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Overclocking basics


Overclocking can add serious power to your PC – but where to start?

What is it

Overclocking is the process of increasing the CPU clock-speed, which allows it to operate faster than the factory clock-speed. Basically, it helps your custom PC work faster. There are some risks though. Overclocking requires changing settings that are fundamental to operation of the computer. The rewards outweigh the risks for some.

What you need

Overclocking does not work on all processors. Additionally, not all motherboards can properly support an overclocked processor, so special attention to the hardware is a must. As far as Intel goes, they’ve made it simple to identify overclock friendly components. Their processors ending with the letter K are unlocked for overclocking. Look for mother boards that begin with the letter Z.

AMD does not have a universal label for their overclockable chips. Most of them are unlocked, but some have better results than others. Most of their mother boards support overclocking as well, but here is a list.

The temperatures of your CPU must be managed with liquid cooling when overclocking because the additional work that it is doing produces heat that standard air cooling cannot disperse. Luckily, there are countless options for all-in-one liquid cooling, which provides adequate temperature control without needing a full modded system. These closed loop coolers make managing temperatures much easier than it once was.


There are a few points to consider when deciding to overclock. Many people overclock their CPU to provide better performance at a lower price. This is absolutely an effective means of cutting costs when configuring your custom gaming PC. However, there is also some logic to the idea of purchasing a better processor outright. If the budget permits, it makes sense to go with more power out of the box. This doesn’t mean you cannot overclock in the future if you decide to. Some people do it as an enthusiast hobby or for bragging rights.

Inversely, if the budget is tight, then overclocking a less expensive model is a great route. This is Especially true in a custom gaming PC, where the graphics card is more important to the experience than the CPU.

The idea that playing around with settings in search of better performance can be scary because there is always the looming risk of damaging parts. This is why AVADirect offers overclocking services on the custom computers that we sell. That way, our customers can enjoy the added performance without the anxiety of endangering their PC.

I am a millennial and contributing to this tech blog.

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