How to Buy a CPU/Processor to Replace One That Has Failed

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How to Buy a CPU/Processor to Replace One That Has Failed

Computers provide us access to the outside world, allow us to work from any location, and streamline many once tedious processes, so when one starts acting up, it is important to consider what should be done in case it dies. While some may opt for a new model, other DIYers may be able to diagnose the problem and replace the part. The CPU is one vital component of the computer that some may be able to swap out with a little know how; those with the CPU soldered into the motherboard need to consult a professional.

The Central Processing Unit, frequently shortened to CPU or processor, is like the brain of the computer. It evaluates data from programmes and basic functioning and sends instructions to make the computer run. Before taking apart the computer, find out what make and model is installed. Next, users should research online whether or not the CPU is removable. If it is, a replacement can be purchased from a specialty computer store or online websites such as eBay.

Assessing Computer Use

Before running out and purchasing the most expensive CPU money can buy, there are plenty of factors to consider. One of the most important elements is how the computer is used. Before deciding on a processor, shoppers should assess the extent to which they use their computer. People who write emails, use office suites, and browse the Internet generally fall under the category of basic computer users. This type of usage requires a minimal amount of CPU, and therefore, if replacing a failing one, shoppers do not need to shell out top dollar.

People who use their computer for these features and also for other types of software might want to consider a mid-range CPU. The increasing popularity of streaming videos has been pushing up the minimum CPU requirements. Gamers, as well as photo and video editors need a significantly more powerful processor to keep their machines operating at optimal levels. Once shoppers have established how their computers are used, they can then choose a CPU right for them.

Choosing a CPU

Picking out a CPU can seem daunting, especially for those who have never replaced one before. The first step is to determine if the CPU can be replaced with relative ease. Most of the information needed to replace a CPU can be found in the computer's user manual or the company's website. Some processors are soldered onto the motherboard and therefore much more difficult to replace. In the case one has a soldered processor, it is often best to let a professional change it. Wise shoppers familiarise themselves with the popular, well-performing models prior to looking for a new processor.

The socket type refers to interface that joins the CPU and motherboard. Since not all models are the same, knowing the socket type is imperative. The sections below expand on factors shoppers should consider prior to choosing a CPU.

Major Brands and Series

When it comes to picking out a replacement CPU, the market is dominated by Intel and AMD although there are a handful of smaller companies. While there are advocates for both Intel and AMD, the decision boils down to how computer is used. Though there are only these two main competitor companies, they produce a wide range of processors to accommodate every user. Intel has six main series of CPUs. Atom, Celeron, and Pentium series are best for basic computer users. The Core i3 and Core i5 are great mid-level options, and the Core i7 is preferred by many gamers. The Next Generation i3, i5, and i7 series are for dual and quad core processors.

AMD also has several basic and high performance series CPUs available to consumers. The Phenom II has media and entertainment watchers attention. This high performance CPU has incredibly high clock speed and is excellent for handling multi-programme usage and producing high definition movies. The Phenom II Black Edition exceeds even the regular model's capabilities, and users with a lot of work or gaming to do prefer them.

Socket Type

The CPU socket is the piece that allows the part to connect with the motherboard. When replacing the processor, first check the user manual or manufacturer's website to see what type of motherboard has been installed. Then use the information to find a process compatible with the motherboard.


The FSB, which stands for Front Side Bus, is responsible for transferring data from the CPU to other parts of the computer such as the graphics and memory. The faster the FSB, the better the CPU performs.


One of the biggest limitations many people come up against is the price a new CPU costs. Again, this is why it is important to assess computer use before choosing a CPU. Basic users only need basic CPUs. Gamers and digital media editors need something much more powerful and often with multiple cores. One benefit of shopping on websites such as eBay is they have used or refurbished CPUs for a fraction of the price. Before buying a used CPU, buyers are encouraged to check retail price to ensure they are getting a good deal.

CPU Features

In addition to knowing the big picture and most integral considerations, there are other specs many shoppers should be aware of when picking out a CPU. There are many variables that can increase the speed of the processor. The increase in functionality typically translates to a more expensive processor. This is why it is important to estimate how the computer is used.

Clock speed and L2 Cache are often amped up to increase performance. Multi-core CPUs can also be installed to enhance the user's experience. Of course the right equipment must be multithreaded to work together. The below sections touch on other important elements to factor in when shopping for a processor.

Clock Speed

Performance level is directly related to clock speed. The term refers to how quickly a CPU can execute a set of instructions. A higher clock speed is often more expensive than comparable models with less. When comparing clock speed, shoppers should only compare models with the same number of cores. A single core processor may have a higher clock speed but may not function as quickly as a dual core processor with a lower clock speed. Therefore, a replacement CPU must be evaluated both on clock speed and number of cores to fully evaluate performance.

CPU Cache

CPU cache helps expedite the opening and using of frequently accessed computer programmes. Users can think of CPU cache like a shortcut. The execution of instructions is stored in the cache. There are three types or "levels" of CPU Cache: L1, L2, and L3. These descriptions refer to a processor's multilevel storage capabilities, and the higher the number, the better it functions. L2 Cache is commonly used for many processors, but those who use their machines to the fullest extent might consider a process with L3 Cache.


Multi-core processors are growing in popularity, especially with gamers and digital media editors. More core processors increases the capabilities of the computer. However, if interested in replacing a failing CPU with a dual or quad core model, customers must first make sure it is compatible with the motherboard, and there is enough physical space available. AMD and Intel are the leading manufacturers of multi-core processors. A dual core CPU outperforms a single core with the same clock speed at the rate of 50 per cent or even better.

Buying a CPU on eBay

Once you figured out which CPU is compatible with your computer and can also satisfy your general usage requirement, you are ready to commence your search on eBay. Intel and AMD are the most popular brands, so if you have a preference, be sure to include it as a keyword and perform a search for Intel CPUs or AMD CPUs. Other useful keywords include number of cores, the series, or type of socket. Check out eBay's search tips page for more help optimising your CPU results.

Top-Rated Seller

When purchasing a CPU online, it is vital to make sure you are buying the right piece of equipment. Similarly, you should always take a few minutes to evaluate the seller with the same scrutiny. Fortunately, eBay keeps close tabs on their sellers, and those who have an outstanding reputation with customers are set apart from the rest. eBay awards top-rated seller status to exceptional sellers. Look for the designating icon next to the seller's username.


With so many factors to consider when looking for a replacement processor, it is best to weigh all options prior to searching. Establishing general operating parameters is a crucial step. Serious gamers would be less than thrilled to install a single core CPU. In contrast, a basic user does not need to shell out more money on a quad processor since they can never fully appreciate the performance. The more programmes, games, and apps one has on a computer, the more powerful the CPU needs to be.

In addition to number of cores, performance can be evaluated by assessing the CPU cache capabilities, FSB, and clock speed. Shoppers should double check that the new CPU is compatible with the motherboard by looking up the socket type. Intel and AMD are leading manufactures, but there are a few smaller companies distributing quality CPUs. Whether shopping locally or online, finding the right processor is a breeze for shoppers who do legwork upfront.

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