Overclocking is the art of squeezing out more performance from your computer electronics as compared to their out-of-the-box performance. This happens when we increase the clock speed or frequency of the processor governing the computer device forcing it to perform more than its default performing standards. Hence, we get the term Overclocking.
The performance of the computer processor is measured by the Architecture and clock speed. Architecture means the way a processor is hardwired to perform and take instructions. You cannot change it. The clock speed means the number of cycles performed by the processor in 1 second. You might have heard of the term “Gigahertz” (GHz) or “Megahertz” (MHz) associated with the processor. That is the unit used measuring the clock speed of the processor. This is the part that is tweaked in order to get more performance.
Everything that has a processor i.e. phone or tablet can be overclocked. But in this article, we will explain the basics of computer overclocking.
Basic Requirements for Overclocking:
Well, not every processor can be overclocked. Many of the Intel processors are have locked Frequency values which cannot be tweaked. But don’t worry, as overclocking has become so common these days Intel has launched an entire series of the processor which are overclocking friendly. You can identify them by the letter K or X at the end of their name. For example i5-8600K, i5-9600K, i9-9900K. In the of case AMD processor, the majority of the processors are unlocked for overclocking.
The budget board does not allow all the relevant controls for overclocking, which will not let you unleash the maximum potential of your processor. So you have to go for motherboards that support overclocking.
Intel – You can go for the Z series chipset as they support overclocking. For example Z390, Z270.
AMD – B series and X series chipset motherboard support overclocking for AMD processors. For example :B350, B450, X470.
3. Cooler System
This is a very important aspect when it comes to overclocking. As we know an increase in the clock speed increases more power consumption hence leading to a rise in the core temperatures. You should not let the CPU temperatures rise above 85C. So you have to go for Liquid coolers like the NZXT Kraken X62 or any other high-end air cooler like the Noctua NH-D15 and apply good quality thermal paste properly in order to nullify such higher heat outputs. You can get away with a
4. Supporting Software
You will also need “Prime95” and “Aida64” to perform a stress test to check the response of every change in the frequency. These applications stress the CPU with artificial loads to maximize the heat and processing output. This will help you avoid any stability issues with your overclock.
While overclocking your processor you have to monitor every change in the temperature. For that, you need software such as “Hwmonitor” or “HWinfo” to keep a check on the temperatures of every hardware in your system such as Processor, Hard disk, GPU.
Here are the links to the above mentioned programs –
How to overclock
Overclocking is way easier today than it was in the old days. You had set hardware jumpers, install clock crystals, literally rip open your motherboard in order to perform overclocking. But today motherboards are available with overclocking as a dedicated feature. You just need to go BIOS in order to overclock the CPU.
There are 2 common ways to overclock your CPU, either change the frequency of the base clock or change the multiplier. The Base clock is usually set at 100 MHz and can be adjusted upwards for better performance. But this is not the place to start because if only the base clock value is increased primarily then it will not let the processor reach its maximum potential. Experienced Overclocking enthusiasts usually start by tweaking the core multipliers and increasing the value by 1x unit in each step. The core multiplier values usually vary from 30x-50x. Keep that in mind that every value is a part of an equation i.e. 100MHz (Base clock value) multiplied 40x(Core multiplier) will give a frequency of 4.0 GHz, so you cannot just increase the frequency of base clock and expect good results as it leads to an early system failure. So take small steps ahead.
Power intake also has to be increased. So start at a safe 1.25V and ramp it up by 0.025 units when required. Perform stress tests with Prime95 and check the rise in the temperature after every step. Do this until the system refuses to start at the increased value. So eventually the values set before the system failure will give the maximum output of your processor.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantages of overclocking are very clear. If done efficiently it can result in a performance increase of up to 30% in some scenarios. It is a must for Pro gamers as they want their hardware to run as fast as possible for increased FPS in the game. Overclocked processors will take less time to render a video clip and perform actions quickly. It’s like a free upgrade for the processor only at a cost of increased power consumption
All this performance is the result of pushing the processor to its maximum limit and running it outside its officially rated parameters so a slight unfavorable change in the power can lead to Short circuit and far worse complete system failure. Wait it gets even worse, most firms will not cover for any damages incurred to an overclocked device, so its a path only for a lone ranger. So only proceed with caution.
The Next level of Overclocking
It started as an effort to get more performance out of what was available, and now overclocking has turned to a pro level competition where overclocking enthusiasts push the limits of the processor to astounding frequencies around 7.4 GHz. This is done by increasing the voltage around 2.0Vwhich produces a massive amount of heat. The cooling is done by using Subzero cooling standards such as liquid nitrogen.
SO guys, this was a short introduction to the complex and amazing world of PC overclocking. You should always remember, overclocking is not always necessary and with today’s automated technologies on motherboard, most overclocking can be tuned automatically. So unless you are fully ready to tinker with the setting and have all the necessary tools for overclocking, you are better off learning and sticking to stock settings.