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[ANSWERED] What Does Overclocking CPU and RAM Do For Gaming?

    ✅ Fact Checked
    Updated on October 6, 2022
    John Chad, Bachelor Computer Science Degree & Computer Engineering.
    Written by
    John Chad, Bachelor Degree in Computer Science & Computer Engineering.
    Russel Collins
    Fact Checked by
    Russel Collins
    John is a certified IT & Computer Engineer with a Bachelors Degree. He has worked for a International Insurance Company in the IT department before deciding to become a full time blogger to help his readers. Holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.

    If you are a gamer and want to know what overclocking your CPU and RAM does, then this is the post for you. We will discuss what it means to overclock, as well as how overclocking can help increase your gaming performance and whether or not it’s worth doing.

    What is Overclocking?

    The most basic explanation of overclocking(Also known as OC) is “to run a piece of hardware at speeds above what the manufacturer has set as its specification”. Overclocking can be done in one of two ways: manually or automatically. Manual overclocking usually involves changing settings on your motherboard to increase the clock speed that it uses, but this will likely lead to instability and other issues with your system if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    Automatic overclocking works by using software like Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) which allows you to change the frequency without having to deal with BIOS changes. XTU also takes care of all adjustments necessary for stability so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your computer crashes after doing some manual tweaking.

    We still recommend everyone to learn about manual overclocking and how to do it properly as it gives you a far better boost as long as you learn how to properly tweak it without damaging your system.

    What Does Overclocking CPU and RAM Do For Gaming?

    Overclocking allows you to make adjustments in order to achieve maximum performance. For gamers, it is especially important because this can lead to a better gameplay experience in terms of FPS(Framer Per Second) and overall fluidity when playing the game.

    Some games may run slower on a computer if it is not at the proper specifications, low FPS is a pain in the butt for any gamer, hence overclocking being a solution rather than simply buying a new computer.

    Therefore, OC’ing your CPU/RAM can help you get the best gaming experience possible. It also ensures that other tasks will be completed quicker such as video editing/rendering, since these components have more power to use than they would normally.

    CPU in specific, improves FPS mostly by improving processing speed/power.

    RAM improves the speed at which memory is read which can improve stability, fluidity, improve loading times, etc…

    Benefits of Overclocking Your CPU/RAM

    – Overclocking both CPU and RAM will help improve performance during gaming.

    – Overall Performance is increased for your system.

    – Stability of the CPU/RAM may be improved, which can lead to a reduction in crashes or errors during gameplay.

    – For any type of content creator who needs their computer to work quickly on tasks such as video editing/rendering, OC’ing will allow them to do these things faster than if it was not at an optimum performance state.

    – If you are running other programs in parallel with your gaming session (ex: listening to music while playing), then overclocking allows those applications to run smoother & even more applications at the same time.

    Downsides of Overclocking

    – There is a chance that there might be a decrease in performance instead of increasing. It all depends on what settings are being changed when overclocked; some games have more stable framerates with certain combinations of changes than others do. It also depends on how you overclocked, if the system is stable or not, etc. Be aware before changing anything!

    – System stability may actually decrease & lead to the well-known “Bluescreen of Death” or overall crashes while gaming or visual glitches. It’s important to carefully and slowly tweak your OC to avoid system instability.

    Chances of crashing while playing high graphics settings are much more likely when overclocked, so keep an eye out for these errors! It’s important to ensure that everything is working smoothly with every tweak while OC’ing.

    – There needs to be adequate airflow around the PC case for efficient heat dissipation during those intense moments of gameplay. Otherwise, components will start overheating.

    When is it worth OC’ing and when is it not?

    First, you must find if your CPU and motherboard allow overclocking, and then find your maximum overclocked settings.

    If you are not sure what to do, consult the motherboard and CPU manual before doing anything else!

    Generally, for Intel CPUs, it needs to have the “k” at the end of the model to allow OC’ing, these are called unlocked models, while all Ryzen CPUs are unlocked right off the bat.

    To know if your motherboard allows it, if you don’t have the manual, Google “[Brand] [Model] overclock” and see if yours allows it. Usually for intel CPU’s only the Z chipset allows it such as the: Z390, Z490, Z590, etc… For Ryzen all motherboards allow it such as B450, B550, X470, X570, etc… Although the X chipset is better & more stable.

    When it is worth overclocking:

    – You have a high-end processor with an unlocked multiplier, such as an Intel Core K series, and the motherboard supports OC’ing.

    – Your CPU is bottlenecking your GPU in heavy scenes – for example: you are playing 1080p at 60 FPS or higher on Ultra settings, but when fighting against bosses (or other intensive tasks) drops to 30 fps. Optimizing your CPU will help it keep up with those intense moments which helps maintain a stable framerate and make gameplay more enjoyable.

    – Boosts the performance of older CPUs that do not meet minimum requirements for contemporary games.