How To Underclock CPU (Step by Step Guide)

Being an enthusiast laptop savvy, Evan Charles shares his wisdom on LaptopEcho to help others pick the right machine. He loves guiding people to get...

A computer’s CPU comprises multiple cores that perform computing tasks. Each of these cores operates at a manufacturer’s predetermined speed, referred to as CPU clock speed. Most advanced computer users tend to decrease or increase the CPU clock speed to match their processing requirements. It’s called underclocking or overclocking.

But what is underclocking a CPU anyway? Underclocking/downclocking is the modification of your computer’s CPU settings to run at a lower clock speed than its manufacturer’s default. Underclocking is often done at the manufacturer level; however, the user can also do it.

Overclocking your CPU comes with many more benefits than drawbacks. This modification intends to keep optimal CPU performance while acting on different processes. This article looks at how to underclock CPU and its consequences and answers a few of your frequently asked questions. Let’s get started.

Article Summary:

  • Underclocking, often referred to as downclocking, is safe if correctly done. However, it can sometimes cause random freezes and crashes to your computer.
  • Setting up your computer to operate differently than intended by the manufacturer can result in unexpected problems. Only attempt this procedure if you’re an advanced user.
  • Underclocking your computer voids its warranty.
  • Generally, underclocking is safe. It minimizes the amount of power directed to the CPU, which helps cool it hence less heat output.

Is It Possible To Underclock A CPU?

Underclocking a CPU has become common among most computer users, such as gamers and graphic designers. It is a technique that allows users to lower their CPU clock rate to reduce power consumption and noise, prevent overheating, and improve computer performance.

Is It Possible To Underclock A CPU

Most modern laptops, notebooks, and desktop processors will automatically underclock the central processing unit when handling light processing tasks. Additionally, you can manually downclock your CPU to a custom clock speed as you prefer. Here are some benefits of underclocking a CPU:

  • Maintains optimum CPU performance.
  • Prevents thermal throttling.
  • Prevents overheating.
  • Reduces excessive power consumption.
  • Extends battery life.
  • Extends the lifespan of internal hardware components.

Is CPU Underclocking Safe?

While underclocking a CPU is safe, knowing the potential risks associated with this tweak is essential. If correctly done, underclocking your CPU results in lower power consumption, improved performance, and extended battery life. Thus, you save money in terms of electricity bills.

However, a few risks are related to CPU downclocking, including decreased data access speed, system instability, crashes, and reduced lifespan of other internal computer components like the hard drive. Most common problems include regular freezing and BSOD (Blue Screen of Death).

How To Underclock CPU?

Before attempting to underclock your CPU, it’s essential to know why you’re doing it. If you are underclocking your CPU to minimize thermals and increase its lifespan, that’s a good idea. If you are using a laptop, keep in mind that your CPU automatically underclocks itself when unplugged from the charger. Nonetheless, if you still want to underclock it as per your preference, here is how:

How To Underclock CPU

Underclock Your CPU With Windows

How to underclock a CPU in Windows 10 is relatively easy. There are two approaches here. You can underclock the central processing unit (CPU) by lowering its thermal design point (TDP) through the processor power management or Intel thermal framework settings. Follow these easy steps to underclock a CPU without BIOS:

Underclock Your CPU With Windows

  • Step 1: Click the start button (Windows logo) on the menu bar.
  • Step 2: Go to [Settings] and click [System]. Select [Power & Sleep].
  • Step 3: Navigate to [Related Settings] and choose [Additional Power Settings].
  • Step 4: Click [Change Plan Settings]. Select [Change Advanced Power Settings].
  • Step 5: Click the dropdown menu button on Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Settings.
  • Step 6: Click to expand the dropdown menu button on [Config TDP] and select [Battery].
  • Step 7: Choose [Low TDP] and click apply to save your settings.

Alternatively, use the second method below if there’s no Intel Dynamic Platform option on your computer. In most cases, for computers with AMD chips.

  • Step 1: Click the start button (Windows logo) on the menu bar.
  • Step 2: Go to [Settings] and click [System]. Select [Power & Sleep].
  • Step 3: Navigate to [Related Settings] and choose [Additional Power Settings].
  • Step 4: Click [Change Plan Settings]. Select [Change Advanced Power Settings].
  • Step 5: Click to expand the dropdown menu button on [Processor Power Management].
  • Step 6: Click to expand the dropdown menu button on [Maximum Processor State].
  • Step 7: Select [Battery].
  • Step 8: Adjust your desired CPU clock rate level (percentage).
  • Step 9: Click [Apply] to save changes.

