To better understand what is overclocking and is overclocking harmful or advantageous to your PC or its components, you’ll have to comprehend the basics of CPU clock speed. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) clock speed pertains to the speed in cycles per second quantified in GHz (Gigahertz) or Mhz (Megahertz) of a CPU. Others call it the CPU frequency or its clock rate. It indicates the overall speed and performance of a CPU in processing data. Hence, the higher the clock speed, the better the performance of a CPU.
Note that many factors affect the overall speed of the CPU — these aspects impact not just its clock speed, but also the performance of the whole system. CPU operates on a range of clock speed varying depending on the intensity or a load of tasks performed.
- 1 Best Overclocking Software in 2020
- 2 The best overclocking software for CPUs
Best Overclocking Software in 2020
Rendering videos of high resolutions or playing PC games will demand more top clock speed; hence the CPU will operate at its maximum rate of speed. Maintaining turbo speed for quite some time will cause overheating of the processor triggering an automatic lowering of the CPU frequency to prevent damage.
So what if you desire playing a game but didn’t meet its PC hardware requirements? Or you want to boost the rendering speed of your video editor but unable to do so? Would you opt to purchase a new motherboard with a faster CPU?
Insights on boosting the CPU through the overclocking procedure
One remedy to boosting CPU speed is through overclocking. Overclocking is defined as the process of increasing the rate of speed (clock rate) of not only a CPU but also a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and RAM (Random Access Memory) beyond their indicated, original speeds.
The harm of this activity is the excessive heat generation of the CPU or the other PC components. So before overclocking your CPU, consider its necessity, damages, and benefits along with the overall performance of your PC.
What are the various requirements of overclocking a CPU? The first step is to check the overclocking capability of your PC hardware components. Since it operates in a system, a change in one part might affect the function of another element. CPUs have different capabilities for overclocking, which you cannot know. There are tons of available technical data and information regarding this on the web.
Some CPUs cannot be overclocked, others can but at certain levels only. Intel offers many CPU capable of being overclocked, such as the K-series processors. However, do not limit your checking into this component alone. CPU and the PC motherboard should be compatible with one another. Hence you should also check the CPU-motherboard compatibility.
Additionally, some motherboards have built-in overclock features that will ease your way. As I’ve said, overclocking will generate excessive heat; therefore, be sure to install/purchase cooling systems such as additional heat fan or heat sinks. These requirements indicate that you cannot merely overclock your CPU with software. The hardware components of your PC set the capability of CPU overclocking.
Can you overclock AMD and Intel processors?
Intel processors permit CPU overclocking only to their K-series processors from Broadwell-E generation to the latest 9th generation Intel Core. In addition to this, you might not want to overclock your Intel CPU since some latest CPU has included the Turbo feature. It is shown just like an interval, for example, Intel Core i5-8300H has a clock speed of 2.3 GHz up to 4 GHz. The latter value is the turbo boost feature included in the processor. It raises the speed of the Intel Core processor to 4 GHz when the system needs it. Unlike CPU overclocking, this feature is automatic and programmed.
On the other hand, All AMD Ryzen processors support overclocking as well as their motherboards. The AMD FX processor series is also fully unlocked. Therefore, AMD CPUs and motherboards are generally more open to overclocking some with built-in overclocking features on their BIOS.
The Intel Core CPU, on the other hand, are not fully accessible to overclocking, but the same function with particular limitation applies to their processors. In my opinion, it is safer to go with the Intel Core Turbo boost feature since the whole system is designed to function normally at that level, unlike AMD processors that are easier to overclock but still possess the harms of overclocking.
Overclocking with CPU-Z
Various software is also needed for overclocking your CPU. You need to gain relevant technical data and information regarding your CPU performance, such as its clock rate, voltage consumption, heat dissipation to form a judgment on the appropriacy of overclocking, and the limit you want to set. CPU-Z is considered as software that accumulates insights regarding the primary components of your PC system and displays it to the user. It only provides you information and is incapable of overclocking your CPU. It is a useful tool for tinkering with your CPU or other system components.
The best overclocking software for CPUs
The best overclocking software for Windows 10 requires to follow a particular procedure. Overclocking is done in your system BIOS (basic input/output system), a built-in software program that functions as a boot-loader that initializes your PC components.
- Head on to your BIOS by clicking a combination of keyboard keys at the startup of your computer.
- Raise your CPU clock speed and its voltage. Reboot your computer and monitor its performance using the CPU-Z.
- Notice if there is an increase in the clock speed of CPU. Overclocking the CPU through the BIOS is the most guaranteed way of overclocking and the easiest one also.
However, there are instances that the BIOS is not working correctly. The inaccurate date and time of your computer are indications that your BIOS might not be working at its reasonable condition. This arises from the battery exhaustion on the CMOS.
Some AMD motherboards are designed for convenience in overclocking the CPU. For Intel CPUs, there is software available for download online called the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU). This software lets you overclock CPU, monitor, and tweak the data on different components of your PC and stress test a system.
This software is compatible with Windows 10. Unlike the BIOS, this software offers an easier to navigate interface and different additional features to look into depending on the Intel processor. CPU overclocking is limited to a few software such as the BIOS and the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility.
In contrary to this, there is numerous software that offers GPU overclocking, such as the MSI Afterburner and the EVGA Precision X 16. The latter is the most used GPU overclocking software for gamers due to its ease of use. However, there are compatibility issues with AMD cards using this software.
The former’s advantage is the absence of compatibility issues with the AMD and NVIDIA graphic cards. It can increase GPU clock speed and adjust the voltage, boosting the overall GPU performance, just like CPU overclocking. Does MSI Afterburner work with Intel? No, it cannot.
MSI Afterburner only works for GPU overclocking. The Intel Integrated GPU cannot be overclocked by it since it is systematically programmed with the Intel CPU, which the software cannot tweak.
Other necessary and relevant software for CPU overclocking
Such software is utilized for monitoring system stability and testing. This software is used to ensure that overclocking will not destabilize the processor. It is commonly known as stress testing. Stress testing or Endurance Testing is a performance test of a system that verifies the system’s stability and reliability under the extreme conditions of the policy, in this case, overclocking the CPU.
The possible system crashes, and errors are determined from the simulation of Stress testing. In overclocking, stress testing is done to monitor the PC temperature and look for possible crashes.
The most commonly used stress testing software for CPU is Prime95 and AIDA64. CPU overclocking should not be done carelessly. Starting with few increments of CPU clock speed and voltage adjustment, conduct with stress testing every after the setting. This is done to estimate the limit of your CPU and to determine the instance of stopping the activity. From there, it is safe to adjust how intense you want to overclock your CPU.
An overview of the context
All in all, overclocking CPU or other PC components is not a beginner’s activity. One should first think about the appropriacy of doing this because nowadays, CPU is a thousand times faster than their old counterparts. Innovations in CPU technology made it possible to perform heavy tasks on PC without causing much heat generation that may harm your computer. The existence of the Turbo Boost feature of Intel Core processors is just an example. Should you still opt to overclock your CPU and what about other components of your PC that are mentioned above as well?