BEFORE / AFTER
Upgrading your CPU can be a frustrating experience, even though the physical acts of removing an old processor and installing the new one are pretty easy. The more difficult questions to answer are these: When is the right time for me to upgrade a CPU? What processor will give me the best bang for the buck?
Complicating the matter for Intel CPU users is the overwhelming amount of socket formats that may be involved. At last count, Intel had four active socket formats for desktop PCs: LGA775, LGA1366, LGA1155, and LGA1156. While LGA1156 will probably be superseded soon, the other three are likely to be with us for some time–though LGA775 will probably be relegated to budget-oriented machines and, over time, phased out as well.