How to overclock your CPU

Boost your PCs power by learning how to overclock your CPU

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AMD: Ryzen Master

If you’re running an AMD processor, the steps you take are very much the same as with an Intel CPU, but since you’ll be using a different piece of software, they aren’t identical. If you are running an AMD Ryzen processor from 2017 onward, the software we recommend for beginner overclockers is AMD’s own Ryzen Master software. Download the utility from AMD’s website, and install it like you would any other application.

If you are running an older AMD processor, we would recommend AMD Overdrive instead. The following instructions still apply, but the layout of the software does differ slightly so make sure to double check what your’re doing before making any changes.

Note: You can use the BIOS to overclock your AMD CPU, but we would recommend using Windows software for your first attempt as it is easier and quicker.

Step 1: Stress test

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Before we begin overclocking our AMD CPU, we need to make sure that it won’t exceed safe temperatures. Although Ryzen Master has its own built-in stress test, it doesn’t last very long. Instead we recommend the AIDA64 Extreme tool and its stability test. Download the free trial from the official website and install it like you would any other application. If you like the tool, consider buying a full license for up to three PCs for $40.

Open it and select Tools from the top menu and then Stability test. Press Start when ready and leave your PC for around an hour. Make sure that at no point during testing do the temperatures exceed 80 degrees. If they do, you’ll want to improve your CPU cooling before trying to overclock. If you have some temperature headroom to play with though, we can begin overclocking your system.

Step 2: Frequencies

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Ryzen Master doesn’t give you manual control over CPU multipliers, instead it has clock speeds for each individual core which you can adjust on their own, or across all cores. To do so, select Profile 1 or 2 from the bottom menu. Then, set Control Mode to manual, and make sure that All Cores is selected and green in the left-hand menu. If not, click it to change its status. You can now adjust the frequencies of all cores at the same time.

Click the “+” symbol on any of the cores to raise their frequency by 25MHz. When you’ve done so, press Apply and Test from the top menu. This will apply the frequency adjustment you’ve made and then run Ryzen Master’s built-in stability test tool to make sure that the overclock is stable. Keep an eye on the temperature reading in the top-left of the window. If the test passes successfully and temperatures remain low enough, raise it by another 25MHz and repeat the stability test.

If the test fails or your temperature exceeds 80 degrees, lower the frequency back down again. If your system crashes or locks up, after a restart, make sure to not exceed safe and stable frequencies in the future.

Note: You can raise the frequency in larger increments if you prefer, but you stand a greater risk of your system locking or crashing if you do so.

When you’ve found the highest frequency you can get to without the system failing the test or crashing, open AIDA64 again and run a longer stability test. If it too passes, you have successfully overclocked your system. If it doesn’t, lower the frequency one step more and repeat the process until you find a frequency that the test will complete safely on.

If you want to overclock further, or would like to try to make an overclock stable, we can try adjusting voltages too.

Step 3: Voltage Control

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Increasing the voltage of a CPU can improve the stability of an overclock or allow you to overclock further. However, it can dramatically increase temperatures and if you push it too high, can damage your processsor, so proceed with caution and only make small adjustments at a time. A safe voltage for most AMD CPUs should exceed 1.4, but we would always recommend you look up your specific CPU to make sure that you don’t set the voltage too high.

If you are happy to proceed, select your chosen Profile and make sure that Voltage control has a green circle next to it. Select if it doesn’t. Then, use the arrows to the right of that setting to increase the voltage by one and press Apply and Test to see if the overclock is stable. If it is, as before, run the AIDA64 test for an hour to see if it is stable over longer periods of time. If it crashes or freezes, try increasing the voltage further. If your system or CPU gets too hot, you should lower the voltage and improve your cooling before going any further.

Step 4: Rinse and repeat

Once you’ve found a stable frequency and voltage, congratulations! You can now try to increase frequencies further if you have some more voltage and temperature headroom, or save your profile so that you have all the settings locked down for the future.

Ryzen Master should start up with Windows, so when it asks you for admin approval, give it and your overclock will be applied. If it doesn’t, you can always start the app yourself and manually Apply the overclock.

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