People usually buy motherboards and processors together. However, if you have a board already and are willing to upgrade or get a proper CPU for it, you need to keep a few things in mind. In this write-up, I’ll guide you step by step on how to be 100% sure of the compatibility.
I know it’s not easy if you’re completely new to PC hardware and have little idea about sockets, manufacturers, chipsets, and other hardware components. That’s exactly why you need to be well informed.
Don’t worry too much, leave the responsibility to me. Just follow my lead and read on.
Know the Manufacturer
Currently, you’ll come across two dominating computer processor manufacturers. Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). So, first of all, you need to figure out which manufacturer’s CPU your board is made for. Doing that is pretty easy; it’s usually written on the packaging.
Intel is branded with a blue logo, and AMD motherboards will have a Ryzen logo printed on them. Apart from that, you can literally read AMD written on their hardware.
Even if your board is compatible with something older like a Bulldozer or Piledriver CPU, you won’t have many problems identifying the AMD branding.
The next most important thing you might want to be wary of is the socket support. It’s totally different for both Intel and AMD. It’s really easy to get confused. So, let’s divide them into categories.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the intel releases ever since 2004. This table should give you a clear picture of prominent sockets and their compatibility.
|Socket||Year of Release||Supported CPU series|
|LGA 775||2004||Intel Pentium 4
Intel Pentium D
Intel Celeron D
Intel Pentium XE
Intel Core 2 Duo
Intel Core 2 Quad
|LGA 1155||2011||Intel Sandy Bridge &
Intel Ivy Bridge Processors
|LGA 2011||2014||Haswell-E &
|LGA 1151||2015||Intel Skylake
Intel Kaby Lake
Intel Coffee Lake
|LGA 1200||2020||Intel Comet Lake
Intel Rocket Lake
This still might be a bit bewildering, but all you have to do is, look into the CPU list of a certain processor family to know the compatibility with the socket. Suppose the i5 4670k is Haswell and the i7 6700k is Skylake. It’s that simple.
Now, Let’s take a look at the AMD sockets. You’ll notice that AMD doesn’t change their socket every couple of years, which makes them more user-friendly. Especially for those who prefer upgrades from time to time.
|Socket||Year of Release||Supported CPU Series|
|Socket AM3+||2011||AMD FX Vishera
AMD FX Zambezi
AMD Phenom II
AMD Athlon II
|Socket FM2+||2014||AMD Kaveri
|Socket AM1||2014||AMD Athlon
|Socket AM4||2017||AMD Ryzen 9
AMD Ryzen 7
AMD Ryzen 5
AMD Ryzen 3
|Socket sTRX4||2019||AMD Ryzen Threadripper (3000 series)|
Now, you have to do the same. Suppose the AMD 3600 is a Ryzen 5 CPU, and the 5700x belongs to the Ryzen 7 family. After going through the processor lists, you’ll be certain about which CPU will fit inside the socket of the motherboard.
The chipset compatibility does have an effect on the overall system performance. As newer CPUs arrive, the chipsets often get updated. Newer chipsets mean newer features and better hardware support. So, it’s probably a good idea to check the chipset and CPU compatibility as well.
No point in getting hardware so powerful that the chipset of your CPU can’t keep up. For example, getting a high-frequency RAM won’t matter if your chipset doesn’t allow the boost.
I can’t emphasize this point enough. You should always be sure of the current BIOS version of your motherboard. Sometimes all you need to do is update it, and voila! You’re ready for a new generation CPU. Check the compatibility list I’ve shown before and make sure you’re aware of it.
A Compatible End
Go through the five easy steps that I’ve mentioned, and you should be perfectly alright. You might have to do a bit of online research about the CPU families, but that’s pretty much it. I really hope I could help you out.
I earnestly believe you’ve found your answer to what CPU is compatible with your motherboard by now if you’ve done what I told you to. So, let’s call it a day and wrap it up for now!