Many people don’t know how to check if their CPU is overclocked. Overclocking your CPU will make it run faster and more efficiently, which means you should be able to do other things on your computer at the same time without slowing down.
However, if you’ve been noticing some unusual lagging and stuttering on your computer, or if your CPU is running hotter than usual, then your CPU may have been overclocked. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell for sure. Here we’ll go over a few of the most common signs that someone might be using an overclock on their CPU.
What is overclocking?
In a CPU, the clock speed is determined by the frequency of the electrical signal that tells the CPU what to do. The higher this frequency, the faster your computer can complete tasks.
The clock multiplier determines how many times this fundamental frequency is multiplied by itself. For example, if your CPU has a base frequency of 100 MHz and a multiplier of 25x, the CPU’s clock speed would be 100 MHz x 25, or 2500 MHz.
Thus, overclocking is just increasing these multipliers to make your computer run faster than originally intended by the manufacturer. The purpose of overclocking is to increase the speed of the CPU by running it at a higher clock rate than it was designed for.
You can do this to achieve better performance or make up for a deficiency in the CPU. However, overclocking can also lead to instability and may shorten the lifespan of the CPU. It can also be dangerous because if you increase it too much (or decrease it in some cases), components could break and cause permanent damage to your system.
There are a few ways to overclock your CPU. One is through your computer’s BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). This is where you can change the clock multiplier and other settings that affect how your computer runs.
Another way to overclock is through software like Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility or AMD’s OverDrive. These programs allow you to change your clock speeds, voltages, and fan speeds without having to go into the BIOS.
However, it is always recommended that you increase these settings gradually in small increments so that you can monitor whether or not your system is stable at each new setting.
If you’re not comfortable overclocking your CPU on your own, there are a few places where you can get help. Many online forums and communities offer advice and support for overclocking CPUs. You should also check out the CPU manufacturer’s website to ensure no special specifications or settings are required when increasing clock speeds on your CPU.
How to tell if my CPU is overclocked
There are a few telltale signs that your CPU may have overclocked.
- If your computer is running hotter than normal, this can be a sign that it is overclocked.
- Another sign that your CPU is overclocked is seeing a decrease in performance.
- If your computer is crashing or freezing more often than usual, this could also be a sign that your CPU is overclocked.
- Lastly, if your computer is not recognizing all of the cores in your CPU, this could be a sign that it is overclocked.
If you see any of these signs when using your computer, your CPU may have been overclocked. If this is the case, you should lower the clock speeds or revert to the manufacturer’s settings.
Overclocking can be a great way to get better performance from your computer, but it’s important to do so safely and with caution. To avoid any potential problems, it is always best to increase the clock speeds in small increments and ensure that your system is stable at each new setting.
How to check for a CPU overclock
Method 1: Checking through Task Manager
The Task Manager in Windows 10 is the easiest way to see if your CPU is overclocked. You need to know your CPU’s base and boost frequencies for this strategy to work.
The steps are as follows:
By right-clicking on the Task Bar and selecting Task Manager, or by hitting CTRL + ALT + DELETE and selecting Task Manager, you may access the Task Manager.
Look at the “Speed” option under the Performance Tab. If it is greater than your CPU’s turbo frequency, then this means it is overclocked.
It will also show the Base Speed of the CPU. Your CPU is overclocked if the Base frequency exceeds the manufacturer’s specification.
Because Task Manager displays real-time information regarding your CPU, you may experiment with varied loads while keeping an eye on the clock speed.
Your CPU is NOT overclocked if it retains a clock speed equal to or less than the Turbo Frequency while under pressure.
Method 2: Checking through CPU-Z
CPU-Z is a free program that shows you precise information concerning your computer’s hardware, such as the CPU. Here’s how to use this third-party software to see if your CPU is overclocked.
Install the CPU-Z for Windows program. Ensure you download it with your computer’s architecture in mind (32 bit or 64 bit).
Please search for the CPU Tab after it has loaded; it’ll be chosen by default.
Check the “Clocks” section of CPU-Z. The “Core Speed” entry in this section displays the CPU’s present operating frequency. Your CPU is overclocked if this figure is higher than the manufacturer’s Turbo frequency. Your CPU is NOT overclocked if it is less than or equal to the set Turbo Frequency.
Furthermore, by multiplying the Bus Speed by the Multiplier, you may come up with a quick calculation. The result will be the same as the “Core Speed” box value.
If your CPU is overclocked, you’ll notice a larger clock multiplier here.
Method 3: Checking through the BIOS
The third and most advanced way is to determine if the CPU is overclocked through BIOS. Because this is a bit complex, it’s best not to mess with the BIOS settings.
Moreover, based on which BIOS version you have, the interface might vary from one user to the next.
The steps are as follows:
To access BIOS when the computer starts up, press the “Delete” or “F2” keys, based on your system.
Navigate to the CPU Settings section of your BIOS. The name of this section varies depending on the BIOS version.
The options clock multiplier/clock Ratio, CPU clock, and CPU VCore are what you’re looking for (CPU Voltage). If these values have been changed from the default, your CPU has been overclocked.
Reset this portion of the BIOS to the default to examine the default values. You could always hit a key in BIOS to reset the section to its factory settings. This part will not alter if the CPU is not overclocked, even when the reset to default key is clicked.
Tips for overclocking your CPU
- Ensure that your system is properly cooled: Your CPU is shipped with a heat sink and fan intended to accommodate the heat level generated at the processor’s standard speed.
The CPU will produce more heat if you speed it up. As a result, you’ll almost certainly want more cooling. This could be in the form of an aftermarket heat sink or a more powerful CPU fan that can disperse more heat.
You’ll need plenty of space inside your computer’s chassis so that air can circulate and ultimately be pushed out by the fan, which may have to be increased. Airflow is critical for heat management, as a heat sink or CPU fan won’t assist if all of the hot air within your case is contained.
- Try Water Cooling: Serious overclockers might also want to invest in a more costly water-cooling system. A water-based coolant absorbs the heat pushed through tubes within the case.
It’s then blasted out, and the heat is released into the air outside the case by the radiator. Air-cooling is less efficient compared to water-cooling.
- Raise the CPU clock rate and voltage in the BIOS: You’ll have to go into the BIOS of your pc and modify the CPU clock rate and voltage. Increase it a little, then restart your computer. Check for stability by running a demanding benchmark like Prime95 to mimic intensive use and monitoring your computer’s temperatures to ensure adequate cooling.
If it’s stable, consider increasing it and running another test to ensure the computer is still stable. Increase the amount you’re overclocking by a small amount at a time until it is unstable or the heat becomes unbearable, then reduce it to a safe level. Overclock gradually to maintain stability; don’t boost the speed of your CPU by a huge amount all at once.
Overclocking your CPU will cause the computer to run faster, but it also puts undue stress on the hardware; if you want to make sure that everything is running smoothly and at a stable speed, monitor your CPU. When you’re not sure if your CPU is overclocked, there are a few things to check.
Get started now that you know how to check if your CPU is overclocked. If it turns out that your CPU has been overclocked for a long time and you didn’t even know about it, we recommend uninstalling the program or app responsible before continuing with any other steps. Be careful when overclocking because there’s always a risk of damaging hardware, especially expensive CPUs.