PC Components

What Is a CPU’s Maximum Frequency?

Cpu

A computer needs a CPU where it performs complex tasks at incredible speed. The faster a program load depends on the speed of the CPU. You can find the current running speed of your PC by going to the resources monitoring tab on your PC. But if you have ever played around your PC’s resource monitoring CPU tab, you might have seen a status box and graph that says maximum frequency. So, what does the CPU maximum frequency mean? 

Quick Answer

A CPU’s maximum frequency or maximum clock speed is the highest speed the CPU can attain while processing any task. The maximum frequency of a CPU is measured in GHz. The higher the CPU’s maximum frequency, the faster the CPU. 

The number of cores on a CPU can also influence the maximum frequency of the PC. If your PC is running at maximum frequency, it can be beneficial and detrimental to the health of your PC. Find out more about the CPU maximum frequency of a PC. 

How To Increase and Reduce the CPU Maximum Frequency

There might be things you need to know when you want to use your PC at its maximum frequency. For example, when gaming or running a resource-intensive program, having your CPU functioning at its peak can help ensure the experience with the program is smooth. Reserving resources during these times would only make the program lag or not function at its best. 

Sadly, using your CPU at its maximum frequency can quickly cause heat buildup. And when used for a prolonged time, significantly, when the fan is not functioning effectively can damage your CPU. For this reason, you need to know how to increase or reduce the CPU maximum frequency when necessary depending on the tasks you want to perform. 

Method #1: Increase It With a Turbo Boost

Turbo boosting is a feature that enables you to force your processor’s core to run faster. However, doing this requires more power usage and causes the temperature of the processor to increase. Enabling turbo boost is only available on a few select Intel and AMD processors. So, if your processor does not support turbo boost, then there is no way you can increase the frequency of your CPU past what is indicated on the PC. 

Although with a few tweaking in the command prompt, you should be able to get your processor, even if it does not support turbo boost, to run consistently at maximum frequency.  

Here’s how to enable turbo boost on a Windows PC.

  1. Reboot your laptop and press the F9 key repeatedly to enter the “System Utility” screen.  
  2. In the “System Utility” screen, tap on the “System Configuration” tab and click on the BIOS Platform Configuration settings. 
  3. Tap on the “Performance Option” and select “Turbo Boosting Technology” from the option. 
  4. Toggle the switch for the Turbo Boosting Technology on to enable it, and then press F10 to save and exit the “System Utility” screen. 
Quick Tip

For some PCs, to enter the “System Utility” screen, you may have to press F1, while some PCs use F2. So to be sure what works on your PC, refer back to your manufacturer’s website to confirm which key works for your brand. 

Method #2: Reduce It With Power Saver Mode

The benefits of lowering CPU maximum frequency are numerous. If your CPU runs on maximum frequency for a prolonged time, it can cause your PC to overheat. Unless you have a specific use for your PC to run at such capacity, you should reduce the processing power of your PC to only what you need. For instance, when CPU frequency is at the required level, your PC will not overheat, power consumption will be optimal, and it will protect your PC’s overall health.  

Here’s how to reduce CPU maximum frequency with power saver mode.

  1. On a Windows 10 PC, tap on the Windows icon at the bottom left side of your screen, scroll down and click on the Settings app.
  2. Tap on “System”, and from the left panel, tap on “Battery”
  3. Toggle the “Battery Saver” switch ON to enable the battery saver.  
  4. Click on the “Battery Settings” option, then scroll down to the “Battery Saver” section and tap on the check box to disable the “Turn battery saver on automatically if the battery falls below” option. 
Keep in Mind

You cannot enable the battery-saver feature when charging your PC. However, you can reduce CPU usage while your PC charges to conserve power or get the best performance.

Conclusion 

Ideally, the CPU processes tasks pretty fast despite the default CPU frequency not being at its maximum. Hence, the CPU frequency shouldn’t be at its maximum, except if you are doing something resource-intensive. Even if your PC clocks this maximum frequency, it should only be for a moment, after which it should drop. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I need to worry about adjusting the CPU maximum frequency? 

Generally, except if you are an advanced PC user, you don’t have to worry about adjusting the CPU maximum frequency. This is because the CPU is an intelligent component that automatically increases or reduces its maximum frequency depending on the task you are doing on it. 

Is it safe for my CPU to run at maximum frequency? 

It is perfectly safe for a CPU to run at maximum frequency. However, during that period, you would notice slight changes in your PC’s power usage and temperature. But if your PC’s maximum frequency usage becomes constant, it becomes a problem. 

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