How to Upgrade Processor Speed

By Gregory Hamel

A computer's central processing unit, or CPU, is sometimes referred to as the brain of a computer. A CPU carries out the millions of calculations necessary for a computer to operate. The speed of a CPU has a direct impact on the speed a computer can run its programs. Upgrading a processor's output speed can increase a computer's performance.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Extra case fans
  • A box fan or oscillating fan
  • New CPU heatsink and fan
  • A new CPU

Step 1

Limit start up applications. Many applications start up when your computer turns on that are unnecessary and slow down a CPU. Click "Start," then "Run," and type "msconfig" and click "OK." Go to the "Startup" tab and uncheck any startup services that you have installed since you got your computer but do not use. Programs like winamp, AIM, media players, and other programs often launch at startup, even though there is no need for them to do so.

Step 2

Increase CPU cooling. A hot CPU runs much slower than one that is kept cool. Install extra case fans in your computer or install a better CPU heat sink or CPU fan. Running your computer with the case open and a large fan blowing across the motherboard is one way to make it run cooler temporarily while you prepare a more long-term solution.

Step 3

Defragment your hard drive. This makes it much easier for the processor to access and process information. To defragment click "Start," "All Programs," "Accessories," "System Tools," then "Disk Defragmenter." Note that defragmentation can take a long time, so you may want to run it overnight.

Step 4

Install a new, faster processor. Perhaps the most effective way to upgrade your processor speed is to replace it with a faster processor. To do this, you have to open the computer case, unscrew or unclamp the CPU heat sink and fan, unclip the old processor, and put in a new CPU. Then reinstall the heatsink and fan, and close the case. (see Resources).

Tips & Warnings

  • Overclocking is another method of increasing CPU speed by configuring the processor to run faster in your motherboard's BIOS setup. Overclocking should only be attempted by advanced users as it has the potential to cause system instability and permanent hardware damage. (See Resources for more information.)