How overclocking can help you get more performance from a desktop processor

Thanks to latest technological advancements, overclocking of desktop processors is now open to gamers and enthusiasts wanting to eke out more performance from their desktop computers.

Published Date
30 - Sep - 2015
| Last Updated
02 - Oct - 2015
 
How overclocking can help you get more performance from a desktop...

In this article, we take a look at how the latest Intel®’s 6th Generation Core™ i7 and i5 processors come packed to the hilt with quite a lot of new features that are not only great for demanding tasks but also cater to the needs of enthusiast gamers. Plenty of 6th Generation Core™ i7 and i5 processors have been launched with each price segment in mind that start from 2.7 GHz and go all the way up to 4 GHz.

Series

Model

GPU

CPU Clock

CPU Turbo Clock

GPU Clock

GPU Turbo Clock

Single Core

Dual Core

Quad Core

Core™ i7

6700K

HD 530

4.0 GHz

4.2 GHz

4.0 GHz

4.0 GHz

350 MHz

1150 MHz

6700

3.4 GHz

4.0 GHz

3.9 GHz

3.7 GHz

Core™ i5

6600K

3.5 GHz

3.9 GHz

3.8 GHz

3.6 GHz

6600

3.3 GHz

3.9 GHz

3.8 GHz

3.6 GHz

6500

3.2 GHz

3.6 GHz

3.5 GHz

3.3 GHz

1050 Mhz

6400

2.7 GHz

3.3 GHz

3.3 GHz

3.1 GHz

950 Mhz

 

*2

Overclocking is easier than you thought
Out of the box, these 6th Generation Core™ i7 and i5 processors perform really well but that’s not it, you can get a lot more from these processors, especially if you subscribe to the enthusiast creed. Regardless of what you peg yourself to be, it’s really simple to overclock Intel® processors.

*3 Source: ASUS UEFI motherboard screenshot. For Illustration only.

Most motherboards come with BIOS presets which you can select either from within the BIOS or by using the motherboard manufacturer’s bundled software while running windows. And for those who’re wary about doing either, then you might want to check out motherboards that come with smartphone apps that aid overclocking. The Intel® ecosystem has become wonderfully user-friendly and simple but you can always tinker with the advanced options should the need ever arise. To summarise the new features, aside from a fully unlocked turbo clock, the Intel® Core™ i7 6700K features a fully unlocked Base Clock (BCLK) that allows you to increment the BCLK by 1 MHz in each iteration. Moreover, with this new processor you can raise the memory frequency all the way to 4133 MT/s as compared to the Core™ i7 4790K which only went till 2667 MT/s.*1

Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking)

Here’s how you can overclock your 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 and i5 processor:

Step 1: Enter BIOS

Reboot your computer and press the appropriate key to enter BIOS. Usually, you can do so by tapping the ‘Delete’ key.

Step 2: Increase the multiplier

With UEFI BIOS, it has become really simple to navigate the BIOS. You might see a tab titled ‘OC’, ‘Advanced CPU’, ‘Advanced Frequency Settings’ or ‘AI Tweaker’ depending on your motherboard. Here you need to find an option labelled CPU Multiplier and then input your desired multiplier. To start off you can pick any number between 5-8 in excess of your current multiplier. So if your CPU is clocked at 4 GHz then it is quite likely that the multiplier is set to 40 with a base clock of 100 MHz. Increase it by 5-8 i.e. make it 4.5 GHz or 4.8 GHz.

Step 3: Save your settings

Save your new settings by tapping on F10 or by navigating to the last menu tab and clicking on the ‘Save and Reboot’ option.

Once you’ve successfully rebooted into the OS you might want to run a few free benchmark software like PCMark to see if your computer is stable or not at the new overclocked frequency. And to check CPU temperatures, higher temperatures need to be avoided so you should get a better cooler for high overclocks. Advanced users might want to try SuperPi which is way quicker but needs to be handled with care. For the uninitiated, it’d be best to download Intel® Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel® XTU) (https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/24075) which does all of the above. If the new clock speed is insufficient for your needs, repeat the steps but increase the multiplier by 1x during each iteration of testing otherwise enjoy your freshly overclocked machine! Last we checked, the Intel® Core™ i7 6700K was successfully overclocked to 6998.88 MHz using liquid nitrogen and 4.8 GHz has been easily achieved using store bought liquid coolers.*4

*5 Source: Intel®.com

So how high can you go?

Of course it does, the thing to ponder over is the difference in performance that overclocking brings to the table. An Intel® Core™ i7 6700K when overclocked using the simple method described above reached speeds of 4.8 GHz easily*6 but you need to balance out the effort needed to maintain such an overclock. So overclocking with the aid of enthusiast air coolers and AIO liquid coolers is the popular approach since it doesn’t require constant attention and gives you more processing power. Clubbing CPU overclocking with high performance RAM modules will provide even better increments in performance and given the fact that you can now unleash the power of DDR4 across all of Skylake, it gets even better.

Source: Intel Press Deck. For illustration only.

*1 These are the improvements in specifications of the Intel 6700K and the information was sourced from the processor’s launch presentation, i.e. the Intel® 6th Gen Press Deck.

*2 http://ark.intel.com/products/88195/Intel-Core-i7-6700K-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4_20-GHz

http://ark.intel.com/products/88196/Intel-Core-i7-6700-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4_00-GHz

http://ark.intel.com/products/88191/Intel-Core-i5-6600K-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_90-GHz

http://ark.intel.com/products/88188/Intel-Core-i5-6600-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_90-GHz

http://ark.intel.com/products/88184/Intel-Core-i5-6500-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_60-GHz

http://ark.intel.com/products/88185/Intel-Core-i5-6400-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_30-GHz

*3 ASUS UEFI motherboard’s BIOS screenshot. For illustration only.

*4  Sourced from HWBOT. These figures are user generated and obtained from a competitive perspective. Multiple factors affect how high a processor can overclock and not all units of the same model will exhibit the same results. http://hwbot.org/submission/2951959_chi_kui_lam_cpu_frequency_core_i7_6700k_6998.88_mhz

*5 Intel Extreme Tuning Utility: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/24075

*6 Information sourced from the HWBOT leaderboard. HWBOT is a competitive overclocking community website.

Appendix

Source: Intel® 6th Gen Press Deck. For illustration only.