Upgrades that work

The AMD AM4 socket mobos feature the semi-mythical upgrade paths – that actually work. I went X570 Socket 4 on my last build and have been very pleased with functionality, stability, temperatures, power consumption, etc.

The other day I got one of the numerous daily emails from Newegg and they had the Ryzen 7 5800x on sale. “Hmmmm”, I say to myself. Follow these steps and know happiness:

Step One – Go to the manufacturer website of your motherboard. Does it list the processor you want? Yes? Does it require a BIOS upgrade to install said processor? Yes? Run the BIOS upgrade.

Step Two – Upon successful BIOS upgrade, now you can order the processor, confident that it will work.

Step Three – Wait for processor to arrive.

Step Four- While waiting for the processor, gather items needed to install a new CPU (thermal paste, appropriate screw driver, review instructions for removing after-market CPU cooler, etc).

Step Five – Upon arrival of new CPU, ponder what a pain in the ass it is going to be to pull your PC out from under the desk, disconnect everything (audio, video, network, mouse, keyboard, webcam, printer, mystery USB cables, etc).  Stare at computer for at least 24 to 48 hours, acknowledging that you will need to go get your vacuum cleaner because there’s at least a year’s worth of dust build up on fans, filters and any flat surfaces.

Step Six – Bite the bullet. Get down on the floor and unplug everything. Pull the PC into the light, place a hand on the chassis to discharge yourself to ground, then go to work getting that after-market CPU cooler removed, then unlock the AM4 socket and remove the old processor (and while you are doing this, you really need to remove the thermal paste on the cooler surface and the old CPU. Isopropyl alcohol will clean this off very nicely.

Step Seven – Carefully vacuum out as much crap as you safely can. Your vacuum hose should not be used as an avenging battering ram, let the vacuum do the work. If you have compressed air on hand, using it in conjunction with the vacuum cleaner will get some dust out of otherwise unreachable areas. ProTip: Use that vacuum hose in conjunction with the air can to catch the dust as it gets kicked up into the air, otherwise it will ALL end up right back inside the PC again.

Step Eight – Open the packaging of the new CPU, note the marked corner of the processor, note the marked corner of the AM4 socket, then gently set the processor into the socket. A proper fit will be immediately obvious. Lock the processor into the socket, then using whatever technique you prefer, apply thermal paste to the surface of the processor and either reinstall the old cooler or install a new one if you decided you needed to get a new Noctua NH D15 or a Wraith Prism (I kept my Cooler Master 212 and my temps are running just fine, btw).

Step 9 – Hook up the mouse, keyboard and your main monitor ONLY. Start the PC. The PC will detect the new processor and ask you to confirm that you want to reset BIOS for the new device (this is a Y/N option). The PC will cycle into and out of the BIOS 2 or 3 times, then the machine will do a full start into Windows. You will almost certainly be told you need to do a driver upgrade (accept and proceed). Take a peek into the Device Mangler… I mean the Device Manager and confirm that Windows is seeing and reporting the new CPU correctly. Shut your PC down , reconnect everything and shove it back under your desk. Start up and everything should function exactly as before, with one possible anomaly. 

The Anomaly – For reasons that absolutely elude me, this upgrade set my time zone to Mountain Time (GMT -7). This was very easy to correct, but I am compelled to mention it because it is the one and only thing that I found unusual in the entire process.

Now, in the future, when video cards FINALLY start to sell at sane prices again… but this is a post for another day.


Woe is me. Everyone hates me.

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