Both processors use the same LGA 2011 socket and I REALLY don't want to have to reinstall Windows 7 and all my programs.
In my long, but relatively limited detailed experience with computers, that's almost too much to hope for! It seemed like a reasonable idea, but I didn't want to charge ahead and find out too late that I had to spend FOREVER reinstalling software.
Stop now. Before you can consider changing the processor, you MUST ask the motherboard manufacturer if their BIOS supports the new processor.
To upgrade the processor, it must be socket, BIOS, and chipset compatible.
Now, with regards to Windows 7 booting successfully after such a change, the answer is MAYBE or MAYBE NOT. If you do venture down this path, make sure you have backups of your data, and your program install media. I would guess, at a minimum, you would have to enter the OS product code again to be properly validated/activated.
That's a good point about the BIOS -- I'd not thought of it, but I'll certainly check it out before I do anything with the processors. I do know that the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3) is compatible with the i7-4960 processor. There's also no way I'd do anything with as much potential for disaster as this might have without having the original W7 DVD and backing up everything else. I'm going to let things lie for a bit and see what more I might learn about this before I actually get busy at it.
Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.
Yeah, check to be sure you don't need to update your bios to accomplish any of this. You shouldn't need to reinput your windows key but it's good to write it down to be safe.
There's really not much else to know, you seem good to go. Good luck.
Ok, update the bios using the old processor.
Also, you may want to review this: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/processors/000005576.html How to Apply Thermal Interface Material (TIM)
Feedback for any of you still interested: the processor swap came off so neatly I can hardly believe it! The BIOS update caused a problem until I realized it was related to a scrambled boot priority. Following the processor swap all the drivers loaded automatically amid 2 restarts and Microsoft got involved briefly to verify that things were kosher, but even that was hands off. Once all the activity was over, everything was back to normal with the new processor installed. Amazing! I'm not used to computer related things going so smoothly.
Again, thanks for the help.