How to Overclock a CPU: When and Why You Might Do It

Today’s computer users are willing to take more risks when digging into their units to perform tasks that were once too complex. Moreover, with a world full of internet resources, more computer users are stepping out of their comfort zones to do things to enhance, improve, or overhaul their computers.
One thing that everyday computer users are tackling on their own to make their PCs run faster is overclocking their CPUs. According to the Intel team, this task isn’t as complicated as people might think. However, many people worry that doing so might void their manufacturer’s warranty or extended computer warranty. Although it shouldn’t be a problem in most cases, always check with your warranty provider before overclocking your CPU.
Are you considering overclocking your CPU? Here are some things to consider.

What Does It Mean to Overclock a CPU?

Tech professionals agree that overclocking your CPU is a great way to make your PC run faster. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to overclock a CPU.

What Is the CPU?

Also called a “central processor,” a central processing unit (CPU) serves as the electronic circuitry that executes any instructions in a computer program. This primary processor performs essential logic, mathematical, controlling, and input/output functions specified in the program’s general instructions.
The chip, sometimes referred to as your “computer’s brain,” is responsible for carrying out all tasks. It tells all the other connected components what, when, and how they need to carry out their respective jobs to make the whole system work in tandem.
You’ll also find CPUs on smartphones and televisions. CPUs on tablets and smartphones might handle multiple tasks, such as managing phone calls, detecting and enabling Wi-Fi and GPS, and much more. In those cases, manufacturers install a multipurpose chip, known as an SoC (system-on-a-chip).

What Does It Mean to Overclock a CPU?

Overclocking a CPU means modifying your PC to reach speeds that go far beyond the manufacturer’s original intentions. In simpler terms, you are speeding up your CPU to perform tasks much faster and more efficiently.
When doing this, you will use the settings on the motherboard to allow the CPU to run at higher speeds than the factory settings. Some of the more successful CPU overclocking extend performance by 20% or more, so if you are willing to put in the effort, you’re likely to love the results.

Why Overclock a CPU?

According to UMass, overclocking a CPU offers you “free” value from your PC hardware. In addition, it often helps the CPU last longer before needing an upgrade. One of the main benefits of overclocking a CPU is to increase performance in high-demand applications such as video editing and high-action gaming.

Are There Risks When Overclocking a CPU?

As noted before, overclocking a CPU does come with risks that include:
  • The cost of increased heat production to support higher speeds
  • The potential reduction of lifespan
  • The voiding of a warranty
Even with these potential risks, many enthusiastic PC owners feel the benefits far outweigh those risks.

How to Overclock Your CPU

Like so many computer tasks today, it isn’t as complicated as it once was or you might imagine it to be. With so many resources, including professional tech websites, blogs, and YouTube tech channels, you’ll find the help you need to do this quickly and correctly to enjoy all the benefits.

1. Locate Your CPU

Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to find your computer’s CPU since you’ll find it plugged into the motherboard. When you take the side panel off your desktop PC, you’ll find your CPU under the cooling fan, which is crucial since the CPU tends to get very hot and needs ample cooling to protect it and your PC.

2. Remove Your CPU

Considering how easy it is to remove CPUs and their coolers, you might think manufacturers expected earnest computer owners to take this step in upgrading their PC. Even if that wasn’t their intent, it is simple.

3. Make Sure Your CPU and Motherboard Can Be Overclocked

Before replacing your CPU, it’s important to first determine whether or not your CPU and motherboard support overclocking. For instance, a CPU with the letter “K” on the end of its name, such as the i7-7700k, can overclock. In any case, check your computer manufacturer’s website to ensure that it’s unlocked and can be overclocked.

4. Replace Your CPU with One That Is Compatible with Your Motherboard

This step is crucial, so make sure to find a matching CPU and motherboard. For Intel, you’ll need a motherboard featuring the letter “Z” in its chipset name, such as the Z270 motherboard, compatible with the “k” prefixed CPUs.

5. Follow the Instructions of Professionals

Take a deeper dive into the CPU overclocking process by finding someone with plenty of experience to walk you through all the steps for your specific desktop computer and its CPU.

Protect Your Computer With Upsie

Gamers, professionals, and casual web surfers should consider purchasing an extended warranty from Upsie to protect their PCs and laptops. With an Upsie warranty, your device is protected from damage, including manufacturing defects, power failure, motherboard failure, and more.
In addition, customers save money with Upsie. Upsie’s warranties are often up to 70 percent less expensive than warranties offered by competitors. Furthermore, customers can purchase extended warranties for laptops and computers bought within the last 60 days.
If you’re worried about putting your extended warranty at risk by overclocking, reach out to the friendly Upsie claims team to learn more.

Learn More About PCs and Laptops:

Return to all posts