Heating is a primary concern for any electronic system and the CPU is not safe from it as well. Whenever a CPU heats up more than the optimal temperature, not only is it uncomfortable to use the system, its performance decreases significantly. The manufacturers provide a lot of cooling measures but these are still not enough.
It would be ideal if you were able to lower the CPU temperature even by a few degrees. That’s where Undervolting comes in. If undervolting is done in the optimum amount, then it not only decreases the temperature and power usage but also improves the longevity of the system.
So, let’s learn more about undervolting a CPU and the way to do it for different CPUs.
Table of Contents
What Actually is Undervolting?
Undervolting, as the name suggests, decreases the voltage input to the CPU below its designated value. You might think if the CPU does not get the appropriate power, it might not work at all. But, in reality, undervolting to a certain limit is not only possible but also beneficial to the system.
CPUs are manufactured in bulk in a factory. As these are also electronic chips, each may vary from one other during production. It is not feasible to check voltage and specifications for each. Hence, the manufacturers run a higher stress test for all and provide the values obtained as the designated ones.
So, you have an additional limit to go through for optimizing the available power, clock speed, etc. You might also have heard about overclocking and underclocking which means to change the CPU clock speed. In the same way, you can also undervolt your GPU and VRAM.
If you can undervolt your CPU to an optimum amount, then it can reduce the thermal as well as performance strain on your system. Similarly, you can also improve the battery life of your laptop due to the reduction of heat.
What Are The Advantages of Undervolting?
We have been talking about how Undervolting is awesome from the start. Undervolting does have a few risks as well. If done more and frequently, the system might not open or you may get BSOD errors. However, you can easily revert the settings and you will have your system back to normal.
How To Undervolt a CPU?
You might think that Undervolting, being such an advanced concept, is very difficult to carry out in your system. But, it is actually quite easier to do and you will only require a few tools for it.
You need to subject your CPU to some high stress by benchmark testing in order to note the temperature and core speed values at the highest. Then, you perform the Undervolting and again test the benchmark to find the difference in the values. Finally, you repeat the process till you reach the optimum limit.
Even though the process is simple and almost similar for both AMD and Intel, the tools required are different. So, let’s see the process in detail for both types of CPU.
How To Undervolt an Intel CPU Using Intel XTU?
Intel Extreme Tuning Utility or the Intel XTU is an official software by Intel that you can use to tweak your CPU settings. Since it is software by Intel, Intel XTU is safe as well as compatible with a lot of processors. Also, it packages all the required tools in itself. So, you do not have to rely on any third parties.
You will find the interface of Intel XTU much simpler and can Undervolt your system easily. You just need to follow the instructions as given below.
- Download the Intel XTU software from the official Intel website and install it.
- Search the program using the search bar at the bottom of your desktop and open it.
- On the right side, find a small Wrench icon and click on it.
- Turn on Core Voltage Monitoring.
- Select Stress Test on the left side of the window.
- Enable the CPU Stress Test option and set the time for 5, 10, or 15 minutes on the right side.
- Click the Start Testing option to subject your CPU to a stress test.
- Note down the Package Temperature, Core Voltage, CPU Utilization, and Max Core Frequency after the test. You will need this value to compare the progress at the end.
- Select the Advanced Tuning menu at the left side of the window.
- Under the Core Voltage Offset option, select a value of -0.015 V. Make sure to select a negative value and click Apply.
- Go to the Stress Test menu again and run the testing.
- If your system is stable even after the test, compare the value for Package Temperature and Core Voltage.
- Go to the Advanced Tuning menu again and offset the voltage now by -0.010 V.
- Click Apply and run the stress test again.
- Repeat the steps until your system shuts down abruptly.
- When your system closes, reopen it and set the core voltage to one step higher, choosing a positive value.
- If you are not able to turn on your computer, simply open your system in Safe Mode and uninstall the Intel XTU program. Your system will return to normal.
- Repeat the process now that you have known the optimum value for undervolting your CPU.
See if undervolting helped you gain lower temperature.
You might experience an error of Intel XTU not opening with the error “Virtual Machine Platform enabled.” To solve this, search Turn Windows Feature On or Off in the search bar, uncheck the Virtual Machine Platform box, apply the setting and restart your computer.
How To Undervolt an Intel CPU Using ThrottleStop?
Nowadays, Intel has disabled undervolting for several CPUs using the Intel XTU program. You will find the options to offset CPU voltage greyed out. In such a case, you can utilize another program called ThrottleStop which will definitely be of help to you.
Let’s get straight into the process.
