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Beginners Guide: Install/Remove Intel Socket LGA1156 CPU and Heatsink
Date: Monday November 18, 2013
Category: Beginners Guides Author: Max Page
Manufacture: PCSTATS Turn Tech Glossary On Print Article Mail Article
Installing a socket LGA1156 Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor into a fresh motherboard as part of a new PC build can be intimidating step, particularly if you've never worked inside a computer before. PCSTATS received a few emails from novice readers on this subject, so we thought it worthwhile to lay out the steps for you in this Beginners Guide.
Rating: Software


Installing a socket LGA1156 Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor into a fresh motherboard as part of a new PC build can be intimidating step, particularly if you've never worked inside a computer before. PCSTATS received a few emails from novice readers on this subject, so we thought it worthwhile to lay out the steps for you in this Beginners Guide. Once you know what not to touch and which way the CPU goes, it's really not difficult. Best of all, when it comes time upgrade your CPU with a faster model, you can extend the lifespan of the PC and save yourself a few bucks in the process too!

In this PCSTATS Beginners Guide we'll show you how to install and remove a socket LGA1156 Intel processor and heatsink, step by step. If you've been considering a computer upgrade, bookmark this article for future reference.

A few words of caution before we start. Computer processors are sensitive electronic devices. 1) Always make sure the power is off, computer is unplugged before opening it up. 2) Never touch the gold connector pads on the bottom of the CPU and always be extremely careful when inserting the processor into the CPU socket. 3) Don't touch the delicate gold pins in the socket, they bend easily and can also be damaged by the oils from your skin. 4) Always ground yourself to a metal object before doing any work inside a computer system to minimize the risk of an electrostatic discharge.

Intel's LGA1156 Processor

Beginners Guides:
How to Install / Remove:

- AMD Socket AM3 CPU / Heatsink
- AMD Socket FM1 CPU / Heatsink
- Intel Socket 775 CPU / Heatsink
- Intel Socket 1366 CPU / Heatsink
- Intel Socket 1155 CPU / Heatsink
- Intel Socket 1156 CPU / Heatsink

First let's familiarize ourselves with the Intel processor.

On the top of the processor you'll find a silvery looking metal lid called the 'Integrated Heat Spreader' (IHS) and a small gold triangle in one corner. The green substrate has two small notches on opposite edges which key the CPU into the socket in one direction only. Processor make model numbers are laser engraved on the IHS.

Intel does not specifically state on the CPU if the processor is for socket LGA1150, LGA1155 or LGA1156, this information is printed on the box the CPU is sold in. If the chip does not fit, double check its model number on Intel.com to ensure you are installing the CPU into the correct motherboard socket.


Top and bottom view of an Intel LGA1156 processor.

On the bottom of the socket LGA1156 Intel processor we are working with in this PCSTATS Beginners Guide you'll find one thousand, one hundred and fifty-six gold pads, in the center are tiny electrical components. The gold pads on the base of the CPU make contact with corresponding electrical pins in the processor socket on the motherboard. Oils from your fingers can damage these golden electrical contacts, so the proper way to handle the CPU is by the edges only.

In general, it's best practice to leave the processor in its plastic, protective chip carrier until the moment you are ready to install the CPU into the socket.

Heatsink for Socket LGA1156

CPU heatsinks come in all different shapes and sizes, some are made for Intel or AMD processors, some for both. Aside from thermal solution performance criteria, what separates different heatsinks is socket compatibility.

For the purposes of this DIY Guide, PCSTATS will be installing Intel's reference stock LGA1156 CPU cooler. For 80% of users this heatsink is probably fine. If you overclock, are a performance user or demand super quiet operation, then you'll need to visit Frostytech.com and have a look through their Top 5 heatsink charts and find the best CPU cooler your budget will afford.

This Intel reference heatsink comes with thermal compound pre-applied on the bottom.

Mounting brackets for Intel heatsinks are nice and simple; four plastic push-to-click retention posts are used which engage with four holes, spaced 75mm apart, around the LGA1156 CPU socket.

Motherboard LGA1156 Socket

On socket LGA1156 motherboards there is a Land Grid Array 1156-pin processor socket which the processor is mounted into. The socket consists of three parts; a top metal pressure plate, a metal lever arm and the bottom electrical socket which is a complex array of tiny gold pins that contact the base of the CPU.

The LGA1156 socket is shown below with its protective plastic cover removed and top metal pressure plate opened up so you can see the gold pins which interface with the CPU base.


LGA1156 CPU Socket with the protective cover removed. The tiny gold pins are very delicate, never touch them.

A protective plastic cover normally sits over these pins when no processor is present, remove the cover just before the CPU is installed as these pins are extremely fragile and easily damaged.

Now that we're familiar with the major parts of the CPU socket and processor, let's run through the process of installing an Intel socket LGA1156 processor and heatsink correctly. Later in this Guide, PCSTATS will cover how to remove the heatsink and CPU.

Installing the Intel chip...

Next

Page 2: Step 1: Installing an Intel LGA1156 CPU
Page 3: Inserting the socket LGA1156 CPU the right way
Page 4: Locking the Processor in Position
Page 5: Installing an Intel CPU Heatsink
Page 6: Removing Socket LGA1156 heatsinks and processors safely
Page 7: Removing Socket LGA1156 processors safely


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