Updating processor speed

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You'll also need diagnostic tools and appropriate knowledge of your processor's limitations. Before working inside of your machine, make sure you're aware of the dangers of ESD.

Due to the risks of overclocking or the inability to overclock some processors in general, it may be best just to buy a new processor.

However, this is much more difficult to do on laptops or notebooks than on desktop computers, where you can access and replace components with relative ease. Most laptops have all the essential information on a sticker on the bottom of the unit, or you can get the info from the manual or packaging that came with the laptop. Determine whether your CPU is a candidate for replacement.

Still, if you have the right laptop make and model, you can make some noticeable GHz improvements, either by installing a faster processor or by overclocking the currently installed CPU. A number of laptops have CPUs that are soldered to the motherboard, making them impossible to swap -- or, at the very least, not generally worth the risk and/or expense.

Many CPUs are "locked" by the manufacturer, meaning the clock speed cannot be adjusted by software.

On the other hand, some laptops, such as Alienware models, actually come equipped with overclocking functions already built into the BIOS. Install an overclocking application, or access the BIOS by restarting your laptop and pressing the setup key -- usually "F2," but some laptops may use a different function key, such as "F8" or "F10," to access the BIOS or UEFI. Raise the values of the CPU voltage, Core, Front Side Bus, or FSB, CPU Ratio and/or Clock Multiplier by the smallest possible amount at a time.

At the last count, Intel had four active desktop socket formats: LGA775, LGA1366, LGA1155 and LGA1156.

There are also software programs that are capable of configuring the overclock settings.

This means that if you're contemplating a significant, generational upgrade for an Intel CPU, it will probably also involve replacing your motherboard.

You can raise your laptop's GHz speed simply by swapping out the old CPU for a newer, faster processor.

From the pixel perfect displays of the Retina i Mac, to the compact power of a Mac Mini, these devices are fantastic to use and have proven very durable over the years.

Time, though, takes its toll, and that once shiny, all conquering powerhouse of yesterday can soon become a wheezing carthorse seeing out its time before a final journey to Bostik heaven.

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