor.

This one has a PGA surface mounting type, which means it can be upgraded.

So, let’s say your laptop CPU has a PGA or an LGA surface mounting type. Here’s what you do next.

#2 Make sure your new processor and the motherboard socket are compatible

Suppose you are upgrading from an Intel Core-i5 to an Intel Core-i7.

You will need to take note of the socket type and make sure the CPU you’re looking to upgrade to is actually compatible.

#3 Ensure your laptop can handle a more powerful processor

A more powerful processor brings with it certain changes that will affect your laptop in a myriad of different ways. So, you will need to check whether your device will be able to handle these changes — and all that they entail.

For example, you’ll need to check the Thermal Design Power (TDP) of the processor you want to upgrade to. This is of paramount importance.

Its TDP is directly tied to both its power consumption but also the amount of heat it can generate under general usage.

Analyzing a processor’s TDP is a good way of determining how much power it would consume and how much cooling is required to keep it from overheating.

Do not try to install a processor that has a higher TDP than what your laptop can handle (or is currently running on), as that could cause some very serious heating issues.

If you are having trouble choosing a processor, you can check out our in-depth guide at the following link!

If everything looks good, head on over to the next step!

#4 Dismantle your laptop and change the processor

You will now have to disassemble your laptop and actually swap out the CPU.

This process requires a fair bit of technical expertise so, unless you’re especially tech-savvy, seek out a trained professional.

Note: Changing your processor will void your warranty.

Before you begin, ensure you have all the required tools and materials, such as a magnetic screwdriver, thermal paste, tweezers, microfiber cloth, and isopropyl alcohol, along with a can of compressed air.

You can access most (if not all) of your laptop’s components by removing its back panel.

Once you’re in, disconnect/remove the battery, fan, and heat sink. Clean the dried-up thermal paste under the said heat sink.

You must exercise a lot of caution while doing this. Once the new processor is in place, re-assemble your laptop by reversing your actions. Voila! Your processor has been upgraded!

This method only works for LGA- and PGA-based processors. Does that mean a BGA-based laptop processor cannot be updated at all?

How To Upgrade a BGA-based Laptop Processor?

To upgrade a BGA-based processor, you’ll need to do one of two things:

  • Upgrade your motherboard along with your processor or
  • Buy a new laptop with an updated processor

You can choose the best option based on your needs and budget!

Pros and Cons of Upgrading Your Laptop’s Processor

Updating your laptop’s processor has many different benefits but also a few notable disadvantages.

You should be aware of both to make an informed decision.


  • An upgraded processor will enhance your laptop’s performance. This is especially useful if you’re running demanding workloads
  • It can add years to your laptop’s life by simply increasing its performance headroom


  • The process itself is very tricky and requires a fair bit of technical knowledge and expertise
  • There is no guarantee that your new processor will work all that well (or work at all, for that matter). In other words: you could also cause irreparable damage
  • Embarking on this journey means that you’ll void your laptop’s warranty
  • You may need to update your BIOS as well
  • It may cause overheating issues since the TDP of the newer processor will most likely be higher than the old one. This might cause thermal throttling at best or damage to the CPU and Laptop at worst
  • A processor with a higher TDP will negatively affect your battery life

Bottom Line

When it comes to upgrading your laptop’s processor, the cons far outweigh the pros — assuming this upgrade can be performed at all.

You will essentially be spending time and money on something that may not even work.

So, before you do anything you might regret, ask yourself the following question: does your CPU need upgrading? Simply buying a better laptop is much more advisable.

Alternatively, you can also increase your laptop’s processing power through alternative methods.


How much does it cost to upgrade a processor?

If you are upgrading your processor, it makes sense to assume that you would want the latest ones.

Most high-end processors can cost anywhere between 200 to 1000. They accelerate your computer’s performance in every way, shape, and form.

Can I upgrade my laptop processor from i5 to i7?

Technically, yes, but only if several conditions are met.

First, your processor must not be soldered (permanently attached) to the motherboard.