- Download the stable version of the Throttlestop program.
- Run the
.exefile to install ThrottleStop and open the program after installation completes.
- On the lower-left side of the window, check the Disable Turbo box, BD PROCHOT box, C1E box and either SpeedStep or Speed Shift box depending on what is available on your screen.
- Run a stress test on your computer using the TS Bench option at the bottom of the window. Click Start to commence the test.
- Note the value of temperature during the test to compare at the next test.
- Find FIVR option above TS Bench and click on it. A Turbo FIVR Control window will appear.
- Check the Unlock Adjustable Voltage box under the CPU Core Voltage option.
- Decrease the Offset Voltage by dragging the bar to -100 mV at first.
- Similarly, check the CPU Cache option at the top below CPU Core and decrease the Offset Voltage for the Cache as well. Make sure that the offset values for both Core and Cache are same.
- Click on Apply and close the window.
- Run the TC Bench option and subject your CPU to the stress test again.
- Note the Package Temperature and repeat the process while undervolting by -100 mV each time.
- When your computer crashes, restart the system and lower the Offset Voltage to the value just above the one where your computer crashed.
- After setting the optimum value and applying the settings, Click Turn on the home screen.
- Search Task Scheduler in the Window’s search bar and open it.
- Find the Action dialog box at the right-hand side and select Create Basic Task.
- Keep the name ThrottleStop or Undervolt Settings as per your desire and click Next.
- Select Daily and then Start a program on the following windows.
- Click on Browse and find the
ThrottleStop.exefile from the location where you have installed the program.
- Finally, click Next and then Finish to start ThrottleStop every time you boot your computer.
ThrottleStop can also be used to undervolt an AMD CPU and the process is the same.
How To Undervolt an AMD CPU using AMD Ryzen Master?
Although the AMD CPUs are much more power-efficient than Intel ones, the heating is inevitable. You would want to undervolt it as well to salvage the advantage no matter how small it may be. But, sometimes, ThrottleStop won’t be helpful for undervolting an AMD CPU.
In such a situation, you will have to use a program called AMD Ryzen Master that will do the trick. This program is also directly provided by AMD and is safe and efficient. So, let’s start the process with no delay at all.
- Download AMD Ryzen Master from the official AMD website and install it.
- Open the program and click on Reset at the lower-left part of the window to change the values of temperature, core speed, etc. to default.
- Download a benchmark testing application called CINEBENCH 20 and install it.
- Start the CINEBENCH program side by side with Ryzen Master and Click Run to commence the testing.
- Note the value of temperature and CPU core speed during the testing on the window of AMD Ryzen Master software.
- When the benchmark test completes, select one profile from the upper-left part of the window.
- Find the Voltage Control option checked, and find Peak Core(s) Voltage under it.
- Now reduce the value by -0.02 V manually while clicking on the down arrow.
- Run the benchmark test and record the value for temperature.
- Follow the process in the same way as we mentioned above for Intel.
- Set the optimum value for voltage and click Apply & Test.
You will definitely notice some changes in your computer’s heating issue.
How To Undervolt an AMD CPU using BIOS?
AMD CPUs provide much more flexibility than Intel’s. Normally, you cannot change any parameters for the Intel CPU. The feature is locked and it is a painful task to turn those on.
However, you can tweak the settings for undervolting and overclocking of AMD chips using the BIOS. You just have to find the pathway to do it. Although this process is quite tedious, it is worth knowing this method as well. We have provided the way to undervolt an AMD CPU using BIOS below.
- Install a CPU monitoring software such as CPUID HW Monitor and a benchmark tester such as CINEBENCH 20 in your computer.
- Open both CPUID HW Monitor and CINEBENCH together and keep them side-by-side.
- Run the benchmark tester using CINEBENCH and record the vitals such as temperature and Core speed from CPU-Z.
- Restart your computer and repeatedly press F2, Esc, Delete or the respective key for your system to open the BIOS page.
- Find Advanced CPU Configuration or similar and look for AMD Overclocking.
- Under AMD Overclocking, select Precision Boost Overdrive and choose Advanced.
- Set PBO Limits to Manual.
- Select the Curve Optimizer for all cores and change the All Core Curve Optimizer Sign to Negative.
- Click on All Core Curve Optimizer Magnitude and use the value of 25 or 30 mV in it.
- Save the BIOS setting and Open up your system.
- If the system boots successfully, you can test the benchmark again and compare the vitals.
- Repeat the process till you reach an optimum value.
- Save the settings.
You will find your system cooler and faster than earlier.