Overclocking your CPU has several use cases and can be beneficial in certain situations. However, knowing how to accomplish the task can be difficult. Fortunately, there are programs available that can help you with that. Are you looking for the best CPU overclocking software to help push your computer’s performance? Here are our top recommendations.
For people who are looking to boost their GPU performance, here is our how to overclock your GPU guide.
What Is CPU Overclocking?
CPU overclocking might sound like an incredibly complicated process that no average man can understand. However, it’s truly not that difficult to comprehend. Think of CPU overclocking as just pushing your CPU to its maximum capacity.
Let’s say your manufacturer designates a certain factory speed setting for the computer or CPU. If you run your device within the bounds of those limits while ensuring proper cooling, your computer should run fine.
However, what the manufacturer says usually isn’t the true limit of your CPU. That’s because you can boost the CPU’s speed further by using a higher clock rate or multiplier in the BIOS. This pushes the CPU to its maximum capacity, doing more operations in a second.
As a result, your CPU (and your computer) speeds up and performs better. This means you can perform more CPU-intensive tasks at better speeds than before. Moreover, it’s a decent way to push your CPU to perform tasks faster without needing to buy an upgraded CPU.
However, doing this will add more heat to your device, increasing the risk of overheating. Hence, the process may damage your device if you don’t add proper cooling measures before you begin. Overclocking your CPU may also render it unstable because of overheating, forcing it to restart or go into blue-screen mode.
With that said, while you can overclock your CPU, you must be careful while you’re doing so. Make sure to monitor and manage the heat it produces as a result of the overclocking process. Moreover, it’s best to modify the power source so you can meet the higher electrical current requirements.
Other Considerations When Overclocking Your CPU
Apart from temperature management, you must consider your device’s RAM when you’re overclocking your device. That’s because your RAM must be fast enough to meet the demands of faster data throughput.
Otherwise, your device might not be quick enough to store and process the data coming from the CPU. The whole system might collapse, so you may also want to consider overclocking the RAM. This should improve your computer’s overall performance.
9 Best CPU Overclocking Software
What software do I use to overclock my CPU? The following are our best suggestions listed in alphabetical order. What you choose should depend on your preferences and the type of CPU you’re using.
1. AMD Overdrive Utility
- Includes RAM overclocking features
- Provides automatic overclocking and clock-tuning
- Monitors voltage, memory clock performance, and memory timing
- Includes stability tests to minimize risks
- Discontinued by AMD so it’s not as easy to download
- Lack of support means no bug fixes or future upgrades
- Doesn’t support BEMP
- Only supports AMD chipsets and CPUs
What is the best overclocking software for CPUs? There truly is no single best CPU overclocking software that’s right for everyone. However, AMD’s Overdrive Utility does come quite close if you’re looking for something capable. That’s because it can not only overclock your device but also fine-tune your processor and memory.
As a result, it’s more comprehensive in the way it overclocks your system. The program even has RAM overclocking features with pre-tuned settings and profiles that increase your DDR3 performance.
As for the CPU, the software can automatically overclock and clock-tune your device if you’re unfamiliar with manual fine-tuning. AMD Overdrive Utility will take your current system’s capabilities into account and provide you with the optimal overclocking settings.
In addition, it’s the best CPU overclocking software if you also want to manage other factors. That’s because the program can also monitor the voltage, memory clock performance, and memory timing. Moreover, it even has stability tests so you can more easily avoid the risk of getting a system failure.
On the other hand, AMD Overdrive Utility isn’t ideal for everyone. For one, it’s not compatible with other chipsets and processors apart from those AMD produces. Hence, you must look elsewhere if you’re using Intel.
Furthermore, AMD has discontinued support for the software. As a result, it will no longer release bug fixes or upgrades for the program moving forward. If you want supported software, consider trying AMD Ryzen Master instead.
2. AMD Ryzen Master
- Fully supported by AMD
- Lets you overclock the RAM and GPU as well
- Provides four different profiles for personalized overclocking settings
- Allows you to monitor the system status
- The user interface is clean and friendly
- Only compatible with AMD products
What software can I use to overclock my AMD CPU? If you want the best overclocking software for AMD CPUs, then the AMD Ryzen Master is your best option. That’s because AMD produces the program themselves so it’s completely compatible with the company’s processors.
Moreover, unlike AMD Overdrive Utility, the company still fully supports AMD Ryzen Master. Hence, you’ll likely get better updates for bug fixes and better features in the future. The app is also much easier to find and download, as there are more credible sources for it.