Second, the new processor must be compatible with your motherboard socket.

Third, your laptop must have a sufficiently capable cooling solution so as to handle an increased TDP.

Can I upgrade my laptop’s processor myself?

Upgrading a laptop’s CPU is a very tricky process and requires ample expertise.

So, unless you’re especially tech-savvy, make sure to reach out to a trained professional — lest you end up causing irreparable damage.

Over To You

Upgrading your laptop’s processor is both exceedingly complicated and mighty inadvisable — assuming it’s even possible. In case you need more processing power, you should definitely consider buying a new laptop altogether.

If you have any questions, sound off in either the comment section down below or on our forum!

How to Upgrade a Laptop SSD

The price of storage media is dirt cheap, and now there is no reason not to pick up a better, faster, the best SSD for your laptop. If you’ve never opened your laptop before, it can seem daunting to reach in and remove a working drive, but fear not. Upgrading an SSD is a quick and simple process and here are the steps to get it done.

Before you buy a new drive, you need to determine what type of drive your laptop takes and whether or not it is upgradeable. If your laptop was made any time in the last few years, it probably has at least a single M.2 slot for NVMe (or possibly SATA) drives. But it might have a 2.5-inch SATA drive or even an extra slot you can use for a second drive.

We cover upgradeability in all of our laptop reviews, but the easiest way to find out is to use the Crucial Advisor Tool, which lists just about every laptop ever made and what type of storage drives it supports.

It is best practice to make a backup before working on any drive. If you are migrating your install from the old drive to the new, then you will need to clone the old to the new.

You’ll need the right tools to safely get inside your laptop.

At the basic level you will need a screwdriver, typically a Philip’s head. Plastic pry tools and “spudgers” are useful when removing plastic clips and laptop chassis. We even use a Lego brick separator as it has a sharp, thin edge with great overall strength.

Replacing an M.2 NVMe and M.2 SATA SSD

M.2 drives look a bit like sticks of RAM and usually are 80mm long (known as 2280) but sometimes come in smaller lengths like 2260 and 2242 and 2230. They are usually NVMe interfaces, but sometimes use SATA. Make sure you get the right one before attempting to upgrade your laptop.

Ensure that the laptop is powered off and not connected to AC power.

Disable or remove the battery. For laptops with removable batteries, power off, unlock and remove the battery. For integrated batteries, enter the BIOS and disable the built-in battery. My Lenovo X390 has a BIOS entry to turn off the battery.

Remove the bottom panel of the laptop (or hatch). Some laptops have a hatch / panel for the drive, others require the entire panel to be removed.

Locate the SSD and remove the screw.

Carefully remove the drive. It should lift slightly from the board and offer little friction. There may be some adhesive holding the drive, ensure that it is carefully removed.

Insert the replacement drive at an angle and gently push into place.

Replace the screw to lock the drive in place.

Replace the hatch / panel, ensuring that the SSD is not touching the hatch / panel.

upgrade, laptop, hardware

Power up your laptop. Lenovo users with embedded batteries will need to do this with the power supply connected so that it enables the battery.

Replacing a 2.5 Inch SATA SSD

Ensure that the laptop is powered off and not connected to AC power.

Remove the battery. For laptops with removable batteries, power off, unlock and remove the battery. For integrated batteries, enter the BIOS and disable the built-in battery.

Locate the hatch / panel for the SSD and remove the screw. Some laptops have a hatch / panel for the drive, others require the entire panel to be removed.

Carefully remove the drive. It should slide out from the laptop with little friction.There may be a screw or interposer to remove before this is possible. Make a note of the orientation of the SATA data and power ports.

If present, remove the drive rails / caddy from the SSD. Rails and caddies are typically used to protect the drive from bumps.

Insert the replacement drive, noting the orientation of the SATA ports and gently push into place. Replace the drive rails / caddy (if present).

Replace the hatch / panel and replace the screw.

Power up your laptop.

If you are cloning a boot drive, but you haven’t used an SSD enclosure to copy the data, you may need to restore your data to the new drive at this point.

