Can You Use A Laptop CPU In A Desktop? – Learn Here

If you have a spare CPU lying around or if you just have an itch to know whether can you use a laptop CPU in a desktop or not, then here we will demystify the answer for you.

But the simple answer to this question is no. While Laptop CPU and desktop CPU both perform the same basic functions, the architecture used in designing the two devices is what makes it impossible to use a laptop CPU on a desktop. From socket design, pin arrangement, TDP, lithography to countless other factors, everything about the two types of CPU is drastically different and hence cannot be used interchangeably. 

Laptops are generally made for portability and low power consumption whereas desktops are designed to take performance to the next levels hence the differences in size and design.

Can You Use A Laptop CPU In A Desktop?

The answer to the question of can you use a laptop CPU on a desktop is no because of several reasons.

Laptop CPU is Smoldered to the Motherboard

ball grid array laptop
Laptop CPU are smoldered as they use Ball Grid Array socket arrangement intead of LGA or PGA.

As earlier said, laptops are mainly designed for comfort and portability. With more people going for much thinner laptops each year, laptops manufacturers try to fit all computer components into a smaller space compared to desktops.

This is the reason why the laptop CPU is soldered to the motherboard; to conserve space. By smoldering the CPU to the motherboard, it makes it difficult to transfer the laptop CPU to a desktop without causing damage.

It would take a lot of smoldering to remove the processor and even if removed, the damage taken by the motherboard will be significant and maybe even fatal to the motherboard.

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Power Differences

Laptops are generally designed to be power conservatives. They are designed to use minimal power with optimum efficiency hence enabling the user to work from anywhere without worrying about the battery.

With this in mind, computer processors also tweak their parts such as the RAM, motherboard, and processor to work effectively with less power.

Desktops are designed for performance and overclocking. This requires a lot of power and electricity and since desktops cannot operate without being plugged into power electricity is continuously in the motherboard.

Laptops are not designed to work with that much power being fed to them. If you were able to run your desktop computer using your laptop’s CPU, the laptop CPU would most likely short circuit since it is not designed to handle the same amount of power as desktop processors.

Desktop processors are designed to work on a constant power source. This is known as the switched-mode power supply (SMPS) while laptops do not require the constant power supply hence the difference in processors too.

Also Read: Best Processors for AutoCAD

Laptop Processors Do Not Physically Fit on Desktop Motherboards

Can You Use A Laptop CPU In A Desktop
All CPU have different size and sockets, laptops CPUs cannot physically fit in Desktop motherboard CPU sockets.

The laptop CPU is also smaller compared to the desktop CPU. The desktop CPU has a larger room which enables it to run faster and longer than the laptop CPU. Being larger means the slot on the motherboard is also larger.

If you were to successfully retrieve a laptop CPU fitting it into the motherboard would also bring issues. Laptop CPUs are generally made smaller to save on space because laptops are a comfort machine.

The processor slots on the two are also different hence fitting the laptop CPU to the desktop motherboard would be too hectic or even impossible.

The Difference in Their Functionality

The topic of can you use a laptop CPU on a desktop becomes even more difficult when you consider the difference in their functionality. With desktops being used for high performance it is only obvious that they are designed differently.

One difference will come in the number of cores equipped in both. An example you would use is the i5 8300H which was the laptop version of the i5 8400 which was the desktop model. Despite being of the same make the desktop version comes equipped with 6 cores while the laptop version has only four.

Even though this does not necessarily make the 8300H impossible to fit in the desktop, it shows you how it is pointless trying to fit a laptop CPU on a desktop motherboard.

A laptop CPU also comes with different clock speeds compared to a desktop CPU. Most of the time you will find laptop CPU being less powerful compared to the desktop version of the same processor.

The desktop CPU may have a base frequency of 2.4 gigahertz and a clock speed of 3.5 gigahertz. This goes to show you how different these processors are designed and not made to be interchanged.

Due to the differences in power consumption and cores, even if you would take similar devices such as the i7 8750H laptop and put it side by side with the i7 8700k desktop which was the desktop would still be significantly faster than the laptop since the two processors are simply designed differently. One is designed for performing the other is designed for power.

Laptops with Removable Processors

removable processors
Only a few rare and older laptops may have removable CPUs.

Despite all these changes, some laptops have removable processors. These are processors that haven’t been smoldered onto the motherboard. These laptops are very few and limited and most of the time very expensive.

Laptops such as Acer Nitro 5, Dell XPS 15 9500, and Lenovo ThinkPad t490 are equipped with removable processors. These processors are made detachable in case the need for repair or upgrade arises.

This does not necessarily mean that the laptop processors can be fit into the desktop motherboards. Even though these are high-end laptops that are designed to cater to the high amount of power, their physical design still would not allow them to fit in a desktop motherboard.

Also Read: How to Upgrade MacBook Pro Processor?

What to Do with Unused Processors

Since you cannot use your laptop CPU to upgrade your desktop, you can use it elsewhere instead of throwing it away. You can use it in homemade projects.

These can be projects like making robots or even you can use the processor for education. There are still several things you can do with an old CPU instead of throwing it away.

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We are team of two engineers with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware. is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.