In this guide, we will be going through a step by step process on how to overclock a CPU.
But let’s start with the basics: What do we mean actually by overclocking?
Overclocking is the process of making Pc Hardware run beyond its factory settings by increasing voltage and clock speeds.
So, can we benefit from overclocking? Yes, we can. When done properly, overclocking can increase the performance of our Pc up to 30%.
Dangers of Overclocking
This is a topic most Pc enthusiasts have worries about. So what are the dangers actually?
- Faster hardware degradation over time
- Burning out of Pc components if too much voltage is being applied
The truth, however, is that these things rarely happen if the overclocker knows what he is doing. Many times the dangers are being overanalyzed and many people are focusing more on the dangers and less on the benefits of overclocking.
Be aware that the process of overclocking is always a hit or miss. All the guidelines that will be explained thoroughly in the next lines are never guaranteed to work. When overclocking, the user should know that he is only responsible for what he is doing.
This might sound scary, but it is the truth. Before overclocking we must be assured that we have all the necessary tools to do it.
So, what do we need in order to overclock?
- The appropriate Cpu Cooler
- The appropriate motherboard
- The appropriate Cpu
- The appropriate Cpu cooler
There are two types of Cpu Coolers: Air coolers & Liquid coolers. Most CPUs’ come with stock air coolers. These type of coolers are not meant for overclocking as they provide not enough cooling power when we ramp up the voltages in order to achieve the overclock.
which are excellent budget aftermarket air coolers? If you want to go into extreme overclocking you will need a Liquid Cooler. Excellent choices would be Corsair’s H110i all-in-one liquid cooler or
Nzxt Kraken x61 liquid cooler. Getting a proper air or liquid cooler is the key to have a stable 24/7 overclock of your system.
2. The appropriate motherboard
There are many motherboard manufacturers who produce motherboards and they work closely together with Intel and AMD, the two companies who compete in the Cpu market. Whenever you see a motherboard with a name of ASUS, GIGABYT, , MSI and ASROCK (the four big Mobo manufacturers) rest assured that their products are reliable and of good build quality.
- In order to overclock an Intel processor, you need either a Z270 or Z170 chipset motherboard, if you are going to buy an Intel Skylake or Kabylake Cpu.
There is also the X99 platform forhigher-end Cpu’s but these are irrelevant right now as Intel is launching their X 299 platform which offers better performance at a better price, compared to its predecessor.
- In order to overclock an AMD Ryzen Processor, you need either a B350 or X370 chipset motherboard. Some worthy motherboards looking at are Asus Prime B 350 -Plus or Msi x 370 Krait Gaming.
3. The appropriate Cpu
When choosing an AMD Ryzen Cpu it is pretty simple. All Ryzen CPUs have an unlocked multiplier which means they can be freely overclocked by the user. Great AMD Cpu’s are Ryzen 1700X 8 core/ 16 thread , Ryzen 1600 6 core/12 thread, and Ryzen 1500 X 4 core/8 thread
In Intel’s case, things are a bit more complicated. When choosing an Intel Skylake or Kabylake Cpu you have to choose a cpu with a -k ending. Those Cpus allow multiplier overclocking. All other cpus are locked and though they can be overclocked with the correct BIOS, it is not recommended to do, because they are not designed to be overclocked by the manufacturer. A few excellent choices on Intel’s side are the Kabylake i7 7700k and i5 7600 k .
Two main things need to be adjusted in order to achieve the overclock. Cpu core voltage & Multiplyer.
Before getting into things we need to actually get into the Bios of our Pc. To get into the bios we simply need to press the F2 or Delete button, before booting into our operating system. The Bios should look something like this:
1) Adjusting Multiplier
After getting into the Bios we need to find the OC tweaker. Note that this may vary depending on which motherboard you own. It can also be called Oc Profile, or something similar. At the Oc Tweaker environment find the multiplyer. this may vary again depending on the manufacturer.
From there you’ll want to up the multiplyer. Multiplyer x base clock (100)=frequency. The more you tweak up the multiplyer the more the frequency goes up. Most Intel Cpu’s should reach 4,4 Ghz easily, which is agood starting point. For AMD 3,7-3,8 should be achievable for all Cpus.
2) Adjusting Voltage
After increasing our multiplyer we need to make sure to increase the voltage to ensure that our Pc will boot up after applying our overclock settings. To do this, head over again to Oc tweaker and find the tab , which says “Core voltage or Vcore”.
Increase the Vcore according to the voltage limits explained below.
In Intel’s case the max core voltage applied should be no more than 1,4 volts. Anything beyond that will decrease the lifespan of your cpu. For a 24/7 overclock of Skylake or Kabylake processors i recommend no more voltage than 1,35 volts.
For Ryzen processors maximum voltages should be no higher than 1,45. For maximum stability and long time overclock 1,4 should be the max voltage applied.
After adjusting the two, click Apply and restart the computer. If you followed my recommendations you should now see the desktop of your computer. Don’t worry if it restarts two times it happens very often as your system is trying to apply the overclock.
If you see the desktop Congratulations! You’ve overclocked your Gpu! Does this mean that you are finished?? Not quite yet! After applying our initial overclock we need to be assured that our system is stable. How do we do that? Well, first of all, we need to download certain tools and programs that will allow us to monitor temperatures and stress test our cpu.
Monitoring and Stress testing
For the final and most important part of our overclock we have to download a utility which will monitor the temps of our cpu. We do this because, after increasing voltage heat increases drastically, too. So we have to be sure that we are within safe temperature limits. I recommend downloading HWinfo64, an excellent utility which lets you monitor everything in your system from Cpu temps and core voltage to Hard drive temps.
Furthermore, we need an utility which will stress test our Cpu and push it to its limits. It is important to stress test our cpu under extreme conditions if we want to ensure the stability of our overclock. To do this i recommend donwloading AIDA64, an excellent utility whcich does exactly that. Open it and go to the stress test option, click on it and let it run for at least 2 hours. If the system does not crash, you probably have a stable overclock. For 100% stability i’ recommend stress testing your system overnight The longer, the better. As your cpu is being stress -tested keep an eye on the temps of the cpu. Don’t worry if you see high temps ,it is perfectly normal.
As long as your cpu does not go over 90oC you should be fine. If your temperatures hover around 70-80oC you are perfectly fine. After having found a stable overclock you can either leave it as it is or increase the multiplyer even more. Just get back into the Bios adjust the multiplyer to a higher number and click restart. Now go back to stress-testing. If the system crashes, you probably need more voltage. Just keep in mind the max voltage recommendations. By doing this over and over again you will eventually find the overclock settings that you are ok with. For every changing of your settings, you have to go over the whole process again. It can be time-consuming but it the only way to ensure stability. Just remember that overclocking is all about experimenting with your Pc and it can be extremely fun, i can tell you that!
When you’ve found your best overclock(there is no perfect overclock, keep that in mind) you can go back into the Bios and save your Overclocking Profile.
By now, you’ve learned how to overclock your cpu effectively and safely! Now it’s time to have fun. Just enter a game and play. Gaming is also a great way to check if your overclock is stable! You can also check the performance of your system prior and after overclocking. Just download Unigine Heaven or Unigine Valley, two great gaming benchmarks which let you monitor the performance of your system. Just let the benchmark run once before overclocking and after overclocking to see performance gains.
If you have any questions or just would like to leave a comment, feel free to do so and I will reply as soon as possible.