How to Overclock Your CPU – Linus Tech Tips

Get tips on how to overclock your CPU for a performance boost when gaming or working with demanding applications.

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Overclocking is the process of taking a component—in our case, a CPU—and making it run at a higher frequency than its official speed. In order to do this, you need to have a solid understanding of what overclocking is, how it works, and—most importantly—its risks.

Overclocking essentially means running your CPU at a higher frequency than what it’s certified for. The base clock speed of all CPUs is determined by the manufacturer, but you can usually increase that number by changing the settings in your motherboard’s BIOS.

Every CPU is different, so there’s no single “best” way to overclock it. You might need to increase the voltage, change the multiplier, or alter other settings in order to get stability at a higher speed. And even if you do all that, there’s no guarantee that your CPU will be able to handle being overclocked.

All CPUs will overclock to some degree, but not every CPU will be stable at its maximum potential overclock. That said, even if your CPU doesn’t hit its maximum overclock, you might still see significant performance gains by overclocking it—it all depends on how much extra headroom your particular chip has.

What is overclocking?

Overclocking is the process of making a computer or component run at a higher speed than it was designed to run. In theory, any component in a computer can be overclocked, but in practice, only certain components are worth overclocking—chief among them the CPU, graphics card, and memory.

Benefits of overclocking

Overclocking has a few benefits that users may find helpful. It can help improve system performance, make games run faster, and allow for smoother video playback. Additionally, overclocking can increase the lifespan of certain components by reducing wear and tear. However, it’s important to note that overclocking can also lead to hardware damage if done incorrectly, so it’s important to know what you’re doing before you attempt it.

Disadvantages of overclocking

While overclocking has a number of advantages, it also has a few disadvantages. One of the most obvious is that it can void your CPU’s warranty. Additionally, while you may be able to achieve a 4.5 GHz overclock on one CPU, your friend may only be able to hit 4.2 GHz with their CPU—it all comes down to luck of the silicon lottery.

Other potential problems include insufficient cooling leading to thermal throttling and instability, which can cause crashing and data loss. In extreme cases, components may even be permanently damaged by overheating. As a result, it’s important to have good cooling solutions in place and keep an eye on temperatures when overclocking.

Finally, there’s always the possibility that your overclock simply won’t work at all or will be unstable no matter what you try. This can be caused by issues with the motherboard or other components in the system that are not compatible with overclocking or simply don’t lend themselves well to it.

How to overclock your CPU

In this tutorial, I’ll be teaching you how to overclock your CPU. I’ll be using the Intel Core i7-8700K and an MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. This is a pretty simple process, and I’ll go over everything you need to know.


Now that you know what to look for in a CPU, it’s time to start the overclocking process. This process can be broken down into four distinct sections: preparation, stress testing, tuning, and monitoring.

The first step in any successful overclock is preparation. This means doing your homework and making sure your system is capable of being overclocked. Many modern CPUs have built-in overclocking features and protections, but some do not. If you’re not sure whether your CPU can be overclocked, check with your motherboard or CPU manufacturer.

You should also update your BIOS to the latest version before beginning the overclocking process. This will ensure that you have the most recent bug fixes and performance improvements. Consult your motherboard manual for instructions on how to update your BIOS.

Additionally, you’ll need to download a few pieces of software to help with the overclocking process. First, you’ll need a CPU stress test program to check for stability after each change you make. We recommend Prime95 or LinX for this purpose. Second, you’ll need a monitoring program to keep an eye on your system’s temperature, voltage, and speed while you’re testing. We recommend CoreTemp and HWMonitor for this purpose. Finally, if your motherboard doesn’t have built-in overclocking features, you may need to download software from the manufacturer in order to make changes to settings like voltage and frequency

BIOS settings

There are a few things we need to do in the BIOS before we start overclocking. The first is to enable XMP, which is Intel’s flavor of RGB RAM. This will ensure that your RAM runs at its rated speed and timings. Next, we need to enable Intel’s TurboBoost technology. TurboBoost allows your CPU to automatically overclock itself when needed. We also want to enable CPU overclocking. This setting is usually found in the “CPU Configuration” section of the BIOS.

Once you’ve made these changes, save and exit the BIOS. Your CPU is now ready to be overclocked!

Stress testing

Stress testing is done to check the stability of your CPU after you have overclocked it. This can be done in two ways; either using a software or doing it manually. For software, we recommend using Prime95 or LinX. Both are excellent choices and will put your CPU under immense stress to check for any instability. If you want to do it manually, change the CPU multiplier in the BIOS and boot into Windows. Then open up HWMonitor and keep an eye on your temperatures. Once they hit 85°C, shut down your PC immediately to prevent damage!


Now that you know the basics of how to overclock your CPU, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Just remember to take things slow and steady – pushing your CPU too hard can lead to instability and premature hardware failures. With a little patience and care, you can easily get more performance out of your processor without spending a dime.

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