Apart from this, AMD Ryzen Master performs like a beast for AMD products. It can tune your computer’s performance and overclock it seamlessly. Moreover, it can even work on AMD’s other products like their memory and GPUs.
In addition, the software allows you to personalize your settings to different applications by providing four profiles. With these, you can switch between different settings for different tasks, prioritizing various processes based on your needs. You can modify the memory timings, set the optimal cores, and adjust graphics frequencies to your liking for each profile.
Lastly, like AMD Overdrive Utility, this software also lets you monitor the status of different processes in real-time. Thus, you can manage your system’s performance and limits much easier. The software also provides reporting features to give you a much-needed understanding of each core’s current clock rate and temperature.
3. ClockTuner For Ryzen (CTR)
- Fully automated software for overclocking
- Optimizes OC
- User-friendly even for novices
- Performs stress tests automatically for risk management
- Third-party programs can be problematic at times
- Restricted to Zen 2 and 3 CPUs
Are you looking for the best CPU overclocking software that’s also user-friendly? Then we recommend ClockTuner For Ryzen (CTR), a CPU overclocking software AMD products can benefit from. Like AMD Ryzen Master, this program was designed with AMD’s Ryzen processors in mind.
However, unlike most other overclocking software, this one is more user-friendly. That’s because it works as a fully automated program that can overclock your CPU without requiring manual tweaking. Hence, you don’t need to find ideal clock speeds and voltage or frequency settings combinations to optimize the processor.
CTR will do that for you. It does this by analyzing your CPU’s “silicon quality.” From there, the program will calculate your system’s optimal overclocking settings and adjust the frequencies and voltages. The result will produce the ideal overclock and may even use an undervolted setting for your device.
Apart from this, CTR will also perform some stress tests to stabilize your system and minimize risks. As a result, you get a completely optimized CPU that’s still energy efficient. With that said, CTR is the best CPU overclocking software if you’re a complete novice.
On the other hand, CTR isn’t the ideal software for everybody. That’s because, for one, it’s made by a third party called 1USMUS. Third-party software isn’t exactly bad for the most part. However, it can introduce some complications.
For example, CTR is only compatible with Zen 2 and Zen 3 CPUs and APUs. Hence, it’s not the best CPU overclocking software for all AMD users. Moreover, it’s probably not as optimized for AMD as AMD Ryzen Master is.
4. CPU Tweaker 2.0
- Lightweight program
- Includes performance monitoring
- Provides you with memory-controlling features
- Support for VCore and VDimm
- Not user-friendly
- Only compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 2003, 7, and 8
If you need the best CPU overclocking software that doesn’t eat too much storage, we suggest CPU Tweaker 2.0. It’s a fairly lightweight application so it won’t fill up your SSD. However, despite the tiny size, CPU Tweaker 2.0 packs a lot of power.
It can overclock and optimize your CPU performance like most other competent programs. Moreover, it has handy built-in features that can control your memory so you can tweak the memory timings. The app also lets you monitor the processor’s overall performance.
However, despite its inherent power, we don’t recommend CPU Tweaker 2.0 to beginner overclockers. That’s because it has one of the most unfriendly user interfaces on the market. Moreover, it’s a little complicated to use if you have no experience. Hence, we can only suggest it as one of the best CPU overclocking software for those knowledgeable enough about overclocking. It’s also only compatible with older Windows versions like Windows XP, 2003, and Vista. The most recent versions it supports are Windows 7 and 8.
- Provides comprehensive information regarding various system statuses
- Allows you to monitor important data related to overclocking
- Includes RAM and other hardware profiling and monitoring
- CPU-Z cannot overclock your system and only acts as a companion program
- An additional installation may be inconvenient for some users
CPU-Z is a little different from other CPU overclocking software. That’s because it’s designed to monitor or document things related to your computer while you’re overclocking it. Hence, it’s not exactly designed to overclock your CPU. Nonetheless, it’s a solid companion program if your original CPU overclocking software doesn’t provide built-in monitoring tools.
With CPU-Z, you can monitor your system from a wide variety of angles. You can check the profile of your RAM, hardware components, motherboard chipsets, and even your CPU. Moreover, the software can provide you with data regarding your timing, memory size, type, module specifications, and more.
Apart from this, it can also monitor your core frequency, memory frequency, CPU load, CPU temperature, and fan speeds. These are certainly important features to keep track of, especially when you’re overclocking your device. After all, one wrong move might damage your CPU altogether and render it useless.
With that said, CPU-Z is certainly a handy companion app for the best CPU overclocking software. While its main uses concern documenting, monitoring, and validating clock speeds, it’s indispensable to the overclocking enthusiast.
