PC Components

How To Check if the CPU Is Overclocked

Cpu

As a beginner or advanced PC user, you must have come across the term “overclock” at a point. CPUs come with a base clock speed often measured in GHz. Overclocking the CPU means increasing the base clock speed to increase the processing speed. So, how do you know if your CPU is overclocked? 

Quick Answer

By default, CPUs don’t come shipped from factory overclocked. So, if your CPU is overclocked, then someone has altered it. You can determine whether your CPU is overclocked or not by using the control panel, BIOS, or third-party software

Apart from overclocking the CPU, you can also overclock the computer’s RAM, GPU, and other components. However, it would be best if you didn’t overclock your PC unless you explicitly need your CPU or other components to perform at a certain pace.

This article explains more about how to know if your CPU is overclocked. 

Different Ways To Check if Your CPU Is Overclocked

The reasons people overclock a PC vary. For some users, it’s a sheer need to extend the lifespan of an old PC allowing it to keep up with the time by drawing out that extra bit of power. While overclocking a PC makes it run at the highest threshold, doing so can void your warranty and damage components in your PC if not done properly. 

So, to ensure your PC is clear from the downsides of overclocking, learn more about the different ways to check if your CPU is overclocked. 

Method #1: Using the Task Manager 

Out of the different ways to check if your CPU is overclocked, using the Task Manager is the easiest. However, this method doesn’t require you to reboot or download anything. All you have to do is compare the speed value of your CPU.

Here’s how to use the Task Manager to check if your CPU is overclocked.

  1. Launch the Task Manager on your PC or use the shortcut key Ctrl + Alt + Del, then select “Task Manager” from the option. 
  2. Navigate to the “Performance” tab and check the clock speed of your CPU from the options. 
  3. If the CPU’s clock speed is higher than the base frequency, then your CPU is most likely overclocked. 

Method #2: Using BIOS 

Another method you can use to check whether or not your CPU is overclocked is by using the BIOS. Using the BIOS settings is a little bit more advanced; however, it does not require you to download any software. Also, note that the interface might differ from user to user depending on the BIOS version on your PC. 

Here’s how to use BIOS to check if your CPU is overclocked.

  1. Enter the BIOS interface by rebooting your PC and repeatedly pressing F1, F2, F10, Esc, or Del, depending on your PC. 
  2. In the BIOS interface, navigate to the CPU Settings
  3. Depending on the version of the BIOS and motherboard model, look for the “CPU voltage”, “CPU clock”, or “clock ratio”
  4. If the value is higher than the base value for your PC model, then your CPU is likely overclocked. 

Method #3: Using Third-Party Software 

Finally, you can tell your CPU is overclocked by using third-party software. Several such software you can download for free provides this information. This software includes the likes of Ryzen Master, CPU-Z, DirectX Diagnostic Tool, etc. 

Here’s how to use CPU-Z to check if your CPU is overclocked.

  1. Download and install the correct version of CPU-Z on your PC. 
  2. Launch the app and tap on the “CPU” tab. 
  3. Navigate to the “Clock” section and locate the core speed from the options. 
  4. Run a stress test and compare the core speed value with the base value for your PC model. 
  5. If the core speed value is higher than the base value for your PC during the stress test, then your PC CPU is likely overclocked.
Warning

Overclocking a CPU can cause stability issues and increase temperature and voltage requirements.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve gone through the different ways you can check if your CPU is overclocked, do well to confirm if yours is overclocked. If your CPU is overclocked and you don’t need it to be overclocked, you should reset the clock speed back to the max at its base frequency. Prolonged use of your CPU when it is overclocked can damage it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can all CPUs be overclocked? 

While the idea of overclocking a PC is great, you can’t overclock all CPUs. Only the K-series and workstations graded X series can be overclocked if you have an Intel CPU. However, you can overclock all AMD processors

Does overclocking shorten a CPU’s lifespan? 

While overclocking seems harmless, it does more damage than you might have imagined. Forcing your CPU to work at a speed it’s not particularly designed for can significantly shorten its lifespan. The reason overclocking shortens your CPU lifespan is because of heat. The effect of the increase in temperature of your CPU when under stress and overclocked will cause the CPU to degrade faster over time. Hence, your CPU performance will worsen over time. 

Is overclocking safe? 

Overclocking will push your PC hardware to its limit. However, it can be safe depending on the PC you overclock. Modern computers are built with a safeguard that powers down your PC when its temperature is too high. Hence, it’s safe to say that modern PCs are more geared to handle overclocking better. 

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