The GPU and the CPU are the two sections of a PC that can be reliably overclocked. Overclocking CPUs is common, but does it imply you should?
Overclocking your devices has a number of well-known drawbacks, including increased heat and the potential for long-term harm.
Overclocking your CPU has both advantages and disadvantages that we’ll discuss in the following paragraphs. By the time you’ve finished, you should know whether or not you should try to overclock your computer.
Benefits Of Overclocking Your CPU
Overclocking the CPU is a rather common practice. It doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t any dangers associated. As a rule, overclocked CPUs are noisier, consume more power, and degrade more rapidly over time.
Because of this, it is possible to get far higher performance out of your CPU by doing it correctly. It’s possible to get away with buying a cheaper CPU than you need and overclocking it yourself if you’re an expert. It’s possible that you’ll end up saving money in the long run if your overclocked CPU lasts as long as expected.
Aside from that, it’s a risk.
Just as quickly as you can save, you can also lose money with this method. In the event that you accidentally destroy the CPU you just purchased, you’ve wasted your money.
Overclocking your CPU is, of course, a great way to show off to your friends and family. Doing it correctly when overclocking is a difficult task that can go horribly wrong in a hurry.
Drawbacks Of Overclocking Your CPU
Overclocking your CPU comes with its own set of downsides. There are serious consequences if an inexperienced user overclocks his or her CPU to dangerous levels.
The best you can hope for is that your computer will continue to boot indefinitely. Fortunately, it’s a simple matter to correct this. Your computer can be damaged if you don’t take precautions.
Furthermore, overclocking your CPU isn’t a simple process. Increasing your processor’s speed isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds. Some motherboards come with software that makes things a little easier. Power draw and consumption, as well as fan speed and other parameters, are frequently required considerations.
Furthermore, you should be aware that increasing the speed of your CPU may not be as beneficial as you think. CPU overclocking may be advantageous if you have an older, less powerful CPU or use CPU-intensive programs.
Most recent PC games don’t require additional CPU power to run smoothly. Overclocking the GPU would be more beneficial for these PCs.
Make sure to keep in mind that overclocking your CPU will void its warranty at the same time.
What is overclocking?
A processor’s rated speed can be exceeded by overclocking it. In hertz, clock speed is the number of CPU cycles that may be completed in a second. In other words, a 4GHz processor can do 4 billion clock cycles in a second.
A CPU’s clock speed does not directly reveal how many instructions it is currently processing, but it does provide some context. A 4GHz processor, for example, may perform more operations per second than a 3.5GHz processor, while all else is equal. However, this is not always the case due to factors such as processor design, age, and manufacturer, but it is a solid general rule of thumb and simplifies the goal of overclocking. Overclocking helps you to achieve faster clock rates, which in turn allows your processor to perform more tasks per second.
A dedicated GPU can be overclocked for better graphics performance instead of the main processor. Overclocking a processor has unpredictable consequences because there is no hard and fast rule for how quickly it may be cranked up. This complicates your decision about whether or not to overclock.
Overclocking: Do you need it?
Inexperienced PC users may find it difficult and expensive to overclock their systems. Additionally, you may need to change voltage settings, fan rotation speeds, and other delicate essentials.
When it comes down to it, do you need to overclock your computer?
It all depends on the situation. If you play a lot of games, overclocking can make a major difference. In games, the CPU is best known for handling A.I. and NPCs, making a fast processor key for grand strategy titles like Civilization VI and simulation sandboxes like Hitman 3.
It’s not just A.I. that your CPU can handle, though. In many games, spare cores are used to do simulations, ranging from fabric to explosions, and some games even offload audio processing to the processor. As the number of cores in consumer processors continues to rise, this type of division of labor is becoming more widespread.
It’s possible that overclocking will have a significant impact in CPU-intensive games like Hitman 3, but there’s no guarantee. At lower resolutions, the GPU isn’t as taxed, therefore performance gains are more pronounced in games. Overclocking doesn’t make much of a difference as resolutions rise because the GPU becomes more and more CPU-bound. Cyberpunk 2077, on the other hand, does not benefit much from an overclocked CPU in terms of performance.
To list a few non-gaming uses for overclocking, it includes 3D modeling, video editing, and image editing. Basically, an overclock will help any CPU-intensive program, even if it’s only somewhat.
Other applications follow the same rules as gaming. For some applications, having more cores is preferable to having a faster one.
It’s easy to wonder if overclocking is even worthwhile in the face of such wide variation. And it isn’t for many people. You can expect a bump in performance from a moderate overclock that you can run all day long, but it may not be worth the effort. Moderate overclocks are usually ineffective unless you have high-end components.
However, it’s essentially a free show. It’s a no-brainer to take use of a processor’s increased power if it can run 5 percent faster. It’s also possible to get large performance boosts even at low overclocking levels if you play a lot of CPU-intensive games or utilize HandBrake.
While overclocking isn’t necessary for most programs, it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re running any that could profit from it. But you shouldn’t push it. An overclocking session that is too extreme can diminish the life expectancy of your components and decrease system stability.
