Last updated on September 13th, 2023 at 02:38 am
When building your PC something you should consider is whether you want to overclock your computer or not.
Overclocking will improve the performance of your computer, but at the same time might of some negative effects on your computer’s parts. This can make your PC have a shorter lifespan, overheat, or just stop working.
A strong debate among PC users alike is, whether is the risk worth the reward.
This depends on many factors like what components you bought for your PC, your cooling situation, and how far you are willing to push your PC for the performance upgrade.
Even after all that’s done is the performance upgrade worth all the work? We will let you decide that for yourself because the results vary from person to person.
What is Overclocking
Overclocking is essentially squeezing out the maximum power that a specific component can support. Each component whether it’s a CPU, GPU, RAM, or anything in between is made from a factory and set to a standard speed.
However, every part is slightly different. Take a CPU for example, The manufacturer might advertise the speed to be 3.8GHz, but you can increase the speed to 4.0GHz by overclocking. The reason for this is called the silicon lottery, you are guaranteed the standard speeds, but you might’ve gotten lucky and got a CPU that could perform at 4.5GHz. However, this all comes down to luck because even the manufacturer doesn’t know the max speed of every CPU they just advertise the fastest most stable speed every CPU can reach.
You should also read: What is the meaning of GHz?
Keep in mind that clock speed isn’t the only thing that you can overclock to increase performance. The components are Memory and power consumption, and for a more advanced overclock you can overclock individual cores. This can help improve performance, but it also brings a bigger risk to your PC. That is why people who are more new to the scene just stick with simple overclocks like clock speed and memory.
What Computer Parts Can Be Overclocked
Almost every component in your computer can be overclocked, but some are more beneficial than others.
The CPU (Processor)
The CPU is probably the first thing that comes to mind when overclocking.
When it comes to CPU overclocking, there are many things to watch out for.
First, is that your CPU has to be unlocked to be overclockable. If you are using a modern-day AMD CPU most likely it’s overclockable. On the other hand, if you are using an Intel CPU, you need to buy the CPU unlocked. To tell if your CPU is unlocked the name should end either with a K or X.
Typically, Intel CPUs have a more powerful overclock, but are also more expensive and not really worth it for mid-range builds. This is because the money you spend on an overclockable CPU should probably be spent on something else like a better graphics card.
When shopping Ryzen, you should keep an eye out for the X at the end of the name because a Ryzen CPU with an X means it will most likely have a better overclock than the same CPU without the X. These CPUs are more budget-friendly than Intels CPUs and will still improve your CPUs performance when overclocked.
The CPU is probably, the part that will be valued the most from overclocking. Overclocking a CPU can be very simple for beginners, but experts can customize each individual core to squeeze out the most power. If you pair that up with a good cooling solution you can greatly increase the speed of your CPU.
The Graphics Card (GPU)
Probably the easiest part of your computer to overclock is your graphics card. This is because when overclocking most parts you will need to go into your computer’s BIOS and restart your computer after every test, which can result in some problems if the part is unstable.
With a GPU you can overclock it by installing a single program on your computer called MSI Afterburner. This program will allow you to overclock your GPU without the need to test a restart your pc which can save you a lot of time.
Although GPU overclocking is very convenient and easy to do. The benefits you get from it aren’t that noticeable. Most of the time with an overclocked GPU you will most likely get around a 5-10 FPS difference, which isn’t that noticeable most of the time. However, it will smooth out areas in a game where your frames tend to drop, which is very beneficial.
Then again, overclocking ability really depends on luck, and if you happened to pull a good graphics card. Then, you could see a greater difference in FPS and quality.
When overclocking RAM the performance is not that noticeable, but it can still help the performance of your computer on a more minuscule level.
This is probably the hardest component to overclock because RAM doesn’t have very much wiggling room.
If if you put too much voltage into it and make it run too fast your RAM will end up crashing your PC. This could result in a simple restart of your computer or you may have to reboot your whole computer by resetting your motherboard. In some cases, you will be met with black, or blue screens, or your computer might be stuck on an infinite startup loop. When in most cases you can fix it.
Is this something to worry about? Not really because as long as you stick to adding only a little bit of power at a time you should be fine.
Another thing to keep in mind when overclocking your computer’s RAM sticks is that any RAM that is advertised over the 2400 MHz speed is actually the speed it reaches when it is overclocked. That means if you are not thinking about overclocking your PC or don’t want to take that risk with overclocking your RAM (which is still a small risk nothing to be afraid of). Then, you won’t be seeing the benefits of high-speed memory in your computer.
