The purpose of this article is to provide a beginners guide to overclocking your PC. Overclocking your CPU is a nice way to gain some extra performance out of your system. Not every processor is a good fit for overlocking and all processors and motherboards need to be unlocked. Some processors overclock better than others. This is due to the manufacturing process and all processors not being created equal. There are some cases where overclocking can achieve 4.2Ghz and others where they can reach 5 Ghz. It really comes down to a draw of luck. To find a good processor for overclocking visit What is a good processor for gaming in 2022? (goodtechmaster.com)
Is Overclocking Your CPU Dangerous?
Overclocking does present some extra risk. It’s a good idea to have a liquid cooling system as overlocking increases heat to the processor. The heat of the processor is not to exceed 80 degrees Celcius (175 degrees Fahrenheit). The added heat that will come with overclocking does pose some risk and some long-term wear and tear. Overclocking can also increase the risk of getting a Blue Screen and having the system crash.
There is also some risk in wiping your BIOS during the process, but that can be mitigated. As a disclosure, Goodtechmaster.com is not responsible for any damages resulting in you overclocking your PC as a result of reading this post. This is only a beginners guide to overclocking.
Before You Overclock
Before you overclock your CPU, make sure that you have a copy of your BIOS on a flash drive. You can get this from your motherboard manufacturer’s website. You will need to copy the contents of the zip file into the root directory of a newly formatted USB drive. If needed, you can use this to restore your BIOS.
It is also a good idea to dust out the inside of your PC as dust tends to generate a lot of heat. You can use an air compressor or canned air but be careful with both. Air compressors may contain moisture or oil, which can get into the airflow and onto your equipment. The high pressure of some air compressors can be too much for your PC hardware and cause damage to components. Canned air may be a good option, but be careful when buying online because cans can be deceptively small, have high shipping costs or added chemicals that may be irritants.
Benchmark Current Performance
You will also want to benchmark your current performance capabilities. Both Cinebench and AIDA64 can be downloaded to do this. You can find Cinebench at Maxon.net or in the Microsoft Store. Once you download Cinebench, start the test and let it run for either 10 minutes or an hour. An hour will give you the most accurate results, while 10 minutes will give you a good indication of where you are at performance wise. You will need to record your score. You will also need CPUID’s HW Monitor, which you can download at their website. HW Monitor will be used to document temperature of the CPU. The default temperature should be between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius (95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Beginners Guide to Overclocking Setup
After you have documented your current CPU stats, your next step is to restart your PC and get into the BIOS (press Delete key on start-up screen). Depending on your motherboard manufacturer and BIOS firmware you will see different options. Your goal in the BIOS is to increase the clock speed of the CPU.
In the BIOS, navigate to OC or Overclock Settings.
This can also be found in CPU settings >> Advanced Frequency >> CPU Clock Ratio or under CPU Multiplier Settings, or other name depending on your BIOS version. The Clock Ratio should be set to Auto. The way that overclocking works is that the CPU functions at 100 MHz multiplied by the Clock Ratio. The BIOS will assign a default number to the Clock Ratio, the advertised speed of the processor. For example, if you bought a 3.6 Ghz processor, then the Clock Ratio is 36. In order to change this simply enter a new number (likely by using the plus sign on the setting).
Increase the Clock Ratio by a factor of one or two and test before increasing again.
Head over to your memory settings and make sure that they are set to XMP (Xtreme Memory Profile) so that it does not become a bottleneck in the overclocking process. Your motherboard may have something similar to XMP like Memory Try It from MSI. You can overclock your memory using this setting. MSI has a great article detailing how to overclock your memory with this setting.
Save your settings and restart the computer. Test the newly set overclocked CPU with Cinebench and HW monitor to see the impact on speed and heat. You can repeat this process until you achieve your desired Clock Speed or until you notice problems, such as a Blue Screen of Death.
Blue Screen of Death: Power Settings
If you experience the Blue Screen of Death while overclocking, this means that there are not enough volts going to the processor. This can also be changed in the processor settings. Increasing volts will increase the temperature of the processor, so that should be monitored closely. The volts to the processor should not exceed 1.4V. This setting can be found within the Advanced Voltage Settings of your BIOS.
By changing the volts, you can increase the Clock Ratio and test your performance against Cinebench again.
Beginners Guide to Overclocking: After Your Done
After the overclock settings have been set and the desired performance boost has been achieved, it is important to continue to monitor temperature settings. It is also important to consider whether or not this is desired over a long period of time. The CPU will degrade its useful life over time while overclocked.
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