How to Overclock a Computer? What are the risks associated with it?

Overclocking is the process of making a computer or component like Central Processing Unit (CPU), Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), Memory, PCI, and AGP devices to operate faster than the clock frequency specified by the manufacturer by modifying system parameters. Operating Voltage plays a vital role in increasing the speed of the CPU. Most overclocking techniques increase power consumption, generates more heat, which must be dispersed in order to make the chip functional. Thus, overclocking can make your computer run faster without spending money on upgrades.

cpu overclock

But before overclocking your system make sure that you know the drawbacks or risks of doing it.

  1.  Sometimes, overclocking will void the warranty of your equipment.
  2.  The lifespan of the CPU and other devices will be shortened.
  3.  It may destroy the CPU, memory, motherboard, and other expensive items.
  4.  Room temperature increases.
  5.  System might become unstable.
  6.  Frequent overclocking may addict you to this.

Overclock through BIOS

The best way to overclock the computer is through BIOS (Basic Input/Output System or Binary Integrated Operating System). In some computer, motherboard can be used to increase in power by setting a jumper, but this is dangerous as you have no real stability control. There are some software programs available which allow you to overclock inside the operating system, but the best results are achieved by changing BIOS settings. Get into your BIOS by pressing DEL or some systems may use F2, F10, or Ctrl+Enter as soon as your computer begins the POST (Power On Self Test – when it shows the RAM size, processor speed, etc.). Here, you can change your FSB (front side bus), memory timings, and your CPU multiplier (also named as CPU Clock Ratio).

CPU Locked or Unlocked

Before getting started with the overclocking process with your system, find out whether the processor or the CPU is locked or not along with the  multiplier. To ensure whether the computer processor is locked or not perform the following instructions. First, lower the multiplier through BIOS, for example from 12 to 11. Save and exit your BIOS and allow the computer to restart. If your computer boots up properly and shows the new CPU speed, it means that your CPU is unlocked. However, if  the computer fails to boot or remains in black screen or no change in the CPU speed, this clearly indicates that the multiplier is locked.

Multiplier Unlocked Processors

The maximum speed of a CPU is limited by the memory or RAM. To put the computer components like RAM or CPU in to stress run intensive programs of  CPU or RAM. Some examples of such programs are SiSoft Sandra, Prime95, Orthos, 3DMark 2006 and Folding@Home. Run program outside Windows, such as Memtest to test the RAM. Load a copy of Memtest onto a bootable floppy, then insert the disk after you have exited the BIOS. The FSB range can be increased until Memtest starts reporting errors. Once the error appears, the voltage supplied to the computer memory can be increased. Quality, name-brand memory will work best for overclocking. On increasing the voltage supply the clock frequency can be easily increased. But, an increase in voltage may threaten the lifespan of the processor and memory along with your computer. Also, having a higher FSB overclock as opposed to a higher multiplier will have a greater impact on overall system performance.

Overclocking have a great impact on CPU, RAM as well as system performance, so it is not recommended. Overclock the CPU only when it is utmost needed.


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