Overclocking: Worth It or Not?


By: Vinh Lam

Arguably, the most important, and often expensive, part of a computer is its CPU. For most people, the CPU is fine just the way they came. But for some, they just need that extra power, the CPU just doesn’t provide enough power. The solution? Well, there are actually two solutions. Either go out and buy a more powerful CPU or overclock it. Overclocking is defined as the action of increasing a component’s clock speed to have it run faster than it was designed to. Overclocking is, by far, the more risky option. But for those who need the extra power, is it worth it?

The answer, it depends on who they are. Overclocking can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if the person has little experience with tinkering with PCs. Overclocking often requires tinkering with voltage, fan speed, and other delicate settings. Then there is the cost.

nly certain CPUs can be overclocked. For Intel processors, the overclockable CPUs have a “K” at the end of their name. The overclockable Intel processors cost more than the standard processors. For example, the i7-8700K costs a full $70 more than the regular i7-8700. Unlike Intel, all Ryzen processors are overclockable. But for all processors, overclocking will void the warranty.

Only some motherboards will allow for overclocking and overclocking might require new coolers and power supplies as overclocked processors run hotter and draw more power than normal processors. Increasing a CPU’s clock speed by a few hundred MHz can be done with relative ease by experienced people, but increasing the clock speed by one GHz is a whole other ballpark. It would most likely require new cooling and power systems and while it is possible, most people shouldn’t attempt it. Most people won’t see much of a difference in everyday use. All in all, overclocking might not be worth the time and effort unless for most people unless they need the extra power for CPU intensive applications.