This is the trickiest upgrade and not one to be undertaken lightly. If you’re going to upgrade your Central Processing Unit (CPU), then you’ll want to think about upgrading your motherboard at the same time, so you can enjoy the benefits of new technology, such as USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s data transfer rates.
It’s worth bearing in mind that replacing your motherboard and CPU may not be the end of your upgrades, as a new board might require different memory modules and (depending on the age of your old set-up) a new graphics card.
Installing the motherboard simply involves screwing it into position. You’ll need to insert and secure the CPU before you do this, and that’s a little harder, All you have to do is place the CPU in the socket (the right way round). The fiddly bit is connecting a heat sink on top of it.
The actual installation process varies depending on the make of processor (and your choice of processor will depend on the type of socket on your motherboard), so read the supplied instructions very carefully. When it comes to choosing a processor, you will need to decide between single, dual or quad core, and 32- or 64-bit.
A dual-core is like having two processors running at the same time, although not quite as fast. Quad core is like having four processors, but you’ll only get a real speed benefit if you’re running software designed to make the most of it. 64-bit chips are definitely the future, but you’ll need to also have a 64-bit OS and a decent amount of memory.