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Thread: Can a laptop CPU work in a desktop?

  1. #1
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    Default Can a laptop CPU work in a desktop?

    I recently tore down a broken old ThinkPad that had an IBM 5x86 100MHz CPU in it. From all appearances it seems to be a standard Socket 3 part.

    My question is, can I use this CPU in a compatible (I believe these CPUs require 3.3V?) Socket 3 board? I imagine I would need a better heat sink but other than that, would it work?

  2. #2
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    Yeah, there's no electrical difference, as long as it's the same socket.

  3. #3
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    Cool! Now I need to get myself another AT box and a Socket 3 motherboard to give it a home...plus a beefier heat sink of course.

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    Absolutely. Many (myself included) have used AMD Athlon XP-M CPUs in desktop machines. The XP-M is arguably a better Socket A alternative than the usual desktop fare.

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    At these times there was no differenciation between desktop and laptop cpu. But on 486 they begun to differentiate between 5V and 3.3V cpus. So you need to take care that the mainboard suppprts the CPU voltage.

  6. #6

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    When it's the same CPU socket, and you know that for a fact, then yes you can swap them around with success typically.

    The exceptions start to happen most prominently in the Pentiums and up. Some laptops had normal socket 7 Pentium chips, but some had little CPU+cache+northbridge modules (Intel MMC-1) and there's no way to use those in a desktop motherboard, so one should not purchase a laptop just for its CPU unless you already know for sure what's inside it.
    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  7. #7
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    Here are some pictures showing what the whole CPU module looks like. The CPU is a QFP under the heat sink and the only other chips on the little board are the visible ones that stick out from one side.

    http://i.imgur.com/lCqqWlZ.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/oIoOl0W.jpg

    Dunno what happened with my camera, but the little writing on the underside of the module actually says "486SQFP".

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Absolutely. Many (myself included) have used AMD Athlon XP-M CPUs in desktop machines. The XP-M is arguably a better Socket A alternative than the usual desktop fare.
    Mobile Athlon XP parts basically desktop parts that have been binned to run at a slightly lower TDP for a given clock speed. Some models do have Powernow! tech with unlocked multipliers, but this relies on motherboard support to work properly, which many desktop boards lack.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
    Mobile Athlon XP parts basically desktop parts that have been binned to run at a slightly lower TDP for a given clock speed. Some models do have Powernow! tech with unlocked multipliers, but this relies on motherboard support to work properly, which many desktop boards lack.
    At least it did better than the mobile Pentium 4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
    Mobile Athlon XP parts basically desktop parts that have been binned to run at a slightly lower TDP for a given clock speed. Some models do have Powernow! tech with unlocked multipliers, but this relies on motherboard support to work properly, which many desktop boards lack.
    In my case, it meant soldering a few jumpers to the bottom of the CPU socket.. Easy peasy. Running at a 16X multiplier--for its age, the thing is quite sprightly.

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