Can Laptop CPU Be Used in a Desktop? [Know the Possibilities]

Written By Farhan Max

Do you have a laptop and desktop in your possession? If you have, it’s common to wonder whether using a laptop CPU on a desktop is possible.


The fact is quite interesting. In this article, I will elaborately answer this question.

Therefore, before you try to test this theory practically, read this article first. In the end, you may save both your desktop and laptop processor from getting damaged.

Without ado, let’s begin.

Can You Use a Laptop Processor on Your Desktop?

Shortly say no. You can’t use a laptop CPU in place of a desktop CPU. One of the main reasons is that manufacturers permanently soldered the laptop CPU on the motherboard. Besides, you can’t exchange a laptop CPU with a desktop due to socket differences, build quality, etc.

Though there are some exceptions, you can’t count them as yes. Below I have explained the reasons in detail.

Here are the reasons you can’t use a laptop processor instead of a desktop processor:

1. Laptop CPUs are Non-removal

All modern laptop processors are soldered to the motherboard. Manufacturers do that on purpose, and the reason is quite valid.laptop-cpus-are-non-removal

Mainly we use the laptop for easy portability. For this, the processor must stay firmly connected to the motherboard socket.

The problem is, with LGA (Land Grid Array) & PGA (Pin Grid Array) sockets, the processor can displace from the socket. Even a slight bump can eject the processor. That puts the CPU at risk.

Between LGA & PGA, if you need clarification about which one you should go for, check our awesome post about LGA vs. PGA.

The laptop manufacturers use BGA (Ball Grid Array) sockets, where the CPU can be soldered in much more conserved space. Also, It makes them hard to remove.

If you somehow manage to take out the CPU, you can guess how much damage will occur to the CPU and the motherboard from a soldered position.

Moreover, soldering a processor is quite easier and cheaper since there is no need to put a locking mechanism or lever in the motherboard. Most modern laptop CPUs are attached to the motherboard, and you can easily identify the soldered laptop CPU by looking at it.

2. Different in Size

To easily understand their size, you can perform a simple test. Take a laptop CPU and a desktop in your hand and put them side-by-side.different-in-size

In a moment, you will see that the laptop processor is smaller than the desktop.

If you look closely, the desktop CPU will seem more square-shaped. On the contrary, the laptop processor will appear to be more rectangular-shaped.

So, how can you think you can use a laptop CPU on a desktop if they don’t fit?

3. Socket Won’t Match

Whether a CPU will install on the motherboard depends on its socket. As long as the socket pin count doesn’t match, you won’t be able to install a new processor.

For example, the Intel Core i9-12900H laptop processor socket is FCBGA1744. It means it has 1744 pins, and the type is BGA (Ball Grid Array).

And the Intel i9-12900 desktop processor socket is LGA 1700. It means it has 1700 pins, and the type is LGA (Land Grid Array).

As you can see, even though they belong to the same gen and same series, the pin count is different. You won’t use the CPU if the socket pin count doesn’t match. Even with one pin difference, the motherboard won’t support the CPU.

Do you know the difference between an LGA and BGA? If you don’t, read our excellent guide to learn about the dissimilarities between LGA Vs. BGA.

4. Desktop CPUs Consume More Power than Laptop CPUs

Desktop CPUs are designed to withstand any high-load pressure from the PC. That’s why sometimes it consumes more power and generates more heat, but stays well even after that. The TDP rating is relatively higher on desktops.

Whereas a laptop CPU is built for light use. Because of that, it consumes less power, and the heat generation is minimal. The TDP rating is also lower.

If you place a laptop CPU in a desktop, the system will be unstable and may get damaged due to overheating.

5. The Laptop CPU will Perform Slower on the Desktop

Let’s assume you somehow manage to install a laptop CPU in a desktop motherboard. What will happen then?cpu-perform-slow

Since the laptop CPUs are built to consume low power, they won’t be able to perform as the desktop CPUs. As a result, you will not run multiple programs at once. Even if you try to, the system performance will be slower.

There are lots of differences between laptop CPU and Desktop CPU. And it’s impossible to use it in desktop as the structural design and dimension is different.

Are Laptop and Desktop CPUs the Same?

Though the function of both the desktop and laptop CPU is identical, they are not the same. The core count, clock speed, size, power usage, and heat dissipation are higher in desktop CPUs. Moreover, you can upgrade or change your desktop processor, which you can’t in a laptop.

If you look at the core count and clock speed first, they are far more different than each other.

For example, let’s look at the 11th Gen tiger lake laptop and rocket lake processors.tiger-lake-laptop-and-rocket-lake-processors

Rocket Lake CPUs have close to 8 cores and 16 threads. Their maximum clock speed is 5.3 GHz. But, the Tiger Lake CPUs have up to 4 cores and 8 threads. The max clock speed is 4.8 GHz.

As for power consumption and heat dissipation, desktop CPUs are also ahead of laptop CPUs in this case.

Laptop CPUs are made to work on battery. That’s why it uses only a limited amount of power and generates less heat. They will act the same even if you use your laptop’s power adapter.

Meanwhile, the desktop CPUs are manufactured to draw more power since the desktop PC always stays plugged into the electric outlet.

On the desktop, you can change or upgrade your processor, but upgrading the laptop CPU isn’t possible now-a-days.

As you can see, they are not similar.

Is a Laptop CPU Better than a Desktop CPU?

In short, no. A laptop processor is just as good as a desktop processor. Both have their own advantages. Desktop processors offer better performance and also give you a customized option. While on a laptop CPU, those are energy efficient and easy to carry around.

You can get the highest possible performance in any high & mid-end desktop CPU than their laptop counterparts. It happens because the processor has large heat sinks and fans by its side, allowing it to perform at high temperatures without the risk of overheating.

Therefore, the desktop CPU is better at multitasking and can handle high-demanding programs such as gaming, video editing, 3D rendering, etc.

Now let’s see the laptop CPU side.

If you check the core count in a laptop CPU, you’ll find it comparatively lesser than a desktop processor. Though having fewer cores and threads they still provide reasonable performance, consuming less power. Due to this less power usage, they are much more energy efficient and generate less heat.

This makes them the perfect component for any portable device like a laptop.

As you can see, both have advantages in their own way. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your needs which you feel more comfortable using.

Final Thought

Both processors have their personal advantage and unique way of working. Besides the physical disadvantage of fitting, they can’t technically perform well in each other’s places.

So, you shouldn’t try to interchange a desktop CPU with a laptop processor. You shouldn’t also try it the other way.

I hope you get all the answers you need in this article. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. I will be happy to help you out with any suggestions.

Peace Out!

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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