Your warranty may also be voided if you do this. In the case of EVGA, the normal warranty covers overclocking. Overclocking protection policies are available from some companies, such as Intel. Although modest overclocking isn’t all that dangerous, you should be aware that it may void any warranties you currently have.
How much faster are we talking?
Self-overclocking processors are commonplace in today’s computers. From the base clock to the boost clock, Intel and AMD’s CPUs are able to run at a variety of speeds. The sky is the limit when it comes to how much quicker you can make your CPU with DIY overclocking.
That is, in the best of conditions. Increasing the clock speed of your CPU will cause it to overheat. If you can keep your CPU at a reasonable temperature, you’ll be able to go even further with your overclock. Overclocking the 2.9GHz Threadripper 3990X to 4.5GHz is doable with a specialized setup and liquid nitrogen cooling of the processor. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the results obtained using an ordinary consumer chip in a standard case with an ordinary case cooler are more plausible.
There is no one-size-fits-all rule for how far you can push your processor. However, if you want to use the overclock on a daily basis, the benefits will be negligible. 100 to 300Hz faster with proper cooling is the norm for most systems. Trying to figure out which processor is best? See our comparison of AMD and Intel processors.
What do I need?
Who wants to experiment with overclocking? What level of detail are you open to discussing? To help you assess the degree of effort, here are some essential tools.
- The correct computer or CPU: You should get a CPU that allows overclocking, such as an Intel K-series or AMD’s latest Ryzen CPUs. Don’t only base your decision on the processor; also consider whether or not you’re using an overclock-friendly motherboard. Some of the following utilities may be replaced by software included with newer modding-friendly CPUs and motherboards. As a last point, be sure to examine the system specifications before purchasing a pre-built PC that claims to allow overclocking.
- It is possible to examine the clock speed, voltage use, and other critical tracking elements by using data display software such as CPU-Z. While fiddling, using one of these tools will be a lot easier.
- Software for stress testing: To assure the safety and stability of your overclocked processor, you must conduct a stress test. AIDA64, Prime95, LinX, and AIDA64 can all help, however some overclockers like to run many programs and compare results. Processor temperatures can be monitored with tools such as RealTemp.
- In order to get serious about overclocking your PC, you’ll need a more efficient cooling system. That might include a larger processor heatsink and more cooling fans in your case.
- Having a laptop or smartphone on hand is a necessity when you’re just starting off with overclocking.
How long will it take
In the end, how much time you’re willing to put into overclocking is the most crucial factor. Overclocking your computer is as simple as downloading the correct software and making a few minor adjustments. This, on the other hand, may be far more troublesome than it’s worth in the end.
Research is necessary before an overclock can be done safely. In some cases, extra items, such as a larger cooler, may be needed.
After completing the necessary pre-work, it will only take an hour or so to begin implementing basic tests, download the appropriate stress test, and adjust the CPU. The stress test, which you should do after making any changes, should take a few hours to complete because it monitors temperature and activity for stability.
To get an overclock, you don’t need the overclock. A lot of time and effort will be required to get it right. Once you have a steady overclock, you can attempt to push the component any farther if you so desire or are able. It’s not uncommon for a moderate overclock to be completed in only a few hours for some people. It may take weeks or months for some people to see results.
For AMD CPUs, an automated overclocking tool like the 1usmus Clock Tuner can be used to greatly reduce overclocking time.
It all boils down to your level of commitment. In spite of the importance of preparation, you don’t have to keep up with your processor’s overclock after you have reached a stable overclock.
What are the results of overclocking?
You’re not just getting better performance when you overclock and boost voltage; you’re also making the system hotter, which means your cooling system has to work harder. In order to make up for the extra labor, your followers will likely put in even more effort. To put it simply, higher volts results in more heat, which in turn results in louder noise. You’re going to have problems if you don’t have enough cooling capacity.
Increasing voltage and frequency won’t solve the problem because silicon and cooling have their own physical restrictions. As a general rule, the TJMax (maximum thermal limit) of most processors (including those found in CPUs and GPUs) is in the range of 100 degrees Celsius. In order to lessen their thermal burden and avoid system damage, CPUs will either shut down or scale back their frequency once they reach this point. A lot of the time, they’ll just blow out your entire computer system.
Besides your thermal limit, you also have to take into account the silicon lottery and a possible silicon limit. One hundred and fifty Intel Core i9-9900K processors or AMD Ryzen 7 2700Xs or Nvidia RTX 2080 Tis are all different, and each one will overclock in its own unique way and behave differently. The more voltage you add, the more likely you are to have system crashes, artifacts in the game, or even a decrease in performance despite what appears to be a stable overclock.
This is due to manufacturing flaws in the silicon used to construct the CPUs. Pre-binned chips, on the other hand, are the only method to know exactly what you’ll be getting. To get the best performance out of your computer system’s processors, you may get pre-binned, pre-clocked CPUs from various businesses, which are normally more expensive than the standard CPUs, but they’re worth it in the long run.
