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Guide | Physical Installation Procedures ]
Processor Physical Installation Procedure
This procedure describes how to install a system
processor in a motherboard. This is a fairly straightforward process, although of
course you want to be very careful when performing it due to the fragility of the
component. This procedure provides steps and caveats for installation of all types of
socketed CPUs. I will add instructions for installing slotted CPUs (those using an SEC package, i.e. the Pentium II) at a later
time. Note that this procedure deals only with the physical installation of the
CPU, and does not contain all of the steps necessary for a CPU upgrade, for example.
- Difficulty Level: 2-4 (Low to High). For most newer processors in
modern motherboards, this is a simple procedure. For some older ones that go into older
motherboards, it can actually be quite difficult to get the processor to install.
- Risk Factor: 2-3 (Low to Moderate). Despite the fragility of the
processor, it's quite rare to wreck one just by trying to install it. If you insert the
processor incorrectly into the socket, however, you definitely risk damaging it.
- Hardware Required: None.
- Software Required: None.
- Time to Perform: Less than 5 minutes
- Preparation / Warnings:
- If you have not already done so, please read the section on general
installation and assembly tips.
- This procedure assumes that the socket is already empty and does not include
instructions for removing any processor that may have been there before.
- This procedure assumes that the processor has not had a heat sink attached to it yet.
The instructions don't really differ that much if the sink is already attached, however.
- Make sure that the motherboard is on a flat, clean, sturdy, static-free surface.
- Do not attempt to install the processor if you cannot be sure that you have oriented the
processor correctly in the socket.
- Determine Socket Type: The first step is to figure out if you
have a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket
on your motherboard. The key to this is to look for a small plastic or metal lever along
one side of the socket. If you see one, it is a ZIF socket. Virtually all Pentium class or
later motherboards have these, and many 486 motherboards do as well.
- Orient Processor To Socket: The processor and socket are both square, so you have
to be sure to orient the processor so that it lines up correctly to the socket. Both
pieces of hardware will have a distinguishing mark in one corner to indicate where pin 1
is. On the processor, look for one of the following: a dot on the surface of the chip in
one corner; a notch in one corner; a diagonal bit of gold coming from the patch on the
underside of the chip; or a square-shaped gold pad where one of the corner pins
connects to the underside of the chip. Typical markings on the socket are a slightly
different pattern of pin holes in one corner, a "1", or a notch in the socket.
Note: Some 486-class
motherboards have sockets containing four rows of pins, intended for use by a Pentium OverDrive chip. True 486-class chips
have only three rows of pins, so be careful to ensure that when inserting these into a
socket with four rows, to center the chip in the socket. One unused row of pins should be
left all around the edge of the socket.
Note: Many newer CPUs are keyed
through the use of special pins so that they cannot be inserted incorrectly (well, not
without breaking off one of the pins).
- Open ZIF Socket: Assuming that your board has a ZIF socket, open
it up. This is done by grasping the lever next to the socket, and then lifting it up and
pulling it back until it is vertical, perpendicular to the motherboard. On some ZIF
sockets, you will have to pull the lever out away from the socket first slightly
before lifting it up. This will cause the top part of the socket to shift and thereby open
the socket. On some older motherboards the lever can tend to stick and it may take a bit
of pressure to get the lever to get all the way open.
- Insert Processor Into Socket: Double-check the orientation of
the processor, and then place it into the socket. Follow these instructions depending on
what type of socket you have:
- ZIF Socket: The ZIF socket is appropriately named; the CPU
should really drop right into the socket and no force at all should be required. If any
is, you probably don't have the socket all the way open. Lightly tap the processor into
place in the socket.
- Non-ZIF Socket: Older non-ZIF sockets require you to push the processor
into the socket. If you do this incorrectly you can damage the CPU. The way to do it is to
first put the ends of the pins into the socket. Apply light pressure all around the
surface of the CPU. Then move around the surface of the processor, applying firm but even
pressure over the entire surface. Go slowly; it may take a full minute or longer. Don't
push too hard and make sure the pressure is even.
- Check That Chip Is Inserted Fully: Carefully check the processor
to make sure that it is fully inserted into the socket. There should be very little space
between the bottom surface of the processor and the top of the socket, less than
1/16" (less than 1 mm).
- Close ZIF Socket: Assuming that you are using a ZIF socket board, close
the socket. Gently push the lever down. You may encounter some resistance while doing
this, which is normal, but if you have to really lean on it then either the socket is
defective or you have the processor inserted incorrectly. The lever should go all the way
down and rest next to the socket, where it was before you started.
Sink Physical Installation Procedure
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