- Clean user-interface
- Allows you to monitor various system statuses
- It cannot overclock the CPU
Like CPU-Z, HWMonitor isn’t counted as one of the best CPU overclocking software. That’s because it’s more useful for monitoring your computer’s system statuses rather than overclocking your processor. With it, you can find the temperature and fan speeds of every part of your computer.
What’s more, unlike most other software, HWMonitor comes with a user-friendly interface that makes it usable even for novices. Hence, you can find out the essential information while overclocking your PC to ensure it doesn’t overheat. Moreover, it’s great for managing your different computer’s components so that you can more easily find the optimal clock speeds.
7. Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel XTU)
- Compatible with the latest Intel CPUs
- Proprietary software made by Intel
- Provides reliable overclocking capabilities
- Allows you to monitor different system statuses
- Includes stress testing
- Incompatible with some CPUs due to limitations
- Only compatible with Windows 10 (64-bit)
Most of the best CPU overclocking software we’ve discussed so far has been tailored to AMD. However, what if you’re not a fan of AMD or are using a competitor brand like Intel? Is there an Intel overclocking software? Moreover, what is the best overclocking software for Intel CPUs?
Thankfully, there is one that’s perfectly optimized for Intel CPUs. It’s called Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (or Intel XTU). As the name implies, it was created by Intel itself. Hence, it’s the best CPU overclocking software for Intel computers.
With it, you can overclock your processor, tune the performance, and even monitor the performance while you’re at it. Moreover, what distinguishes it from the rest is that it can optimize the latest Intel processors.
Overall, it has most of the features other reliable overclocking programs offer. This not only includes overclocking capabilities but stress testing features as well. As a result, you can test your CPU’s limits every time you make modifications to the settings. This allows you to find the optimal (and most stable) setting for overclocking your CPU.
In addition, unlike other programs, XTU can communicate with your motherboard’s BIOS. Hence, you don’t need to restart the device every time you overclock your CPU. XTU also boosts your memory performance, allowing you to get even better performance.
However, while XTU is ideal for Intel computers, it does have incompatibilities with some CPUs due to Intel’s limitations. Furthermore, it requires a 64-bit Windows 10 machine for it to operate.
8. Intel Performance Maximizer
- Provides you with setting recommendations
- Analyzes your system for you
- User-friendly interface
- Includes a user manual
- Provides built-in testing and monitoring
- Optimized for unlocked 9th and 10th generation Intel CPUs so it may not be as smooth on other versions
- Only compatible with 64-bit RS5 Windows 10 or newer
If you need CPU overclocking software – the Intel Performance Maximizer is a solid option. That’s because it was designed to optimize the performance of unlocked 9th and 10th-generation Intel CPUs.
Apart from this, what makes this the best CPU overclocking software is that it provides you with setting recommendations. It can automatically scan and analyze your system and give you suggestions on the optimal settings. Hence, unlike other software, you don’t need to manually test and tweak every setting yourself.
Moreover, this system not only provides convenience but also ensures your computer is safe from meltdowns or damage. That’s because apart from providing optimal settings, it also lets you know the maximum parameters for each setting. With these, you have a guide on what not to surpass to ensure the safety of your device.
In addition, unlike older software, Intel Performance Maximizer is the best CPU overclocking software if you want a user-friendly program. The UI is easy to navigate and can even automatically overclock your system if you’re a beginner. You don’t even need to access the BIOS settings to make adjustments.
Furthermore, Intel has also provided a step-by-step manual to help beginners and experts alike overclock using this program. It has safety regulations, tips and tricks you can follow, and even suggestions for backups.
Lastly, this software provides built-in tests and features that allow you to monitor overclocking stability. Hence, your computer should be perfectly safe as long as you follow the guidelines.
- Solid specialized software for adjusting FSB speed
- Reliable performance
- Better used by professionals or experienced overclockers
- Not easy to use
SetFSB is among the best CPU overclocking software if you specifically need to modify your Front Side Bus (FSB) speed. That’s because it’s specially designed for that task. With the special slider, you can boost or slow down the FSB to any speed you desire. This fine-tunes your CPU speed, modifying the performance overall.
However, despite its usefulness, we don’t recommend SetFSB to beginners. That’s because it’s a more advanced tool that’s better used by power users. After all, adjusting the FSB can be tricky and you need better comprehension of system optimization to use it well. Hence, beginner or even intermediate overclockers must be cautious when using the program.
How To Overclock CPU
The best CPU overclocking software can easily allow you to make adjustments to your CPU’s settings. However, simply running the software won’t do much but take up RAM on your computer. You must know how to work the program to take advantage of it.
Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer if you’re asking about how to overclock your CPU. That’s because each processor and motherboard is different, offering different capabilities and BIOS options. Hence, we cannot provide a comprehensive guide for how to overclock CPUs. It’s much better to refer to guides given by your overclocking software of choice.
Nonetheless, we can provide you with basic knowledge of what to do. What must you remember when you’re overclocking the CPU?
Add Cooling Mechanisms
Firstly, remember to ensure that your device has ample cooling. That’s because overclocking your CPU will increase the voltage and heat the device produces. Most CPUs come with a heatsink and fan built-in. However, while these do cool your computer, they’re only designed to regulate the heat generated by regular performance.
As a result, these cooling mechanisms may not be equipped to handle overclocked temperatures. Hence, we generally recommend adding more cooling options when you’re overclocking your device. You can do this by purchasing an aftermarket heatsink that can help regulate the temperature.
In addition, you may even purchase a better CPU fan that can reduce hot air better. Regardless, you must have ample space inside your CPU case if you want to add these cooling options to it. Thus, you may also need to upgrade your computer’s case.
Try Water Cooling
What is the best way to overclock a CPU to ensure it’s safe? By using water-cooling. Adding water to electronics may seem counterintuitive (and even dangerous) at first glance. However, it is a decent option if you want to overclock your unit to its maximum capacity.
Fortunately, many water cooling mechanisms exist in the market. These work by pumping water-based coolants through various tubes within a case.
As a result, the tubes absorb the heat produced by your computer’s processor. The computer itself won’t get wet, but it will benefit from the cool temperature produced by your water-cooling mechanism. It’s the best way to more efficiently cool your CPU — even better than air cooling.
However, remember that water-based cooling is fairly expensive. Therefore, we only recommend it if you’re a hardcore overclocker and want to push your system to its limits. Apart from looking for the best CPU overclocking software, make sure to consider this carefully.
Overclock In The BIOS
Even the best CPU overclocking software will require you to access the BIOS. That’s because this is where you can access and modify your processor’s clock rate and voltage. Each time you access it, you can increase the settings by a tiny bit and then boot your system.
Afterward, you must check whether or not your device is still stable. You can run a CPU-heavy benchmark to try to simulate heavy usage. Then monitor your device’s temperature and power to ensure it’s cooling properly. If it remains stable, you may increase the settings in increments and repeat the process.
Once the heat becomes too much, it means you may have hit a safety threshold. When this happens, drop the settings back down incrementally until your system stabilizes.
Is Overclocking Safe For Your CPU
Even if you’re using the best CPU overclocking software, this process isn’t always safe. That’s because CPUs were meant to perform at certain speeds and clock rates, even if the manufacturer provides overclocking software.
To overclock a CPU means to push its temperature and power consumption much higher than intended. This can result in damages and software issues, forcing your computer to showcase the dreaded blue screen. If it doesn’t completely damage your system, it can still destabilize it quite a bit, resulting in malfunctions and errors.
Of course, if you can manage to control the temperature and power, overclocking can be perfectly safe. However, you must always proceed cautiously when you’re doing this.
Pros And Cons Of Overclocking CPU
Canvassing for the best CPU overclocking software should come last if you’re considering overclocking your device for the first time. The more important decision to make is whether you should do it or not. With that said, it’s important to weigh the advantages and downsides of the act before you begin. What are they?
In terms of advantages, overclocking can provide a lot. That’s because it can push your CPU’s performance, allowing it to handle intensive tasks. For example, your computer may be able to edit videos more efficiently when it’s overclocked. Creative apps like photoshop or illustrator may also benefit from the performance boost.
Furthermore, overclocking is more alluring because you don’t need to buy a new computer just to get better performance. Hence, you can save more money by simply overclocking your device and buying simple cooling mechanisms.
However, you must also deal with the downsides when you consider this. For example, overclocking your CPU puts it at risk of damage. In the worst case, you may have a complete meltdown and the computer might break altogether.
Furthermore, overclocking isn’t as useful in recent years as it was in the past. That’s because most modern CPUs are already capable of most of the things people need them for. Hence, there’s little need to overclock most modern devices.
Sometimes overclocking only yields minor improvements. This means that it isn’t as worth doing as it was back then. Moreover, the fact that you void your warranty upon overclocking devices should also deter you from doing so.
Finding the best CPU overclocking software is important if you want to push your device to its maximum capacity. The right program can make the process more convenient and allow you to monitor things more easily. However, remember to consider whether overclocking is the right thing to do for your situation. After all, it has many risks associated with it so it’s not always worth doing.