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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom’s Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program Picademy.

How to Upgrade CPU on Laptop

CPU is that one component in your system that performs entire operations. So, if you feel that your PC is getting older, upgrading its CPU will drastically improve the computer’s performance.

Upgrading the CPU on a desktop monitor is quite simple. You just need to remove the side panel and the CPU heat sink. And voila, you have access to the CPU.

The case is quite different for laptop users. Due to its portability, all the components inside a laptop are compact. So, accessing them can be quite a hassle.

This is why we have brought forth this article. Without further delay, let us get right into it.

Things to Know Before You Upgrade CPU

Before we get into upgrading the CPU on a laptop, there are a few things you need to know. First one, not all laptops support a CPU upgrade. Some laptops have a CPU embedded in the motherboard itself. Therefore, always thoroughly research whether your PC has a replaceable CPU chip.

Secondly, if the laptop supports an upgradable CPU, ensure you get the correct CPU chip. Check the CPU socket detail and get the matching CPU chip for the socket. To check your motherboard’s CPU socket type, get your current CPU details or view your motherboard’s specification from the internet.

Upgrading Your Laptop. CPU / Graphics / RAM / Disk

Check CPU Details

Here are the steps to check your CPU details.

  • Press the Windows R key to open Run.
  • Type msinfo32.exe and press Enter to open System Information.
  • On the left panel, click on the system summary to view processor details and all the system information.


To upgrade a laptop’s CPU, you must first remove some components. And for that, here are some things you might need.

  • A non-conductive surface
  • Magnetic Screwdriver
  • Antistatic Band
  • Thermal Paste
  • Microfiber cloth (or dry paper towel)
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • Can of compressed air
  • Tweezers
  • Magnetic tray holder

Once you remove the screw, make sure to place the screws on the magnetic screw holder so that they won’t get misplaced.

How to Change CPU On a Laptop?

Depending on the laptop, you might need to take out the entire keyboard to access the CPU chip or only the back panel. In both cases, you need to remove the rear panel. In most modern laptops, you can easily access all laptop internals just by removing the back panel. So, in this article, we have only discussed the disassembly of laptops whose motherboard you can access by removing the rear panel.

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However, before we begin, you should know that changing the CPU on your laptop will void its warranty.

Make sure you take pictures of each component before removing them from the laptop. It will make your job a lot easier when you re-assemble these components.

Remove Battery

If you want to upgrade an older laptop, it most probably has a laptop battery that is detachable. To remove a detachable battery, slide the lock that holds the battery and simply pop it out of the laptop.

However, if you have the battery inside your laptop, you need to remove the back panel first. Remove the cable that connects the battery to the motherboard. Slowly remove the battery from the PC. Some laptop battery is placed on the board, while some are connected through wire.

Please note that some cables have a lock that secures them onto the motherboard. To unlock this, pull on both sides of the lock and gently pull the wire.

Once you remove the wire, remove any screw that holds the battery. Remove these screws and slowly pull the battery out of the laptop.

Now, hold the power button for 15 seconds to remove any remaining charge from the capacitor.

Remove Back Panel

Depending on your laptop, your back cover might be a single unit or the back cover may have compartments.

These compartments are there to access RAM and the hard drive without removing the entire rear panel. If it has two compartments, you need to remove this first before you can remove the back panel.

If the rear panel has a compartment, you need to remove them first by unfastening their respective screws. Once you remove them, you can now access the screws that hold the back panel.

To remove the back panel on your laptop, take a small screwdriver and remove all the screws that hold the panel.

Now, remove the rear panel using a flat screwdriver. If you do not have a flat screwdriver, anything hard with a flat edge will do the job.

Wedge the flat screwdriver between the laptop case and the back panel. Slightly turn the screwdriver on any side. You should hear a click. You should repeat these steps on all the rear interlocking to completely remove the back panel.

Remove Fan

After removing the back panel and the battery, you still need to remove the fan and the heat sink. First, remove all the screws that hold the CPU fan in place.

