To get more performance from your CPU, you can increase its core clock and see real improvements in how your computer works. However, you need to be careful and work slowly as you increase the power and speed of the CPU so that you don’t damage your computer.
While there are other ways to overclock your computer components, one of the most common and valuable is within BIOS.
What Exactly Does It Mean to Overclock Your CPU?
When you overclock your CPU, you increase its speed so that it can do work more quickly. This increase in processing power improves your computer’s capabilities. The clock speed of your CPU determines how fast it can do work; when the clock speed is higher, the CPU can process more quickly.
When a company makes a CPU, they guarantee a certain speed which is the advertised speed of the chip. However, not all chips are made precisely the same because of microscopic differences in their build. Sometimes a CPU is capable of more speed than the manufacturer promises. It’s just impossible to know what it can do before you try.
When you overclock, you deliberately tell the CPU to work faster. You adjust its settings so that it tries to work at a higher frequency, and if it is capable of doing so, you may be able to keep and use that higher frequency. However, it truly depends on whether you can create a stable overclock.
The goal of any overclock should be twofold: performance and stability. One without the other doesn’t work.
Is It Dangerous to Overclock My CPU?
Overclocking your CPU in BIOS does come with certain risks. If you push the overclock too high, you can damage the chip as it attempts to perform at unsafe levels. The additional heat generated by the overclocking can also be an issue.
To mitigate these dangers, ensure you have enough cooling in your machine before you sit down to overclock. Water-cooling, premium fans, and lots of airflows are all helpful for overclockers.
What Are the Benefits of Overclocking With Your BIOS?
While you can do a quick overclock using specific programs, there are reasons to do it via your BIOS. For one thing, the overclock is done outside the operating system and doesn’t rely on a program. Another reason is that overclocking in the BIOS gives you more control and options.
While the process is a bit more complicated, learning how to do it if you want to overclock your CPU is well worth your time.
Can Any CPU Be Overclocked?
Not all CPUs can or should be overclocked. If you aren’t sure whether yours suits the task, check with your manual or the manufacturer. For example, certain Intel CPUs are prohibited from overclocking because the function you use to increase the clock speed is locked on them.
Things to Consider Before Overclocking
Before you overclock your CPU, there are a few terms that it’s helpful to understand. These each play a factor in how you manage your overclock.
- Manufacturers multiply the base clock rate with the core ratio to determine the actual clock speed of the processor. The clock rate is how fast each core can work, and the core multiplier has to do with the number of available cores. The core ratio is what you adjust in BIOS to increase the power of your CPU.
- The voltage determines how much power runs through the card. This is something you want to be very careful with. Turning up the voltage too high could damage your chip or cause serious heat issues. In BIOS settings, it might be referred to as voltage or vCore.
- A benchmark test measures your computer’s performance and scores you depending on how well your system did. A benchmark test before and after you overclock helps you measure performance improvement.
- A stress test puts a component of your system under heavy load to see how it performs when forced to work at its full potential. Stress testing your system after overclocking your CPU is necessary because it helps determine whether the changes are stable. If they aren’t, you may need to lower the settings, so the computer doesn’t crash during high usage.
How to Overclock a CPU in BIOS?
- Enter your BIOS. The method you use will vary depending on your motherboard manufacturer. Watch the screen during startup to view the key you need to press to enter. For example, on my PC, I press F5. Once the Windows screen appears, you’ve gone too far and need to start again by restarting your PC.
- Search for your advanced settings. Each BIOS is different, and not every option has the same name. On mine, I press F7 to access Advanced Settings. It should be visible if you read through the options on your BIOS screen.
- Look for a setting that includes options for overclocking or tuning. Some Asus BIOS setups call the setting AI Tweaker.
- Change your overclock settings to manual. Sometimes this option may not be available. If your BIOS has an automatic CPU tuner, you can also choose to use that instead.
- Adjust your CPU core ratio. It isn’t written in the same way that you might think when you think of clock speed because this is what you multiply with the base clock speed to get the total clock speed. If you wanted the final overclock to perform at 5.1 GHz, type 51.00 unless instructed otherwise.
- Save your settings and restart your computer. If it starts, you can perform a stress test on your CPU to see whether the overclock is stable.
- If the computer doesn’t restart correctly, you set the CPU core ratio too high, or there isn’t enough power on the chip to perform at that level. You can adjust the voltage to see whether increased power flow fixes the problem.
- Look for your CPU voltage adjustment and add 0.05 V to the number it is set at. You don’t want to increase this number quickly at all.
- Save your settings and restart your computer.
- If the machine starts, try to stress test the CPU to see whether it performs correctly. You can leave the CPU with those settings if it’s stable. If it isn’t, you need to go back into your BIOS and lower the overclock or increase the voltage.
- Continue changing the settings and tweaking them as needed until you find a stable overclock.
Tips for Overclocking Your CPU
You can do a few things to make overclocking your CPU safer and more successful.
- You should only increase the core clock a bit at a time. If you start at 41, only increase it to 42 before restarting and checking for stability. Going too far too fast increases your chances of CPU damage.
- Exercise just as much caution with the voltage. You must keep the increases low and not push them too far. Increasing your voltage can increase the temperature of your chip very quickly, and you need to have excellent cooling to push it up. In general, you never want to go over 1.4, and it’s better to keep it lower if you can.
- There are different kinds of stress tests. It’s essential to choose one that’s meant for your CPU so that it’s putting pressure on that rather than another component.
- Use a live temperature monitor on your CPU while testing your overclock and voltage changes. If the heat starts to get higher than the manufacturer recommends, lower the voltage and the overclock if necessary.
- Not every motherboard has options for overclocking. If you can’t find the options to adjust the performance of your CPU, check with your motherboard manufacturer to see whether it’s a feature. If not, you may have to choose a different motherboard as well.
- Every CPU and motherboard is different than others. You won’t necessarily be able to get the values at the same level even if you have the same parts. It’s imperative to experiment with your voltage and clock speed slowly because of these different capabilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Overclocking My CPU Increase FPS?
If you can set up a stable overclock, it will probably increase your frames per second. The reason for this is that your computer can give you more performance. You’ll notice a vast difference in CPU-heavy games that rely less on the GPU.
Where Can I Find the Correct Values for My CPU Overclock?
You can’t get the correct values from anyone because it’s different for each chip. You have to experiment with it to determine precisely what will be stable for your system. If you copy someone else’s numbers, you risk damaging your CPU. Your system may also be unstable. If you take it up a step at a time, you’ll have better results.
What Are Some Other Ways to Overclock My CPU?
You can also overclock your CPU using an autotune feature available on some motherboards. If you’re not comfortable experimenting with your CPU and changing the numbers manually, consider looking for a motherboard with this feature.