Where is The CPU Located in a Computer? [Recognize Quickly]

Written By Farhan Max

The CPU is one of the major components of the computer. When understanding the PC components, sometimes it seems perplexing cause there are lots of hardware pieces.

However, let’s talk about the processor. Primarily, the CPU is located on the motherboard and attached to the processor’s Socket. The processor is one of the important and largest chips on the motherboard.where-is-the-cpu-located-in-a-computer

Also, there are just a couple of types of processor locations. And I will discuss those in the article. So let’s read some more to figure it out properly.

Where is The CPU Placed in a Computer?

A CPU is one of the most potent computer chips. The CPU or processor is located on top of the motherboard in your PC. It sits on the processor socket with the pins facing down. The socket’s lever keeps the CPU secure.

The biggest component or board also called the motherboard holds all the PC components together. And it has a dedicated placement to hold the processor. There are different types of motherboards like ATX, MicroATX, and Mini-ITX.

For your convenience, I provide an image with different types of the main board. You may notice, on the ATX motherboard at the top middle section there is a particular position. That’s called the processor socket and the CPU sits there, and the socket has some features to hold the CPU securely.

the-socket-featuresthe-socket-features-2Also, I provide another picture with a marking to understand where the CPU sits in different choices of the motherboard. The board may vary, but the position is almost the same, most of the time.

As you see in the MicroATX and Mini-ITX the CPU position is almost dead center. As these boards are significantly smaller and have fewer features than full-size ATX boards. Still, the position of the CPU is almost the same for all different size boards.

In addition, if you try to find where your processor is located inside your system, then you can open your rig’s left-side panel. Then, you will find the main board attached to your PC case. On the main board at the top middle section, there is a fan attached to the board.motherboard-isolated-with-cpu-coolerIn detail, the fan is attached in a way that it stays on top of the CPU. The processor is the main crucial piece inside the machine. It executes all the tasks that you through to your machine. And on the process, the central processor creates lots of heat, that’s why it’s mandatory to have a cooling system attached to the processor.

I hope you understand where the CPU locates on a desktop. You can even locate yours if you like. So let’s see where the processor locates in the laptop.

Where is The CPU located On a Laptop?

Finding the CPU location on a laptop is more difficult than on a desktop. First, you have to open the backplate of the laptop. There are numerous complex issues to consider when finding the placement of the processor on a laptop.

However, most desktop processors have the same square shape, whereas laptop CPUs can have rectangular shapes.

Additionally, the cooling system could not be the same as the desktop system. The cooling system or fan is always connected to the processor in desktop situations.

However, in a laptop, the fan may be located in an unusual location than the processor, despite being connected by a copper heat sink.copper-heat-sinkAs shown in the image, the CPU is in one location and the cooling fan is in another. Even so, if you find the cooling fan, you may be able to easily locate the processor. Also, keep in mind that the location of the processor on the laptop motherboard may vary depending on the model.

Furthermore, the processor for the GPU is difficult to find in a gaming laptop. Both chips may appear identical, and heat sinks cover both chips. You must remove the heat sinks to expose which is the main processor and which is the GPU.

How to Determine Individual CPU Usage With Specific Motherboard Sockets

There are 2 major types of processor and CPU sockets. These are Pin Grid Array (PGA) and Land Grid Array (LGA). The Difference is PGA has the pins with the processor and has holes in the socket like AMD Ryzen 5600G. And LGA has pins located on the socket and the processor sits on it.

Such as an Intel Core i5-3470 3.20 GHz Processor requires an LGA1155 socket. And Ryzen 3000 or 5000 series processors require an AM4 socket. So if you wish to get a CPU then make sure it is compatible with the motherboard socket.

For more details on the main circuit board CPU sockets, check out the differences between LAG & PGA and LGA & BGA.

Exceptional CPU Placement in The Motherboard

There are some extraordinary CPUs that perform far better than traditional processors. You may hear about a workstation or server PC. Those are some heavy-duty machines that use for particular intensive workloads.exceptional-cpu

These processors are massive and require specialized motherboards and sockets. You can see yourself in the following image.specialized-motherboards-and-socketsThis motherboard has two slots for the processor. That means you can run two different systems with a single motherboard. So, you realize there are some different placements for some exceptional processors.

