What Is Overclocking and Should You Do It to Your CPU

What Is Overclocking and Should You Do It to Your CPU?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know what overclocking is. Overclocking is the process of making your computer run faster than it was designed to. Some people do this in order to get more performance out of their system, while others do it for the challenge and bragging rights. So should you overclock your CPU? That’s a question that only you can answer. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of overclocking, and help you decide if it’s right for you!

What overclocking is and what it does to your CPU

Overclocking is the process of making your CPU run faster than its standard clock speed. This can be done by increasing the CPU’s clock rate, or by adjusting the multiplier (which is a number that tells the CPU how fast to run). By doing this, you can make your CPU run faster than it was designed to, which can give you a significant performance boost. However, there are also some risks involved with overclocking, which we will discuss later on.

Now that we know what overclocking is, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of doing it.


  • Can give your system a significant performance boost
  • Can be fun and challenging
  • Can help you bragging rights among your friends


  • Risks damaging your CPU or other components
  • voids your CPU’s warranty
  • Requires extra cooling to prevent overheating
  • Can be time-consuming and difficult to do properly

So those are the pros and cons of overclocking. As you can see, there are some risks involved, but if you’re careful and know what you’re doing, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.

The benefits of overclocking your CPU

Overclocking your CPU can give your system a significant performance boost. If you’re looking for more speed and power, overclocking is definitely something you should consider. It can also be fun and challenging, and who doesn’t like bragging rights among their friends?

There are some risks involved with overclocking, however. You could damage your CPU or other components, voiding your warranty in the process. You’ll also need extra cooling to prevent your system from overheating. And finally, it can be time-consuming and difficult to do properly.

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How to overclock your CPU safely

How to overclock your CPU safely

Now that you know the pros and cons of overclocking, you might be wondering how to do it safely. If you’re interested in giving it a try, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, make sure you have an aftermarket CPU cooler. This is important because your CPU will generate more heat when overclocked, and you need to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.

Second, start with a small overclock and gradually increase it until you reach your desired speed. This will help prevent your system from overheating and damaging your components.

Finally, keep an eye on your temperatures and make sure they don’t get too high. If they do, back off your overclock and make sure your system has proper ventilation.

Overclocking can be a great way to get more out of your CPU, but it’s not for everyone. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you decide whether or not to do it.

The different ways to overclock your CPU

There are a few different ways to do it, and the method you choose will depend on your goals and level of experience.

If you’re new to overclocking, we recommend starting with a simple overclocking tool like AMD’s Ryzen Master or Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility. These tools will let you increase your CPU’s clock speed without having to make any changes in the BIOS.

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If you’re looking for more control, you can try adjusting the multiplier in the BIOS. This is a more advanced method, and we don’t recommend it for beginners.

Finally, if you’re an experienced overclocker, you can try adjusting the voltage and frequency multipliers in the BIOS. This is the most extreme method of overclocking and should only be attempted by those who know what they’re doing.

Overclocking can be a great way to get more out of your CPU, but it’s important to do it safely. We recommend starting with a simple overclocking tool and gradually increasing your CPU’s clock speed until you reach your desired level of performance.

Tips for getting the most out of overclocking your CPU

Now that you know how to overclock your CPU, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of it.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of overclocking your CPU:

  • Make sure you have an aftermarket CPU cooler.
  • Start with a small overclock and gradually increase it until you reach your desired speed.
  • Keep an eye on your temperatures and make sure they don’t get too high.
  • If they do, back off your overclock and make sure your system has proper ventilation.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that you get the most out of your CPU when overclocking it.

Tips for getting the most out of overclocking your CPU

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Should you overclock your CPU?

The answer is no for the vast majority of PCs made today. Your PC probably doesn’t need to be overclocked for it to work well, and unless you want to do it just to say you can (or to learn how), it’s usually not worth the risk or work. But if you’re careful and take what you’re doing seriously, you can only benefit from the process. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what to do.

Theoretically, you have nothing to lose as long as you don’t damage your CPU in a way that makes it last less than the amount of time you’ll be using it. But that’s a big if. This is true only if you don’t also plan to sell the CPU.

If you want to play around, you can always try overclocking an old computer or one you don’t care about, or you can make small changes to your CPU. But try not to risk your current rig, or you may end up wishing you hadn’t!

Keep in mind that some CPUs are made to be overclocked, so keep that in mind if you want to overclock. One example is the Intel K series.

Also, before you start messing around with overclocking, it’s best to buy an aftermarket CPU cooler that will keep your PC cool. Overclocking your CPU will almost certainly raise its temperature, which is where the danger lies.

What do you get when you overclock?

When you overclock and add more voltage, you get more performance, but you also add more heat to the system, which means that your cooling system will have to work harder. If it has to work harder, your fans will probably try to make up for it by working harder as well. In short, more volts mean more noise and heat. If you don’t have enough cooling power to do this, you’re probably going to have problems.

It’s also not as easy as just adding more voltage and frequency because both silicon and cooling have limits to what they can do. Most processors, including those in CPUs and GPUs, have a TJMax, or maximum thermal limit, of about 100 degrees Celsius. It’s very rare for a processor to have a TJMax of more than 100 degrees Celsius. Once they reach that point, the processors will either shut down or slow down to reduce the heat load on them and keep the system from getting damaged. Most of the time, they might just wreck your whole rig.

On top of your thermal limit, you also have to think about the silicon lottery and your silicon limit. Every processor is different. You can take 50 Intel Core i9-9900Ks, AMD Ryzen 7 2700Xs, or Nvidia RTX 2080 Tis, and each one will overclock differently, reach a different max clock speed, and act in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. Some parts can’t overclock as high as others, and the more voltage you add, the more likely it is that you’ll cause instability. This can lead to system crashes, glitches in games, or even a drop in performance, even if the overclock seems stable.

