How to Overclock the CPU – Boost Up Your Intel PC in 2 Ways

how to overclock the CPU

Are you frustrated with your computer due to its slow processing? If so, we have set up an ultimate guide on how to overclock the CPU to boost up your slow-processing computer.

What is Overclocking?

Most laptops and computer processor chips run at different speeds; this is known as their clock speed. A higher-level clock speed means a CPU can able to run more operations per second, and thus, your computer runs faster. So, overclocking is a process that forces a computer’s CPU to perform at a speed greater than its maximum recommended speed. It is a procedure for taking more power from your CPU without making any physical modifications to the computer.

5 Safety Measures to Take Before Doing CPU Overclock

Safety Measures to Take Before Doing CPU Overclock

CPU overclocking is helpful in unleashing the CPU’s capabilities, but it includes high temperature and enormous power usage. The processor runs much hotter than normal, and it goes to a point where it not only leads to a system crash but worsens the system’s performance.

Basically, running the CPU outside the standard limit without safety measures also leads to possible damages due to high voltage and massive heat generation. Therefore, it becomes obligatory to take proper precautions before doing CPU overclocking.

1. Checking Compatibility 

Before you perform CPU overclocking, the first thing you need to consider is whether your processor and motherboard support overclocking or not.

Intel and AMD processors with a K prefix or AM3+ socket support overclocking. There are many motherboards created for overclocking, and they will give all the overclocking controls.

2. Determining Safe Temperature and Voltage

As a safety step, you must check the secure temperature and voltage of your CPU. You can check it with BIOS or using any available tool. It will help you to match the temperature change after overclocking.

Depending on the results, you will have to start with the CPU overclock procedure. If your PC is already running at a high temperature, then you should have fixed the overheating problem.

Along with temperature, voltage also rises with overclocking and helps in fast data traffic. So, it is necessary to check the safe voltage of your CPU from the manufacturer’s site before doing so.

3. Perform Stress Testing

It is best to perform a stress test of your CPU for a few hours to determine if the system is stable at the default clock speed. You can use any stress test tool to put all the cores of the CPU at 100% load and inspect how the system holds up. For this, you can use the CPU-Z tool for CPU monitor temperature during stress tests.

4. Assess CPU Performance

You also have to check your CPU’s performance to measure the improvement via overclocking. Prime95 and LinX are the best benchmarking tools available on the internet that can provoke a rendering workload and a CPU performance score.

5. Measuring the Cooling Capacity

It would assist if you calculate the cooling capacity of your CPU cooler. It will determine whether the CPU cooler will be able to deal with the high heat generated in overclocking or not.

Generally, 80 to 95 degrees centigrade is the highest temperature a CPU can handle, and you must make sure the cooler prevents the CPU from reaching that temperature.

How to Overclock the CPU via BIOS

Overclock CPU via BIOS

You can overclock your PC from the BIOS menu, but it is worth noting that this process involves a lot of manual work. Everything from accessing the BIOS to converting the CPU settings for overclocking has to be done annually.

Step 1: Enter the PC’s BIOS

Restart your PC and enter the BIOS menu (to access the BIOS menu, usually by pressing the Delete key, F2 or F10).

Step 2: Increase the CPU Core Ratio

CPU Core Ratio

CPU multiplier decides the speed of the CPU by multiplying the BCLK (base clock) by a certain value. Since the base clock is commonly set to 100MHz, you will be able to boost your CPU’s clock speeds in an increase of 100MHz.

For instance, increasing the multiplier from 35 to 36 will increase the final clock speed from 3.5GHz to 3.6GHz. You can also set different multipliers for individual cores to little extra performance. However, applying the same settings for all cores is the easiest and simplest option.

Step 3: Increase the CPU Core Voltage

CPU Core Voltage

Another factor to play around with when overclocking is the Core Voltage, which represents the voltage that is provided from the motherboard to your CPU. While increasing the core voltage does not directly enhance performance, it provides you with more overclocking headroom to run at high speed. To change the custom Core Voltage, you will need to turn auto mode to manual in the BIOS.