Underclock Your CPU With BIOS

Depending on your computer’s CPU and motherboard, the BIOS (Basic Input Output Setup) setting has unique controls that modify the processor’s multiplier and Front Side Bus (FSB) speed. These two parameters contain options for adjusting your CPU speed (Overclocking or Underclocking). Here is how to underclock a CPU in BIOS:

Underclock Your CPU With BIOS

Using CPU Multiplier:

  • Step 1: Turn on your computer while pressing the BIOS setup key (usually Del, F10, F2, F1, or F12).
  • Step 2: Click the [Advanced Settings] tab.
  • Step 3: Select [CPU Multiplier]. Check for settings with the name “Clock” or “CPU Ratio.”
  • Step 4: Select the [CPU Multiplier Clock] option and adjust the value to the next available lower option. For example, if your default multiplier value is set to 12, lower it to 10.
  • Step 5: Press [F10] to save changes and exit.

Using Front Side Bus (FSB):

  • Step 1: Turn on your computer while pressing the BIOS setup key (usually Del, F10, F2, F1, or F12).
  • Step 2: Click the [Advanced Settings] tab.
  • Step 3: Select [CPU Frequency]. Check for settings with the name “Clock”, “FSB” or “Frequency.”
  • Step 4: Adjust the frequency value to the next available lower option. For example, if your default value is 266MHz, lower it to 233MHz.
  • Step 5: Press [F10] to save changes and exit.

What Happens If You Underclock Your Cpu Too Much?

An underclocked CPU is comparable to a double-edged sword. Despite its numerous benefits, there are also risks associated with it if incorrectly done. If you’re a beginner and unsure of what you’re doing, it’s wise to seek expert assistance.

Although underclocking cannot damage your computer, overdoing it can cause your System to be unstable; thus, you experience regular freezing, crashing, and BSOD. If you experience such issues after underclocking your CPU, try increasing the clock rate value you set earlier and restart your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will underclocking the CPU reduce heat?

The answer is YES! Your CPU generates heat scaling linearly with its clock speed. So, by decreasing your CPU clock speed, you subsequently reduce the amount of heat it generates. If you wish to effectively reduce the amount of heat generated while your CPU is slightly underclocked, try tweaking its voltage (undervolting).

Does underclocking increase lifespan?

Yes. Underclocking significantly increases your CPU’s lifespan. We all agree heat (high temperature) is not your processor’s best friend. Therefore, when you underclock a CPU to reduce temperature, you expand its life expectancy. Also worth noting, underclocking your CPU increases your laptop’s battery life.

Does underclocking reduce performance?

Underclocking a CPU does not lower its performance. It is a great way to minimize CPU power usage, heat, and fan noise from your computer. This way, you also maintain better clock performance. Be careful not to overdo it, as it will make your System unstable.

Can RAM be Underclocked?

Unfortunately, NO. You cannot underclock the RAM. Random Access Memory is a volatile memory that is in constant use immediately after booting your computer. If you attempt to alter its speed, it will crash your System. However, inserting a 1600MHz RAM into a 1333MHz motherboard will automatically downclock for compatibility.

Can you underclock a CPU in BIOS?

Yes. Generally, there are two ways to underclock a CPU. One will be through the windows settings, or the second way is through the BIOS settings. Depending on your computer manufacturer, the BIOS settings window can be accessed by pressing the F1, F2, F5, F12, or Del keys on your keyboard. Once you’re in the BIOS, select “Advanced Settings” and find “CPU Frequency .”From there, you can underclock or overclock your CPU as you desire.

Conclusion

Underclocking/downclocking is a superb and straightforward way to lower your computer’s CPU heat and extend its lifespan, subsequently improving your laptop’s battery life. Although doing this makes your computer somewhat slower, it is worth the trade-off. It is great for computers that often run very hot and drain your Battery.

After reading this article, we hope you can underclock your CPU as you prefer. Before you attempt any procedure discussed in this text, make sure you know exactly what you are doing. We’ll not be responsible for any damages caused to your computer as a result of underclocking. Also, keep in mind that underclocking voids your System’s warranty.

Evan Charles

Evan Charles

Being an enthusiast laptop savvy, Evan Charles shares his wisdom on LaptopEcho to help others pick the right machine. He loves guiding people to get the best out of their laptops as he does.

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