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This is because when the processors are made, there are flaws in the silicon that they are made of. But you can’t know what you’ll get ahead of time unless you buy something called a “pre-binned chip.” Companies usually do this for you, with the most expensive GPUs using better clocking processors (hence the higher price). Some companies will also sell you pre-binned CPUs that are guaranteed to hit a certain speed, but they usually cost a lot more than the stock component.

What do you get when you overclock


How Much Does Overclocking Reduce Lifespan?

How bad it is for your hardware depends on how hard you push it and how often you do it. If you’ve used the boost technology recommended by the manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about breaking your hardware or making it last less long. It’s a totally safe and stable OC.

Even if you crash a few times during a manual OC while you’re trying to find the stable zone, it shouldn’t hurt the life of your hardware too much. By the time you see the effects of overheating, the target part will probably be out of date.

A part that is often overclocked to very high speeds won’t be so lucky. Its lifespan will go from 5-10+ years to 3-4 years because of the extra voltage and heat.

Should you use XMP?

If you paid more for memory that can handle faster speeds, you should definitely use that to your advantage by turning on XMP. Manufacturers test XMP-enabled RAM very carefully before putting it on the market, and the boosted speeds are completely stable. Your build won’t be more stable if you don’t use XMP.

Also, it’s only worth using XMP if your CPU and motherboard can support the boosted rate since RAM can only run as fast as your hardware lets it. So, whether XMP is used or not, nothing will change.

How Can I Tell if My PC Is Overclocked?

Check your settings in the BIOS to see if your computer is overclocking by accident. During the booting process, you’ll need to press a key to get into the BIOS. Most of the time, it’s the “F2” or “Delete” key, but not always. During the boot process, your computer should show you a message with the correct key.

When you open the BIOS, look for the “Base Clock,” “Multiplier,” and “CPU VCORE” sections. All of them should be set to defaults. If even one isn’t, you’ve been overclocking and didn’t even know it.

Is There a Downside to Overclocking?

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Uncle Ben, Spiderman’s guardian (not the sauce guy), said. He wasn’t talking about computers, but this has a lot to do with the bad things that can happen when you overclock.

The one that scares us all the most is the chance of breaking our expensive equipment. If you go too far with your manual tinkering, instability doesn’t end when you crash once in a while. It can make the device last less long or even break it.

Overclocking is also very hot, which is another thing that could be better. Put on shorts, a t-shirt, and open a window because as your system uses more power, it pumps out heat like it’s going out of style.

Another problem for the overclock wizard is that most of the time, you need more advanced, more expensive parts to control this extra power, and we’re not just talking about coolers. You need OC-ready motherboards, CPUs, GPUs, and RAM to really experiment these days.

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Should You Really Overclock?

You don’t need to overclock very often, but it can be hard to pass up all the untapped power in your gear. If there’s enough headroom, it’s easy to feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth unless you do some fancy voltage boosting, but if you don’t want to, you’re not missing out on anything that will change your life.

If your system can’t play a certain game at more than 30 frames per second, we’d say that an overclock is a must. Getting the last bit of power out of your hardware can help you put off upgrading until you’ve saved enough money to do so comfortably.

If the power of your parts doesn’t match up, you might also want to do a little overclocking. Say, for example, you have a GTX 1070 or 1080 and an i5-4670K. Because it can’t keep up, this CPU will slow down the frames made by the GPU. With a careful overclock, you can speed up the CPU’s clock speeds and cut down on wasted frames.

Aside from that, overclocking is more of a separate hobby that fans can enjoy and use to test the quality of their parts in a different way.

Does overclocking make FPS go up?

Almost always, the goal of overclocking any part of your system is to increase the average frames per second. How much overclocking affects frames per second depends on which part you are working on and how far you can push it.

RAM has the smallest effect on frames per second, but it can help smooth out a creative workflow that involves a lot of rendering, designing, and editing of visuals. It will also make your PC feel quick and responsive when you switch between tasks. If the only reason you want to overclock your RAM is to speed up your frame rates, you should only see a small percentage increase, since CPUs and GPUs are usually the main areas of focus when it comes to tweaking performance through overclocking.

Even though it can give you a little boost in CPU-intensive games, keep in mind that if there is no bottleneck, overclocking your CPU is less likely to have the effect you want on your frames per second. On the other hand, the GPU is a great piece of hardware for letting out your inner mad scientist. The results will be different for each card and depend a lot on your other hardware, but you can expect your frames per second to go up by up to 15%.


Overclocking is considerably less risky than it used to be. Still, it takes substantial knowledge and a lot of patience — and it’s not an exact science, either. Your results can vary widely depending on your skill level, materials, and hardware.

While all this added performance can come with some risk, for those that like to push the edge of performance, the world of overclocking can add some fun and excitement to your computing life. Once you learn how to tweak your systems settings and run the necessary stability tests, you may find the overclocking well worth the effort.

Overclocking is exciting but dangerous, as you could brick your processor. Consider your system and budget before overclocking, and learn about the right tools and hardware management to take on such a project.

Overclocking won’t completely transform your CPU’s performance. The main reason to overclock is to improve applications that take up a lot of computing speed.

A Picture of Levi Alston
Levi Alston is a student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is currently studying computer science, and he plans to minor in business. Levi enjoys spending his free time on PC and internet forums, where he can talk about anything and everything with friends. He is a witty guy with a friendly demeanor, and he loves making people laugh.