Believe it or not, your monitor is actually overclockable. However, that doesn’t mean your 1080p, 60Hz monitor will run at 4k, 144Hz, but it will allow you to have better quality and a higher refresh rate.
To overclock your monitor is actually very simple, all you have to do is go into your control panel or GPU control panel, and you can modify it from there.
I would recommend starting by adding 5Hz at a time to your refresh rate until it doesn’t work. Then, slowly take 1Hz away until you can hit your maximum refresh rate. For my 60Hz monitor, I was able to get to 75Hz, and for my 144Hz monitor, I was able to get to 155Hz. This is a small improvement, but it still helps out a little bit with making your screen run smoother.
Compared to overclocking other components of your PC the monitor is very safe and easy to do. If you go too far with the overclocking, you won’t have to worry about your monitor breaking because it will just get reset back to its original refresh rate in a couple of seconds.
What Do You Need To Overclock?
If you are just looking for a simple overclock to your PC you won’t really need anything extra, but if you’re looking to push your performance even further here are some things to keep in mind.
The first is your cooling. When overclocking parts in your computer it is strongly recommended to get a liquid cooler because it will push the most juice out of your components. However, this can be a pricey choice and is not meant for more budget builds.
Going with a good air cooler can save you some money and make you have a safer overclock experience.
Also, when you are overclocking you should always stress test your computer to make sure your computer doesn’t crash in the middle of a game. Common stress testers are OpenGl, and the Blender BMW test, but there are many different options out there and you should pick the ones you like the best.
Can Overclocking Damage Your PC?
Overclocking can damage your PC if it is not done right, but if you take the proper precautions and constantly test your computer to see if there are any problems with your overclock. Then, overclocking is completely safe and won’t damage your PC.
Therefore, you should keep in mind how good your airflow in your PC is, and whether you’re using an air cooler or a liquid cooler. These factors will determine how far you can push your overclock.
Pros To Overclocking
The main reason why you overclock is to give your PC a performance boost. Depending on how lucky you are you can receive anything from a huge performance boost to a little boost. But, no matter how big the performance boost is, the better your PC will perform.
Could Save You Money
This could save you money because if you are buying parts for overclocking it could cost you more money, but if you’re overclocking older parts to help keep up with performance standards. Then, you can save a bit of money.
Cons To Overclocking
Potential to Damage Parts
If you are overclocking to the point where it is unstable and reaching very high temperatures. Then, you have the potential to shorten the lifespan and damage your parts.
Furthermore, if you don’t have adequate cooling and are trying to overclock your parts to the max. Your parts will begin to overheat which will ruin their life expectancy. This means if you are using a stock cooler or an older cooler, you should only be doing some basic overclocking. That way you can feel some performance increase, but it won’t damage your parts.
Then again if you keep in mind the safety precautions, then overclocking will not harm your PC in any way.
When overclocking you should be doing a lot of testing to make sure you have a stable overclock, or else it can result in crashes when exporting a big file like 3D imagery, or in a fast-paced part of a game.
The first time I overclocked my PC, it crashed on round 99 of Call of Duty Zombies no joke. This was because I overclocked my GPU mid-game without running any stress tests. My game was fine for the first 4 hours, but when a lot of things were happening at once, my GPU gave out.
When you are doing the final stress tests you should leave your computer on for a couple of hours and just let it run to see if there are any performance dips. This will guarantee that your overclock is stable.
Could Cost a Lot of Money
This is really situational because overclocking can either save you money or waste a lot of money.
When buying a PC meant for overclocking you may have to buy more expensive equipment that can help boost your overclocking performance. This may include a liquid cooler, a high-end motherboard, and expensive case fans.
Although your overclocking will really benefit from these things. They are also really expensive, and why use that money to benefit from overclocking when you could just use that money on better parts?
Final Thoughts on Whether Overclocking is Worth It or Not
Now, that you know everything about overclocking is it worth it? My final thoughts are if you already have the ability to overclock go for it. If you have the proper motherboard, GPU, CPU, etc. Your computer will take no harm from moderate overclocking, as long as you stick to the proper procedures.
However, if you are going out of your way to buy more expensive parts and cooling options. Then, I would think twice before doing so because you can use that money on better components that will perform better than an overclocked one.
Also, if you use that money on better parts there is no harm in doing some simple overclocking out of the box to give that a little performance boost. As long as you keep your temperatures in check.
You can overclock pretty much anything, and it will help your computer’s performance, even if you don’t have the best technology. So, why not give it a try?