Overclocking is the process of increasing the speed of your CPU or GPU beyond the manufacturer’s specifications. It can boost your PC’s performance and make it run faster and smoother.
But it also comes with some risks and drawbacks, such as higher temperatures, lower stability, shorter lifespan, and potential damage to your hardware.
If you have overclocked your PC and you are facing problems such as crashes, freezes, blue screens, or overheating, you may want to disable overclocking and return your PC to its normal state.
Or maybe you just want to save some power and reduce the noise of your fans. Whatever the reason, disabling overclocking is not as hard as you may think.
- Overclocking lets you make your PC run smoother and faster by increasing the clock speed of your CPU or GPU above their normal limits.
- Overclocking also comes with some risks and drawbacks, such as higher temperatures, lower stability, shorter lifespan, and potential damage to your hardware.
- To check if your PC is overclocked, you can use software (like CPU-Z) or benchmarking tools (like Cinebench) to compare the clock speed of your CPU or GPU with the base or boost clock values, and also check if your component has a factory overclock.
- You can disable overclocking from the BIOS menu by pressing F2 during startup, navigating to the “Advanced” tab, and changing the “CPU Frequency” setting from 100% to 0%.
What Is Overclocking? (In Simple Terms)
Think of overclocking as driving your car faster than the speed limit. You might get to your destination faster, but you also risk getting a ticket, crashing, or damaging your engine.
Similarly, overclocking your CPU or GPU might give you higher FPS in games or faster rendering in video editing, but you also risk crashing your system, overheating your components, or reducing their lifespan.
Overclocking is usually done by changing some settings in the BIOS (the software that controls your motherboard) or using some software tools that allow you to tweak the clock speed, voltage, and fan speed of your CPU or GPU.
How to identify overclockable components by their names?
Some hardware components are designed to be overclocked, while others are not. You can usually tell if a component is overclockable by looking at its name.
For example, Intel CPUs that have a “K” or “KF” at the end of their name, such as the i7-11700K or i7-11700KF, are unlocked for overclocking. The “K” suffix means that the CPU has integrated graphics, while the “KF” suffix means that it does not.
AMD CPUs may or may not have more overclocking potential than Intel ones, depending on the generation, model, and architecture of the CPU.
For example, AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series CPUs have less overclocking headroom than Intel’s 10th and 11th generation CPUs, but AMD’s Ryzen 3000 series CPUs have more overclocking headroom than Intel’s 9th generation CPUs.
Some AMD CPUs also have an “X” or “XT” suffix that indicates higher performance and overclocking potential than the non-X or non-XT variants. The Ryzen 9 5900X has a higher boost clock and TDP than the Ryzen 9 5900G.
How to Check If Your PC Is Overclocked?
Before you disable overclocking, you need to know if your PC is actually overclocked or not.
There are several ways to check this, but the easiest one is to use a software tool that can monitor your CPU and GPU frequencies, temperatures, voltages, and other parameters.
Some of the most popular tools for this purpose are:
To check if your PC is overclocked or not using these tools, follow these steps:
- Download and install one or more of the above tools on your PC.
- Run the tool and look at the values of the clock speed (frequency) of your CPU or GPU. You can compare them with the base clock and boost clock values that are shown in the tool or on the manufacturer’s website.
- If the clock speed is higher than the base clock or boost clock values by a significant margin (more than 5-10%), then your PC is likely overclocked. Keep in mind that some components have a dynamic boost feature that can increase the clock speed beyond the boost clock value under certain conditions, such as Intel’s Turbo Boost or AMD’s Precision Boost.
Alternatively, you can use a benchmarking tool such as Cinebench to test your PC’s performance and compare it with other PCs with similar hardware specifications. If your PC scores significantly higher than other PCs with similar hardware specifications, then your PC is likely overclocked.
You should also check if your component has a factory overclock applied by the manufacturer or vendor. This means that your component runs at a higher clock speed than the reference model of the same component by default.
For example, some graphics cards have an OC (over-clocked) or SC (super-clocked) suffix in their name, which indicates that they have a factory overclock applied. You can check the specifications of your component on the manufacturer’s or vendor’s website to see if it has a factory overclock or not.
How to Disable Overclocking for Your CPU or GPU?
If you have tried overclocking your CPU or GPU and now you want to disable it for any reason, there are several ways to do it depending on how you did it in the first place.
Here are some common methods to disable overclocking for your CPU or GPU:
Method 1: Change the Power Settings on Windows
If you want to turn off overclocking for your CPU without going into the BIOS and risking messing something up, you can do it in Windows 10 and it’s really easy.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Click on Start and go to Settings.
- Click on System and then go to Power & Sleep.
- Click on Additional Power Settings on the right side of the window.
- Look for the power plan that is selected for you. For me, it’s High Performance. Click on Change Plan Settings next to it.
- Click on Change Advanced Power Settings at the bottom of the window.
- A small window will come up and here you are looking for Processor Power Management. Expand it by clicking on the plus sign (+).
- Expand Minimum Processor State and Maximum Processor State by clicking on the plus signs (+) next to them.
- Change both of them to 99% by clicking on the percentage values and typing 99 or using the arrows.
- Click on Apply and then OK to save the changes.
That’s it! You have successfully turned off CPU overclocking in Windows 10. This will reduce the clock speed of your CPU to its base value and prevent it from boosting beyond that.
The problem with this method is you can’t do it on Windows 11! So, if you’re on the latest version of Windows try one of the other methods shown below.