So, why do it?
Because you’ll be able to get even more out of your system. Even a stock Nvidia graphics card can gain 10-15% more performance with a little help on the voltage side of things and, of course, adequate cooling. It’s not uncommon to see a 20% increase in your processor’s performance, and the more cores you have, the greater this effect is likely to be. A 0.8 GHz boost in overall processor speed can be achieved by overclocking four cores from 3.4 GHz to 3.6 GHz. Ten cores can be overclocked by two gigahertz, from 3.4 GHz to 3.6 GHz. You get the gist of it.
As a bonus, if you’re aiming to attain the 60fps mark and your system is lacking in performance, this is a perfect solution. With a 15% overclock, you can go from 51 fps to 60 fps on that GPU. I think that’s a great deal. Reduce rendering times and boost in-game performance at high frame rates (more than 200 fps) by overclocking your CPU.
On the whole, overclocking is disabled on laptops. Some models will allow you to accomplish this. For the most part, those with an Intel Core i7 or i9 processor, although it’s not always worth it. With the higher temperatures and smaller form factors of many laptops, overclocking is a risky endeavor. You are significantly less likely to experience the same performance gains as on a desktop because the system does not have enough cooling potential to handle all that extra heat.
Even if you really want to, it’s not worth it a lot of the time merely because of the noise. Laptop fans are already obnoxiously noisy, thus increasing the voltage won’t help you play games any better.
It’s also worth noting that a large number of modern components automatically overclock. All GeForce cards include a feature known as GPU Boost, which automatically applies additional voltage and clock speed to a power or temperature target.. To put it another way, your GPU’s frequency will rise until it reaches a particular temperature.
To that purpose, AMD Ryzen CPUs include a function called XFR (extended frequency range) built into the architecture that analyzes temperatures and increases clock rates as necessary.
Is it all worth it?
With Overclocking, you have to understand a lot of things and there is a danger involved. Regardless, it’s worth a shot at least once. As well as improving your system’s performance, it brings you closer to the hobby and provides a better understanding of how things function in your system. There are many advantages to utilizing CineBench R15 to compare your findings with, including the fact that this is a great way to see just how well your components can perform.
Cooling and purchasing overclockable components come at an additional cost, but that’s true of any pastime. That side of things is best avoided unless you’re working in a professional environment where the 10-15% performance gains can save you 15% of the time it takes to render a film for example. If you’re interested in that side of things, you’re better off staying away.
Should You Overclock?
The answer is no for the great majority of current PCs. Overclocking your PC isn’t necessary unless you want to show off your abilities (or learn how) or if you just want to learn how to overclock your system. But if you are diligent and take your work seriously, you will only benefit from this process, so the decision is up to you in the end.
There is nothing to lose if you don’t permanently damage your CPU’s lifespan, so long as it doesn’t fall below what you’ll be using it for. But that’s a big if! This only applies if you have no intention of reselling the CPU.
Overclocking is a skill that can only be learned via experience.
If you want to experiment, you can overclock an older computer or one you don’t care about, or you can tweak your CPU. Don’t put your existing setup at risk, or you can end up kicking yourself later.
If you’re planning on overclocking, keep in mind that some CPUs are made to be overclocked. One example is the Intel K series.
It’s also a good idea to acquire an aftermarket CPU cooler before you start overclocking, because overclocking your CPU will almost certainly boost its temperature, and this is where the danger lies.
Is it good to overclock CPU?
When it comes to overclocking, it isn’t necessary, but if you have apps that benefit from it, there isn’t a good reason not to use it. But you shouldn’t push it. An overclocking session that is too extreme can diminish the life expectancy of your components and decrease system stability. Your warranty may also be voided if you do this.
Does overclocking ruin your CPU?
As a result of overclocking a computer’s processor, motherboard, and RAM, it is possible to harm these components…. Running the machine for at least 24 to 48 hours to check whether it locks up or experiences any form of instability is the best way to get overclocking to work.
Does overclocking reduce CPU lifespan?
Although overclocking does shorten component lifespans if appropriate cooling and no additional voltage are added, the loss in lifespan is so minimal that your CPU will be obsolete by the time it dies regardless of whether or not you overclock it.
The risks of overclocking have decreased significantly in recent years. But it’s not an exact science and takes a great deal of experience and understanding. There is a broad range of variation in the outcomes you can get based on your knowledge, the quality of your materials, and the hardware you use.
Overclocking may be a lot of fun, even if it comes with some risk, for those who prefer to test the limits of their computer’s performance. It’s possible that you’ll come to appreciate the benefits of overclocking once you’ve learned the proper techniques and performed the essential stability tests.
As fun since it is to overclock your processor, it’s also risky, as you could end up with a dead processor. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before taking on an overclocking challenge.
Increasing the clock speed of your CPU isn’t going to have a dramatic impact on its performance. Overclocking is mostly used to enhance programs that require a lot of processing power.
If you’re curious in what it’s like to overclock a CPU, check out our step-by-step instructions.