Tip: Remember to follow anti-static precautions and at the very least, grounding yourself on a radiator or piece of earthed equipment before handling any components. Handle components carefully by holding only the sides of the PCB and not the contacts or components.

In this guide I’m going to cover the two primary platforms available on the current market, Intel’s LGA socket and AMD’s PGA sockets.

As a handy reference, with an LGA Socket (Land Grid Array) the ‘pins’ that create the interface between the CPU and motherboard are in the CPU socket on the motherboard, however with AMD’s PGA sockets (Pin Grid Array) the pins are on the CPU.

I’m going to split this guide into two sections to avoid any confusion with the different platforms:

An AMD CPU Installation Guide

And

An Intel CPU Installation Guide

AMD Installation Guide

Step One: Preparing the Socket and Fitting the CPU

Before we fit the CPU we need to prepare the AMD socket by pushing the lever away from the CPU socket (Fig.A) and lifting it upwards to 90 degrees (Fig.B).

Fitting the CPU is as simple as lining up the alignment indicators found on both the CPU and CPU socket (Fig.C), once lined up make sure the CPU is going in straight down onto the socket and not at an angle. While ensuring that the CPU alignment indicators are still lined up (Fig.D) place the CPU into the socket and lock it in place by pressing down the lever we previously lifted (Fig.E & Fig.F).

Step Two: Applying the Thermal Paste and Fitting the Cooler

Note: Most stock CPU coolers will already have thermal compound pre-applied so please only follow these steps if your cooler does NOT have thermal compound pre applied.

Everybody has a slightly different method for applying thermal compound, some people spread it out all over the CPU evenly and some people lay down an X shape pattern from corner to corner. However I have always adopted the method that I will be showing you now which is yet to fail me.

Starting from the centre of the CPU (Fig.G) apply a small ‘blob’ of thermal paste roughly half the size of a pea (Fig.H & Fig.I) and then you’re ready to fit your cooler (Fig.J) when you fit the cooler the pressure will spread out the thermal compound and should give us a nice even contact.

Before attempting to fit the CPU cooler ensure that the retaining clasp is flipped over to the unlocked position (Fig.K). Ensure that both the front and rear locating pegs are inside of the retaining bracket (Fig.L), I personally find fitting the side without the retaining claps first is the easiest method.

Once fitted simply flip over the retaining clasp’s lever into the locked position (Fig.M) you may experience some resistance when doing this but this is perfectly normal, once the fan is secured simply fit the connector for the CPU fan onto the motherboards CPU fan header (Fig.N) and you’re done.

Congratulations you have just successfully fitted an AMD CPU and cooler.

Intel Installation Guide

Step One: Preparing the Socket and Fitting the CPU

Before fitting the CPU we need to lift the CPU retaining plate and remove the LGA pin protector by releasing the retaining lever (Fig.A). To lift the cover simply press down on the lever and pull it away from the CPU socket (Fig.B), once clear of the retaining lug lift the lever upwards and the hinged CPU retaining plate will come with it (Fig.C).

Then simply remove the LGA socket protector and pop it to one side (Fig.D), I would generally suggest keeping this safe should you ever need to return or store your motherboard as they help keep the LGA pins safe.

When fitting the CPU you will see that there are two notches on either side of the CPU which will line up with two notches in the LGA socket (Fig.E & Fig.F) with the CPU fitted simply lower the CPU retaining plate and press down the retention lever (Fig.G) when locking the lever in plate you will experience quite a lot of resistance however this is normal (Fig.H).

Step Two: Applying the Thermal Paste and Fitting the Cooler

Note: Most stock CPU coolers will already have thermal compound pre-applied so please only follow these steps if your cooler does NOT have thermal compound pre applied.

Everybody has a slightly different method for applying thermal compound, some people spread it out all over the CPU evenly and some people lay down an X shape pattern from corner to corner. However I have always adopted the method that I will be showing you now which is yet to fail me.

Starting from the centre of the CPU (Fig.I) apply a small ‘blob’ of thermal paste roughly half the size of a pea (Fig.J & Fig.K) and then you’re ready to fit your cooler (Fig.L) when you fit the cooler the pressure will spread out the thermal compound and should give us a nice even contact.
 

Before attempting to fit the cooler you need to pull the black pins as far out as they will go (Fig.I) and twist them as far as they will go in the OPPOSITE direction of the arrow (Fig.J) which is usually clockwise.

After you have repeated that step on all four pins you can line the feet up with the holes in the CPU socket and press each of the pins down, either one by one or in pairs of one side at a time (Fig.K). Then simply connect up the CPU fan connector to the motherboards CPU fan header (Fig.L).

Congratulations you have just successfully fitted an Intel CPU and cooler.

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