Method 2: Disable overclocking from the BIOS or UEFI menu
To disable CPU overclocking through the BIOS settings, follow these steps:
- Restart your PC and press the key that opens the BIOS settings (usually F2, F10, F12, Del, or Esc) during the startup.
- Navigate to the “Advanced” tab or section of the BIOS settings using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
- Look for an option that says “CPU Frequency”, “CPU Ratio”, “CPU Multiplier”, “CPU Overclocking”, or something similar. This option controls how fast your CPU runs by changing its frequency or multiplier.
- Change this option from its current value (usually a percentage or a number) to 0% or Auto. This will disable CPU overclocking and return your CPU to its default frequency.
- Save and exit the BIOS settings by pressing F10 or choosing “Save & Exit” from the menu.
- Restart your PC and check if CPU overclocking is disabled using one of the tools mentioned above.
Related Article: ASUS Motherboard Best BIOS Settings for Gamers
Method 3: Disable all CPU or GPU core control settings in BIOS or UEFI
Disable all CPU or GPU core control settings in BIOS or UEFI and change the FSB (Front Side Bus) frequency setting to the base value.
This will reset your CPU and GPU to their default clock speeds.
Method 4: Consult your motherboard or graphics card manufacturer’s website
Consult your motherboard or graphics card manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to disable overclocking from within your graphics control panel.
If you used MSI Afterburner or Asus GPU Tweak to overclock your GPU, you can use the same software to disable it by setting the clock speed, voltage, and fan speed sliders back to their default values.
What are the Benefits and Risks of Overclocking?
The primary reason why people overclock their hardware components or devices is to increase their performance without spending too much money.
Here are some specific benefits of overclocking:
- You can buy a cheaper component and then overclock it to achieve a performance comparable to more expensive ones. For example, you can buy an i5-7600K CPU and overclock it to match the performance of an i7-7700K CPU.
- You can test and compare the limits of different brands or models of components. You can overclock a Nvidia GPU and an AMD GPU and see which one performs better under stress.
- You can extend the usefulness of old devices or make them functional and at par with newer ones. For instance, you can overclock a desktop or laptop to keep up with current system requirements and avoid upgrading your graphics card.
- You can improve your battery life on portable devices by reducing the voltage while overclocking. This might sound counterintuitive, but some overclocking tools allow you to lower the voltage while increasing the clock speed, which reduces power consumption.
However, overclocking also comes with some risks and limitations that you should be aware of before attempting it.
Here are some disadvantages of overclocking:
- You can void your manufacturer warranty by overclocking your components. Most manufacturers set a default clock speed for their components that ensure a consistent level of quality and endurance. If you change that speed, you might lose your warranty coverage.
- You can damage your components or cause excessive cooling by overclocking them. Overclocking increases the heat production and power consumption of your components, which can lead to overheating, melting, or burning. To prevent this, you need to invest in better cooling solutions, such as fans, heatsinks, or liquid cooling systems.
- You can cause instability or crashes by overclocking your components. Overclocking changes the delicate balance between different components in your system, which can result in errors, glitches, freezes, or blue screens of death. You need to test your system’s stability after each change in settings and find the optimal balance between performance and stability to prevent this.
- You can reduce the lifespan of your components by overclocking them. Overclocking puts more stress on your components than they were designed for, which can wear them out faster than normal. This means that you might need to replace them sooner than expected.
Tips and Tricks to Optimize Your System Performance Without Overclocking
If you want to improve your system performance without overclocking your components, there are some tips and tricks that you can try.
Here are some of them:
- Update your drivers and software regularly. This will ensure that your components are running at their best and compatible with the latest games and applications.
- Clean your system from dust and debris. This will improve the airflow and cooling of your components and prevent overheating and throttling.
- Defragment your hard drive or switch to a solid-state drive (SSD). This will improve the loading speed and responsiveness of your system and reduce the strain on your CPU and GPU.
- Adjust your graphics settings in games and applications. You can lower the resolution, texture quality, anti-aliasing, shadows, or other settings that affect the performance of your GPU. You can also enable or disable features such as V-sync, G-sync, or FreeSync that affect the smoothness of your display.
- Use a performance monitor tool to check the usage and temperature of your components. You can use tools such as CPU-Z, GPU-Z, HWMonitor, or Task Manager to monitor the performance of your CPU and GPU and see if they are bottlenecking each other or running too hot.
Overclocking is a process that can boost the performance of your CPU or GPU beyond its default specifications. However, it also comes with some risks and limitations that you should be aware of before attempting it.
If you want to disable overclocking for any reason, there are several ways to do it depending on how you did it in the first place. You can also optimize your system performance without overclocking by following some tips and tricks that we have provided in this article.
Can you overclock RAM?
Answer: Yes, RAM can be overclocked to achieve faster speeds. Overclocking RAM involves modifying specific parameters such as timings and voltages to allow the modules to operate at greater speeds than they might out of the box. Overclocking RAM is relatively simple and can have a serious impact on system performance.
How much overclocking GPU is safe?
Answer: To safely overclock your GPU, increase the clock rate at increments of 10 MHz, and test your system for stability and performance after each adjustment. If your system struggles, lower your overclock by 10 or 20 MHz, then test again. Once you know your maximum GPU overclock, you can adjust the voltage and memory clock to find the best settings for your system
How much FPS can you get from overclocking?
Answer: On average, overclocking a GPU can result in a 10-15% increase in FPS. Overclocking a CPU can also increase FPS, but the amount of increase depends on the OC potential of the CPU. Overclocking the memory (Video RAM/VRAM) can result in a drastic performance boost in games that rely heavily on it, usually between 10-15%.