Overclocking Basics
Version 1.0

What You Need - Programs

CoreTemp - Very basic software for monitoring temps of Intel Core cpus.

Speedfan - Lays out temps in a very a nice graph. Bit more complicated than some others, but worth learning. Also able to monitor fans and hard drives

CPU-Z - Tells you anything you could want to know about your CPU and memory.

CPUBurnin - Good for finding max temps for your CPU. Not the best for stability testing.

Orthos - Great for stability testing.

What you need - Hardware

Motherboard - If you did not build your system yourself or have a very high end Dell/HP or a boutique build PC chances are you will not have the ability to overclock your CPU.

Aftermarket Cooler - You can use the stock Intel/AMD heatsink but aftermarket cooling will offer better results. A better air cooled heatsink will run you about $30 to $60 USD. A good watercooling solution will run at or above $200. I recommend getting you feet wet in the overclocking world before dropping that kind of cash.

Getting started

Ok first thing you will need to do is figure out if you can overclock with your motherboard. Restart your computer and go into the bios. Usually tapping DEL as your computer starts up. After getting into the BIOs you will need to find a your FSB option. If your able to change that then your at least set to do a little overclocking. Leave the BIOs without saving changes and reboot into windows.

Now its time to see what your max temp is. So we know what kind of room we have to work with. Open SpeedFan and go to the charts tab and click the core0, core1 and so on. It will now start charting your temps. Open CPUBurnin 1,2,3, or 4 times. Depending on the number of cores you have. I usually set them to one hour, but you don't need to let them run quite that long. Click start on all of them and wait for the lines on the speedfan level out.

Once they have leveled out you have your max temps. The highest temps before your cpu will start the throttle or your computer will become unstable is around 70C, but I do not recommend going above 60C.

There are 2 things that will cause your computer to crash or be unstable are temps and voltage. The big problem with that is that moving the voltage up increases temps. To increase voltage much you will need aftermarket cooling. But fret not, many CPUs can get a good bump without moving the voltage at all. Raising the speed will have a much smaller impact on temps than raising voltage, so we will start with stock voltage and move from there.

Ready to OverClock

Ok reboot into the BIOs and go to the overclocking section. Most motherboards will have a memory divider. If yours does set it to the lowest fraction or unlinked if that is a option. We will work on the memory in a little bit, but for now we want as little variables as we can. Go to the FSB option and move the FSB up 5-10. Save changes and boot back into windows. Open up CPU-Z and take a look at the your core speed. Congrats you have just overclocked your CPU. Run Othos/Speedfan for a few runs to check for stability and temps, rinse and repeat. Be patient. Continue to do that until you either reach 60C or your computer becomes unstable. If you have reached 60C you will need to get some better cooling. If you still have good temps but your computer is not stable, you can back off to your last stable overclock and be happy with your speed bump, or you can raise the voltage.

This is where overclocking can be dangerous, but if you take your time there is nothing to worry about. Go back to the BIOs and if you have options that look like +.025 and so on you can raise the Voltage up ONE level at and boot back to windows and check for stability. If you have options that look more like this 1.75 you will need to find out what your stock voltage is. You can post below and we can find if for you or you can go to the AMD/Intel website and look for your CPUs product page. Once you have determined your stock voltage you can bump it up ONE level and check for stability. You can then return to bumping up the FSB until you reach another wall and then move the voltage again.

Never move the voltage more than one level at a time and pay extra attention to your temps after a voltage bump. Sooner or later you will reach the high temp that your cooler can handle and you can buy a new cooler or be happy with your overclock. Sometimes the motherboard will be the limiting factor so if you have done all you can do and it won't climb any more you might try bumping up the northbridge voltage. Do that in much the same way you did the CPU voltage and if you have a passively cooled northbridge make sure that there is air passing over it. You can also buy after market coolers for your northbridge. Those range from $10 and up. Be sure to check the compatibility with your motherboard though.

Memory Overclocking.

