How to change laptop CPUs?

Posted on 2005-04-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-05

I was wondering to go ahead change my laptop CPU. I recently bought a SONY VAIO - 23 which comes with a pentium 4 processor. Now the problem with pentium 4 is heat and lower battery life. So, I was wondering if it possible for me to swap it with a Centrino processor? If yes? What specifications?

Following are my current processor specifications for processor and motherboard

Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.80 GHz (512kb L2 Cache)
Front Side Bus Speed - 533MHz

So, yeah, if it is possible to do a swap. What model could it be?

Question by:jacksville009
    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    It's not a given that you can change the CPU.

    On some laptops, the CPU is soldered to the motherboard and cannot be changed.  On others, it is socketed.  Some of the sockets will be mysteriously difficult for anyone who has only worked on desktops to "unlock".

    There are a LOT of issues here, far more than on a desktop, not the least of which are related to power consumption and thermal (heat) management.  Also, there are far more variations of the possible CPUs, and their implications on the OS and bios, including management features like "speed step".

    I really don't recommend that you try this, the risk of really screwing up (even destroying) a perfectly good laptop is very high.  It's going to require almost total disassembly, and that alone has what I would call a "50% catastrophe rate" when attempted by untrained non-technicians.

    However, if you are determined, the bottom line is that you take it apart, and they you will find out if the CPU is socketed or not.  If it's socketed, the changeout is mechanically simple, but there is almost no way to know what the bios and motherboard will support other than by trying it.  The best case is where you know that the same computer and motherboard were built with multiple CPUs, and you are switching from a lower CPU to a more powerful CPU that was also offered in that same computer as a factory configuration.  For example, the Toshiba 1415-S173 had a 1.8 GHz Celeron, while the Toshiba 1415-S115 had a 2.0GHz Celeron CPU, and the machines are otherwise identical.  So, in that case, a changeout from the 1.8 GHz to the 2.0 GHz parts would be about as straightforward as you could get, with reasonable chances of success if done by a qualified technician.

    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    In your case, you are proposing to go from one processor family (Pentium 4) to a totally different family (the Centrino is a Pentium 4m, which is radically different), and that change is almost cerainly not possible.

    LVL 87

    Assisted Solution

    Also, even if the processor is a P4, being in a notebook, it probably is a special type of P4, like a p4 mobile, and these CPU's are built not to use as much power as a normal a p4 and they will also generate less heat. Your processor is surely built for a notebook. As Watzman has already mentioned, changing the CPU in a notebook isn't that easy, and probably you can't change from P4 to the centrino technology. Probably even the sockets for both are different.
    Being a sony, it is even less likely that you could do anything like that. Sony isn't known for making their vaios very service friendly. You are usually stuck with what you get.
    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    This will not be possible.  Pentium 4 and Pentium M require different motherboards, and it's very unlikely (I'd say nearly impossible) that you'll be able to find a Pentium M motherboard for a branded laptop designed for Pentium 4.   If you want a Pentium M laptop, you should purchase one (possibly by exchanging or gettting a trade-in with your current laptop.)   There are a number of articles discussing the slow rise of Pentium M desktops, all of which note that the Pentium M requires a different motherboard than Pentium 4.

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