There should be a wire that connects the cooler to the motherboard. Gently remove this cable. Now, hold the fan and simply remove it from the board.

Remove Heat Sink

The heat sink is a long copper structure across your CPU and the GPU. Removing the heat sink is also fairly a straightforward method. Just remove all the screws that connect the heat sink to the board. When removing the screws, make sure that you remove them diagonally.

Once you remove all the screws connecting the heat sink, remove the heat sink. The heat sink can get stuck due to dried-up thermal paste. Simply wedge the heat sink and remove it.

The heat sink will not have any cables that connect to the board. So, you can simply remove them once you unscrew it.

Some laptops will have both heat sink and fan attached as one unit. Removing one also removes the other component.

Clean Thermal Paste

When you remove the heat sink, you can see dried-up thermal paste on its opposite end. Clean the dry paste using isopropyl alcohol.

After this, you must also clean the thermal paste on and around the CPU chip.

Remove CPU

Depending on the laptop, it holds the CPU chip on the socket in two ways. The first one uses a lever that holds the CPU socket in place. And the second one uses a screw that holds the CPU chip.

If it uses a lever, press this lever and push it outwards. Now, this lever should fall back all the way, removing the small metal holder that holds the CPU chip in the CPU socket. Once you fully see the CPU chip, remove it from the socket.

If your motherboard holds the CPU chip using a screwdriver, remove this screw and gently remove the CPU from the motherboard.

Insert CPU

Inserting the CPU is fairly simple. Align the mark from the CPU chip to the spot on the CPU socket. And simply let it sit. Do not force the chip into the socket.

Once the CPU rests on the socket, hold it in place using the lever or the screw, depending on the laptop

Apply Thermal Paste

Apply the thermal paste to the chip. The thermal paste may leak from the sides when you insert the heat sink. Therefore, we recommend using a thermal paste spreader to apply thermal paste on every corner of the surface.

Re-assemble Everything

Now that you have upgraded your CPU, it is now time to re-assemble everything. If you face any issues reconnecting everything, use the picture you took previously.

Insert Heatsink

First, place the heat sink and screw it in place. When screwing the heat sink, make sure that you screw them diagonally.

Insert Cooler

Once the heat sink is in place, insert the cooler. As the cooler is out of the laptop, it is also a good time to clean the CPU fans in your cooler. First, gently place the cooler above the heat sink to insert the fans.

Now connect the cable to the motherboard from where you previously removed it. Now, insert all the screws and tighten them.

Insert Batteries

To insert the batteries, slide them in place. The batteries on the laptop will only fit one way. If it does not work, turn them and try again.

Insert Back Panel

Finally, once everything is in place, it is now time to reinsert the back panel. However, before inserting it, turn on the laptop to check if it turns on and the fans spin. If it does not, remove and reattach the fan cable.

To insert the back panel, align it above the laptop and press it. You should hear multiple clicks from all four sides of your laptop. Now, secure them using screws that you previously removed.

Related Questions

Can I Upgrade Laptop Graphics Card?

In most laptops, graphics cards are embedded onto the motherboard during manufacture. If you have a GPU that’s soldered on the board, you cannot remove or upgrade its graphics card.

Can I Upgrade Laptop RAM?

Most, if not all, laptops have RAM that you can easily remove from the motherboard. You can remove this RAM and insert a better-performing memory module with better memory speed to improve your system’s performance.

However, if you are adding a RAM stick, you must ensure that its speed matches the previous memory module.

Deep Shrestha works as a computer hardware writer at TechNewsToday with several hardware and programming certifications. Although he has been writing technical content for more than a year, his interest in hardware components started at a very young age ever since he heard about PC building. Pursuing his passion, he has assembled several desktop computers. Besides building desktop PCs, Deep also has hands-on experience fixing software and hardware issues on laptops and desktop computers. Using all this knowledge and skills about computer hardware, he’s on a quest to make content that’s easy to read and understand for everyone. You can contact him at deep@technewstoday.com