Do All Intel Processors Fit the Same Motherboard?

By Ashley Poland

Intel offers a lot of different processors for different computers.
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While Intel makes a lot of similar processors, these units are not interchangeable in the motherboard. You cannot take your five-year-old computer and slot the newest Intel CPU into the motherboard. The most limiting factor to this is the socket. Different models of Intel processors work in different slot styles. When upgrading your processor, first check to see which processors fit into your motherboard.

CPU Socket

Every motherboard has a CPU socket -- and different Intel processors use different socket types. These socket types are defined by number and name, usually something like "Socket 423." Say, for instance, you have an old computer that came with a Pentium 4. The socket used for the Pentium 4 (Socket 423) would not fit the Intel Core i7 CPU, which uses the LGA1366/Socket B type socket. Earlier CPU sockets were more flexible, with several different sockets working with the same processor. New processors generally only fit into one socket type.

Determining Compatibility

If you want to upgrade your processor and aren't sure which Intel processors will work with your motherboard, start by looking up your motherboard. The technical specifications of any motherboard will tell you which processors are supported as well as the type of CPU socket that the motherboard uses. For instance, the Intel Desktop Board DH61HO supports several Intel processors with the LGA1155 CPU socket -- also called Socket H2.


Upgrading your processor doesn't have to be all about the newest processor. If you're stuck with your current computer or motherboard but can afford to replace the CPU, consider looking for a faster version of your current processor. As another example, look at the Intel Desktop Board DH61HO again. It supports over 53 different Intel processors, which go to speeds of up to 3.4 GHz. You may also look at the cache; the board can handle some CPUs with up to 8MB cache. An older but faster chip with a larger cache than your current chip improves the overall performance of your computer.

Processor Manufacturers

It's also important to check that the motherboard in your computer uses an Intel processor; some computers use AMD processors, the primary alternative to Intel processors. If you didn't build your computer, you can check which type of processor your computer uses by looking at the technical specifications on the computer manufacturer's website. The CPU socket for AMD processors is not compatible with Intel processors.