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  • Overclocking Your CPU without Burning Up Your Motherboard
Technology Articles > Hardware > Processors > Overclocking Your CPU without Burning Up Your Motherboard

The benefits of overclocking your CPU is a faster PC without shelling out extra money. The very real downside risks are that you may permanently damage your CPU by overheating it, or you may make Windows unstable by failing to feed enough voltage to the CPU. This guide will show you how to find the happy medium between giving your CPU the voltage it needs to properly overclock and overheating it.

Step 1

Reboot your computer and enter into your BIOS setup screen. You can do this by pressing DEL repeatedly during startup, or whichever key is indicated on your system startup screen. This may be F6, F8 or F10 depending on your computer’s make and model.

Step 2

Look for the BIOS setting that reads CPU FSB Frequency, or CPU Host Frequency.

Step 3

Bump up the FSB speed by just 5 to 10 MHz at a time. Reboot after each adjustment.

Step 4

If the system crashes, won’t boot up or hangs, go back to the BIOS setup screen and look for the chipset voltage setting and core voltage setting. Bump this up by the smallest increment possible and reboot.

Step 5

If the system boots up successfully, try out some intensive computer processes, such as encoding video or rendering 3D graphics to test for stability.

Step 6

Once you reach a level of stability, bump up the FSB speed once again. Repeat Step 4.

Step 7

Keep checking the PC Health section of your BIOS setup screen and pay very close attention to the temperature. The CPU temperature should never go above 70 degrees Celsius.

Step 8

Repeat the above steps until your computer no longer remains stable, within a safe operating range or until you no longer feel comfortable pushing your CPU’s limits any further. It’s a good idea to bump up your CPU by just a tad each time. You might want to check out the Prime95 overclocking utility. Use this to stress test your computer to ensure that your overclocked CPU is sustainable.

You can download it here:


Remember: You may also need to adjust your memory divider to get the most performance out of your overclocked CPU. You can find this setting in the BIOS setup screen as well. The memory divider will benefit you if you are experiencing a bottleneck due to slower memory speeds than your FSB. Usually, the memory divider is set to a 1:1 ratio. But if you overclock your CPU, you may need to adjust it to 5:4 or some other ratio that favors the faster FSB speed, in spite of the slower memory speed.

Please follow these instructions at your own peril and supplement this guide with your own research specific to your motherboard and CPU model. You can find other safety guides and tips about overclocking your CPU on this website, so be sure to read them all.