Can I Upgrade My Laptop Processor?

upgrade laptop processor

Laptops are expensive and they only last 5-7 years if that. So you may be in this situation and wondering if you can upgrade laptop processors?

The answer is:

Only some laptop models have the capability to upgrade the processor because they do not solder on the CPU. Some Lenovo ThinkPad, Acer Predator, Alienware 51M, HP Omen, Dell Inspiron and Acer Nitro models can be upgraded to a better processor.

However, there’s more to this question so let’s dive in.

Suggested – External Ram For Laptop

Can I upgrade my laptop processor from i5 to i7?

Yes, some laptops give you the ability to upgrade the intel processor later. You can tell if the CPU is upgradeable by whether it is soldered on or not. Here is a list of upgradable intel laptops:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad t440p
  • Acer Predator 21x
  • Alienware Area 51M Gaming Laptop
  • ASUS ROG Strix Hero III Gaming Laptop 17.3”
  • HP Omen 17t Gaming Laptop
  •  Dell Inspiron 15 5000 FHD 1080P Touchscreen Laptop
  • Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

Some laptops like the Ultrabooks usually have soldered CPUs to the motherboard.

Keep in mind that you can only upgrade your intel CPU to one that is within the same generation, chipset and socket number. To find this you have to look up your processer model on intel.

If you have an AMD laptop then it’s the same method. Also, make sure the next processor has the same number of pins. Upgrade Example:

  • Core i3 FCPGA946 socket (with 946 pins) Upgade to
  • Core i5 FCPGA946 socket (with 946 pins)

I wouldn’t upgrade from i3 to i7 because your laptop might not be able to handle that.

How to determine a laptop is upgradeable or not?

Sometimes the manufacturer will tell you if the CPU is soldered or not, but usually they won’t. However, there are some other ways that you can tell.

  • If the CPU packaging method on that laptop is the PGA method then the CPU can be repleaced. You can check this by using CPUZ.
  • CPU models that have the letter M at the end of the name usually are PGA packaged. On the other hand BGA packages are soldered. Since the 4th gen of CPUs they have not been using M letters at the end anymore.
  • Some laptops are modular laptops which users can customize and build their own laptops

You can also seek professional help to see if they can upgrade your laptop’s processor. In some cases repair shops may be able to upgrade the CPU for you.

There are d ifferent mount surface techniques for CPUs and you want to have a processor which is the same as the previous one to make sure it matches your motherboard.

  • LGA (land grid array) most common intel CPU mount
  • PGA (pin grid array) visible pins on the CPU common for AMDs
  • BGA (ball grid array) most common for most laptop CPUs, the CPU is soldered to the motherboard and not detachable.

You should check your laptop model online and see if it has one of these surfaces mounts to determine if it’s upgradeable or not.

Is It Worth Upgrading I5 To I7?

Yes, the i7 series of intel is way faster than the i5 in terms of processing power. The i5 is capable of running only a select few games, compared to the i7 which can run most games on high settings if paired with a strong GPU.

It may not be worth it if your laptop can not handle the heat generated by such a CPU. If the laptop was built for an older lesser powerful CPU then upgrading can be harmful to the entire system.

the TDP which is thermal design power is a measurement of this and determines how much heat a CPU will dissipate.


Upgrading your laptop’s processor will give you a big speed boost, unfortunately not all laptops have the ability to be upgraded because they solder on their components.

There are certain ways you can determine if a laptop is upgradeable or not and if it is then you need to find a CPU within the same generation, chipset and socket number to upgrade to.

In most cases you are better off just upgrading your entire laptop and selling the old one. You can wait for big sales like black friday or boxing day sales to maximize your budget if that’s the main issue.

Intel CPUs are expensive anyway and if it risks destroying your laptop, you might want to upgrade instead.

Grayson is a laptop specialist who writes informational articles and reviews about all kinds of laptops.