How to install an AMD processor

If you’re on this page, you’ve bought an AMD processor that you wish to install. If you’re not sure if your processor is AMD, there’s a simple way to find out: if the bottom is covered in gold pins, it’s AMD. (Intel processors have flat dots instead.)

1. Open the socket lever.

open-the-socket-lever-amd

AMD’s processors fit into AM2, AM2+, or AM3 sockets. The sockets are very similar, so the installation instructions are the same.

To fit the processor in the socket, first, lift the lever. This step unclips the bar on one side and rises vertically above the board. This procedure will move the socket very slightly, aligning the holes in the plastic socket with the connectors beneath. The processor should drop into place with no force, hence the socket’s type: zero insertion force (ZIF).

2. Fit the processor.

fit-the-processor

The processor can fit only one way into the socket. Make sure the arrow on top of the processor is aligned with the arrow on the processor socket. Gently push the processor into place. You should feel it click into position when it’s all the way in. If
it feels like you have to use too much force, stop and check that the processor is correctly aligned.

Once the processor is all the way in, check around it to make sure that it’s sitting flush against the plastic socket. If it’s not, push gently down on the sections that aren’t flush. Push the lever down and clip it back into place to secure the processor.

3. Apply some thermal paste.

fit-the-cooler

Thermal paste fills in invisible micro-cracks on the surface of the processor and the cooler, ensuring efficient heat transfer between the two. You may find that your fan comes pre-coated with thermal paste, in which case you can skip this step.

If not, you’ll need to apply your own. This step is simple to do. First, squeeze a tiny blob of thermal paste into the middle of the processor. Use a thin, flat edge such as a credit card to spread the compound so that the processor’s surface is completely coated. Don’t spread it over the side of the processor, and add more thermal paste if necessary.

4. Fit the cooler.

fit-the-cooler

If you’re using a third-party cooler, check its instructions for how to fit it. If you’re using an AMD cooler that came with your processor, installing it is simple. Around the processor socket, there is a plastic cooler mount with two nodules sticking out. These are designed to hold your heatsink’s clips.

Take your heatsink and open its handle. Fit the metal clip (without the handle on it) over one nodule and push it against the CPU mount snugly. Place the heatsink across the top of the processor. Push the remaining metal clip over the second nodule, and then close the handle. This procedure will require a bit of force to get the handle down.

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