How to Tell if a Computer's Motherboard Can Run a 64-bit Processor

By Dan Stone

All of Intel and AMD's motherboards that have the correct socket type for a 64-bit processor can operate in 64-bit mode. The socket is the part of the motherboard that connects to the processor. The motherboard may need a BIOS update to run a 64-bit processor when upgrading from a 32-bit one. If you are wondering if a motherboard you are running is 64-bit compatible it may be faster to first check if the processor you are running is 64-bit compatible. If the processor is not, you can check the motherboard's socket type.

Things You'll Need

  • CPU-Z program
  • Motherboard spec sheet

Check the Socket Type With CPU-Z

Step 1

Download, install and open CPU-Z (see References for a link).

Step 2

Click on the CPU tab.

Step 3

Read the "Package" section. As an example, an AMD Phenom II processor could come up as having a "Socket AM3 (938)" connection.

Step 4

Check to see if the socket type supports 64-bit processors in the Tips section.

Check Through Windows

Step 1

Click on the Start menu.

Step 2

Right-click on "My Computer" and select "Properties."

Step 3

Click the Windows Experience Index.

Step 4

Select "view and print detailed performance and system information."

Step 5

Read the "System" section to determine if the computer is running in 64-bit or is 64-bit capable. A yes answer for either means the motherboard is 64-bit.

Check With a Spec Sheet

Step 1

Refer to either the motherboard's features section on the spec sheet or the diagram. This information is usually included with the computer's manual.

Step 2

Look for the processor connection socket type.

Step 3

Compare the socket type to the list of 64-bit compatible sockets in the Tips section.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Intel supporting motherboards with sockets 478, 479, LGA 775, LGA 1156, LGA 1366 and later models are 64-bit motherboards.
  • AMD supporting motherboards with 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+, AM3, and later models are 64-bit motherboards.
  • Intel Motherboards that use the socket 478 connection support 32-bit and 64-bit processors. If you are running a Pentium 4 processor and Windows claims the computer is not 64-bit capable, the motherboard might still be 64-bit compatible. You can upgrade the processor to a 64-bit Pentium 4 from a 32-bit Pentium 4 on a Socket 478. In all other cases, if the processor does not support 64-bit processing the motherboard it is fit on does not either. All motherboards that have Intel sockets made before Socket 478 do not support 64-bit computing. Note that you may have to update a Socket 478 motherboard's BIOS to use it in 64-bit mode. Motherboards running Pentium 4 processors with Socket 423 are not 64-bit compatible.
  • AMD motherboards are more straightforward. If Windows claims the processor can't run in 64-bit mode, the motherboard is not 64-bit compatible. The AMD Athalon XP processor, which runs on the Socket 462 connection, is 32-bit, while the Athalon 64 processor uses the Socket 754 connection and is 64-bit compatible.