Now that we have your high overclock for your CPU we can start working on the memory. If you have it set it unlinked then you can bump it up just like you did the CPU adding voltage in much the same way. If you have only dividers to choose from you can raise the divider or play with your timings. These are much more complicated and you need a bit more knowledge of how memory and how timings work. If you feel your ready to do this post in the memory section and we will help you with this

This time we will be using MemTest86 for testing. You can download it and burn it to a CD or floppy disk. If you have a Windows Vista disk you already have it. It also comes on many Linux disks including the popular Ubuntu so if you have a copy laying around you can use that. Once you have that you will need to set your computer to boot from CD. This option should be in your BIOs. It's usually listed under boot order or something similar. Stick the CD in and you will be greeted with a scary looking blue screen. It's totally safe. Let it run throw a few loops and if you come up with no errors keep bumping up the speed until it does. Then back off one or two settings.

Finishing up

Now that we have relatively stable overclocks I recommend running Orthos overnight as well as Memtest the following night to make sure everything is 100% stable. They will both find things that may never pop up in actually using the computer, but you never want a crash in the middle of a epic round of CS.

REMEMBER! All CPUs overclock differently. Just because your read online that your CPU can reach a certain speed does not mean that the one you have will reach that speed. On the other hand, it could reach a higher speed than expected. Overclocking can be a move to get that last little bit out of your computer before you have to buy a new one or a hobby. Take it slow, and it's a safe procedure. Overclocking will lower the life of your computer, but we are talking about 10 year life span instead of 15. Most people do not have 15 year old computers, but some do, so it should be taken into consideration. Have fun and post any questions you have below and we will be happy to help you.

If you have any questions at all feel free to post below and we will be happy to help you on your way to a faster computer!


Great guides so far guys! I would help, but I'm not very good at that sort of stuff.

Der Meister

humm I uisally keep bumping the FSB untill I can't boot, then i back it down 20fsb or so and then start running the temp/loads on it...

Also I like to bump my voltages first to give me some head room to work with, then once i find a good clock then I start backing down the voltages... untill I can't go any lower... I make a big list of all the FSB and voltages that work for each clock speed I want to hit.. really you should see the papers they are an untter mess, but they work none the less

Also I like to use the program overclock check tool as well its a nice program where you can moniter temps and you can set it to run for long periods of time. It also make a nice graph when its done with all the voltages and temps per core.

Check it out OCCT


I'll add the program. Never heard of it before.I'll download it now. I think this thig will go throw many revisions before it gets posted

I like to see what I can get without the voltage bump first. Some people starting off might not wanna mess with voltage untill they get there feet wet. My E4300(1.8) will hit 2.6Ghz without a voltage tweak.

to each his own. I'm just going for a general safe guide. Do you think it is a little to slow moving? Maybe test every 50 or 100MHz?

Der Meister

I think It should include that some mobos have Auto set for the voltages I know mine did. A test ever 100 would be good.


I'll make that change. What is the auto set all about? Never used it.[:$]

Der Meister

With my mobo all the voltages were set to auto when I came to me. Ie the systems sets what it thinks it needs. I left some of the voltages on auto since i didnt feel like messing with them, I just did the ram, Vcore, and FSB vlotage. everyhting else i left on auto.


I haven't read Bob's post here word for word but can move his post to an appropriate thread/section.  Let me know if you have ideas.


Dave_HH wrote:

I haven't read Bob's post here word for word but can move his post to an appropriate thread/section.  Let me know if you have ideas.

I was waiting to get a little feedback before we move it to it's own thread. [:D] Thanks Dave!


  •  ice91785
  • 50.25% (Neutral)
  • Member Topic Starter

I like it Bob, I will copy it to a .doc type document and do some revisions tonight -- the content is good; maybe just improve the readability (headings, whitespace etc..) and add what you and Der have been talking about

BTW I second what Der said: I always up my FSB until I can't boot anymore and then back off about 5-10 or so (or at least until I am stable). That said, I will also always leave it at stock voltages (or lower) unless I am benching or my temps are just off-the-charts awesome.


Cool thanks Ice. You can change the FSB how you and Der do it. I vote we leave the voltage though.[:D]

Der Meister

works for me changing voltagrs like like dancingwith the


Cool. So what guides should we work on next? I'll write them up unless someone else wants to or my writing is total crap[:P] I've got a little work on a GPU OCing guide, but the only program I really use is rivatuner.

Der Meister

rivatuner and the other one that works well with the ATI cards. I cant think of its name off the top of my head at the moment


Der Meister wrote:

rivatuner and the other one that works well with the ATI cards. I cant think of its name off the top of my head at the moment