Introduction: Diagnosing CPUs

Picture of Diagnosing CPUs

So what is the CPU and what does it do?

The CPU is the Central Processing Unit. It is located on the motherboard, underneath the heat sink and CPU fan. It carries out the operations (logical, arithmetical, I/O, control) for the user. There are different types of CPUs, however. There are 32-bit and 64-bit CPUs; 64-bit CPUs allow for a greater amount of calculations to be performed per second.

Some common specifications associated with the CPU are:

The CPU clock speed: usually in gHz, meaning in the billions of processes can be completed per second.

32 v 64 bit: The size of numbers the processor can handle

Cores: More cores, more processing units within one of the little CPU cases. More cores also means it can perform more processes.

Step 1: Parts of the CPU:

Picture of Parts of the CPU:

Pins: Gold pins located on the bottom of the CPU that serve as connections to the motherboard.

ALU: digital circuit used to perform arithmetic and logic operations.

Register: Small set of data holding places that are part of the computer processor.

Memory Interface: Manages the flow of data

Step 2: Maintenence

Picture of Maintenence

1. The gold pins on the back of the CPU are very delicate and important, so take care to not bend them (try to pick up the CPU by top and bottom). The pins make the connections between the processor and the motherboard, allowing data to be transferred.

2. The side opposite of the pins is where you would put the thermal paste, which allows the processor to run for a longer time with more operations without overheating and crashing. If the processor runs 'hot' too many times, there is the potential that some of the connections could be fried.

3. The following is a diagnostic tool from Intel for processors: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/19792/In...

4. If your computer is not working, the following could be symptoms that there is something wrong with the processor:

a. Starts up but immediately shuts down (if this happens, your processor is most likely overheating, and you will want to reapply thermal compound).

b. Also, if you are replacing a processor and it doesn't seem to be fitting in its socket, you may have bent pins. There are some ways to bend them back, but in general, it's a very good idea to avoid having the pins in contact with anything besides the socket they go in.

Step 3: Removing the CPU

First, flip the switch on the heatsink

Then, unhook the edges on the clasp for the heatsink from the hooks on the motherboard

Lift the heatsink off of the processor.

Pull the lever next to the processor up

Carefully lift the processor out!

Step 4: Replacing the Thermal Compound

Using rubbing alcohol and thermal compound:

Put rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and rub on the bottom of the heatsink to remove the old thermal compound

Put rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and rub on the top of the processor to remove the old thermal compound

Put a pea-sized amount of thermal compound on the processor

Put processor back on the motherboard, push down on the lever.

Place heatsink carefully on the processor to spread the thermal compound

Rehook the heatsink, and pull the lever on the heatsink back into place.

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