Typically, the default is 1.2V, and it is not recommended to exceed 1.4V unless you are experienced with overclocking. Keep in mind that increasing the voltage will result in higher temperatures and could lessen the CPU’s lifespan. Also, choosing a very high voltage may give too much power to your CPU and permanently damage the chip. So, when dealing around with the core voltage, it is best to increase it slowly and in small increments.

Step 4: Check Stress Testing

After increasing the multiplier and core voltage, use a stress testing tool, like Prime95 or Intel Burn Test, to test the system’s stability thoroughly. If the cooling is good enough and the system is stable, try to increase the clock rate and voltage a little bit more and then run another stress test. Continue this process until you reach the suitable level or the system is no longer stable.

How to Overclock the CPU Using Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

Overclock Intel CPU Using Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

Step 1: Creating a Baseline Performance

  • Download the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) software and install it.
  • Open this XTU software and select any benchmarking option.
  • Basic Tuning: It will run a system test and show you a score.
  • Benchmarking option: it will provide you benchmarking scores and the maximum temperature and frequency that your CPU has gotten to during benchmarking.

Step 2: Overclock the Intel CPU

You can perform CPU overclocking via Intel XTU in two ways: Basic Tuning and Advanced Tuning. For this, you need to adjust the Core Ratio.

  1. Basic Tuning: It is perfect for newbies to adjust their settings. At the very first, you have to do is slowly boost the processor Core Ratio in the interface and the slider by one multiplier. You should also boost the Processor Cache Ratio to set the frequency of your CPU to allow high performance.
  2. Advanced Tuning: It will also let you perform overclocking but with more controls. In this option, you can adjust the Processor Core Ratio according to every by changing its multiplier. You can also change the Cache Ratio to match the multiplier.

Furthermore, you have the option to increase Vcore (Virtual Core) to carry more to the CPU in order to keep up with a higher core ratio. After making all the desired changes, press Apply in the interface. To sustain overclocking, you should increase sliders by one multiplier and then reboot your system to execute a stress test.

Step 3: Checking the Change in Performance

After overclocking your CPU, you have again to perform a benchmark test via the Intel XTU interface. After benchmarking, compare the new score with the previous one and check how much performance gain you have achieved.

Step 4: System Stability Test

In the last, you have to do a system stability test to make sure your overclocked system will continue running the best throughout the procedure. With Intel XTU’s stress test facility, you can stress test the system for multiple durations to determine stability.

Benefits of Overclock CPU

Overclocking can make your PC run faster while you are doing processor-heavy tasks, such as:

  • It is helpful for Photos and video editing.
  • Running processor-hungry software such as Android Studio or Visual C.
  • It is best for playing graphic and AI-heavy games.
  • Running general antivirus software, usually as it scans your system.
  • It is beneficial for mining cryptocurrency, which is often done with specially designed computers.

Downsides of Overclock CPU 

One of the major disadvantages of overclocking is it can damage your processor. But some of the harm to your processor is more myth than fact. Your computer’s BIOS is built to prevent overclocking at a rate where it will result in quick damage to your CPU. If you set your clock settings too high, your system won’t boot up.

That being said, overclocking can reduce the life of your processor in the long run. Your CPU can usually last 20 years or more under normal conditions. Overclocking could reduce that to 10 to 15 years. As the voltage flies through your CPU, it creates heat that, over time, degrades its components.

There is also a possibility of overheating your PC and causing another connection or system to get too hot. It probably would not occur because of just overclocking, but it’s a risk when combined with other processes that occur in your PC and generate heat. Theoretically, you could overclock the CPU to the point where the heat increase exceeds a threshold. But that is possible because your PC was not properly cooled and vented at the start.

Final Words

In this guide, we have shared the complete procedure of how to overclock the CPU via Intel (XTU) or BIOS (basic input/output system). However, it is ideal for increasing the speed of the processor, but over-increasing speeds cause serious damage to your computer.