However, as I already mentioned, you can quickly determine where the CPU located by identifying the socket or cooling system.

Why Should You Care About CPU Location?

In today’s world, a computer is not a luxury; it is a necessity. So, why shouldn’t you be concerned about the central processor location? The first subject to come up in a discussion about computers, whether you are a PC user or not, is CPU.

Furthermore, you don’t have to be a nerd to be aware of some processor facts. And believe me, there are times when this knowledge will provide a thrilling adventure while also saving money.

Let’s discuss some reasons or situations where the awareness of processor location will help enormously.

Here are the reasons you should be concerned about the location of your CPU:

CPU Overheating Issue

Assume you’ve been gaming on your PC for some long period of time. And your computer becomes slow or even stops working. It could happen due to processor overheating or for other particular reasons. And CPU overheating is a very common trouble that many users face.

If you encounter any CPU issue, you must thoroughly inspect it. The inspection will be fairly simple, if you know where the processor is located. You can also perform some self-diagnosis like clean the processor fan or clean & reapply the thermal paste.

Do Not Confuse Motherboard Chipset With the CPU

You could confuse the motherboard chipset and CPU on some desktop computers. As a result, they may appear to be about the same size, which causes misunderstanding.

There are a couple of simple ways you can identify the processor and motherboard chipset.

The motherboard chipset doesn’t have a cooling fan. And normally it locates in the bottom half of the board. Also, most of the time, the board company name was stamped or written over the chipset.

For the laptop, motherboard chipset always have heatsinks, so you need to be a little cautious to identify the CPU and motherboard chipset.

Complex CPU Installation Procedure

Maybe you want to upgrade your CPU or just wish to get a new system. In both of these situations, expertise of CPU location can help you. And installing the central processor is a great experience for every pc user. Here is a little brief about how to install the CPU on the main board.

After identifying the socket on the main board, you will find a lever. First, pull the lever all the way back then take your CPU gently and stay careful not to drop or put scratch under the CPU.

Then find the mark in the processor. It will be a little triangle mark both on the CPU and motherboard’s socket. Line up the marks and gently put the processor on the socket. Don’t push or press the CPU. Just do this portion as mildly as possible.

After the processor is placed, then lock the CPU by taking the lever all the way down and lock it just like the image.

For more detailed step-by-step instructions, check out our complete CPU installation guide.

processor-placeprocessor-place-2These are just some examples. There are also many situations where CPU location awareness can help you. For example, if your PC is 2 years old, then it’s mandatory to reapply the thermal paste on the processor.

Also, for cleaning the system and many more. That’s why it’s better to know about the processor’s location.


Where does the CPU go on a motherboard?

Your CPU must be inserted into the correct socket on the motherboard. Fortunately, there are almost always indicators on the processor and socket to aid in proper alignment. Look for a matching indicator on the CPU and socket corner. It will most likely take the shape of a small triangle.

How is the CPU connected to the motherboard?

A Computer’s processor connects a CPU’s processor to the PC’s motherboard via a series of pins. When a CPU is attached via a processor socket, it isn’t soldered and thus replaceable. Processor sockets are much more common on desktop gaming PCs than on laptops.

What are CPU sockets and cores?

A socket is the physical type of connection in which the processor capsules are installed. A standard PC has only one socket. The number of processor cores per CPU compartment is referred to as cores. A typical modern standard processor for a regular Computer has two or four cores. Furthermore, some CPUs can support more than one parallel thread per processor chip.

How does a CPU connect to a computer?

The CPU is your computer’s brain: it’s where all of your software and computing takes place. The motherboard, on the other hand, serves as the motherboard’s nervous system, using circuits to link the processor to the other hardware components, such as the RAM, the hard drive, the Disc drive, and each of your connectivity options.

Final Thoughts

I went into great detail about where to find the CPU in a computer. The answer is simple: the CPU is located in the upper middle position on the motherboard, where the CPU sockets are already present.

Furthermore, processor sockets always have a lever that allows the CPU to be locked. Also, with that, you can recognize the CPU location. It’s a crucial component in the PC, and it’s best to have an idea of where it should go.

Also, if possible, learn more about the CPU, like specifications. Not to brag, but for your own benefit.

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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