Software Overclocking for Windows (Part 1)

6/5/2012 3:40:53 PM

Forget the BIOS – there are some great overclocking tools that you can run in Windows to get the most out of your hardware

Using the BIOS to overclock your PC is a tried and tested process, but it’s not without the knuckle-biting annoyance of trial and error. There’s not much information about the changes you’re making, and calculations like the CPU multiplier have to be done manually. That’s fine if you’re comfortable with numbers, but not so much if even the thought of your PIN brings back Vietnam-style flashbacks of your maths GCSE.

Description: Test Overclocking

‘Take a lot of the pain and effort out of overclocking’

Thankfully, there are various apps available through Windows that have been made by the hardware manufacturers and third parties, and can take a lot of the pain and effort out of overclocking. Just because they’re wrapped in a user-friendly interface doesn’t mean they contain dumbed-down overclocking options. On the contrary, these desktop overclocking programs sometimes include a level of detail about your hardware and its status that can give you a greater amount of control over your overclocking. The great thing about these programs is that you’re not limited to changing the core values – there are also additions settings that can help keep your PC stable. For example, when overclocking your CPU you can make sure enough power is getting to the processor and that the CPU Vcore increases along with the CPU frequency.

Description: overclocking processors

At the same time, you can tweak your PC’s fan settings to increase their speed and keep the newly-overclocked CPU from overheating. Although this can all be achieved by overclocking through the BIOS, it’s a lot more time consuming and fiddly to type values in manually than to use the slides and dropdown boxes of a desktop overclocking kit’s GUI.

When considering overclocking software, your first port of call should be the manufacturer of the piece of technology you’re hoping to push, as the big companies realise that many of their customers overclock their products to reach their full potential.

A bit of kit that’s well known for its ability to be overclocked safely and easily will get good word of mouth, so it’s in the manufacturers’ interests to bundle the software. This means its worth sticking in the driver CD that came with your kit and having a poke around for any overclocking tools.

Maker knows best

Description: NVIDIA NTune For Enthusiasts

When it comes to manufacturers’ software for overclocking processors, AMD has the rare edge over Intel with its fantastic AMD Overdrive tool, leaving Intel to play catch-up with its Desktop Control Center. This isn’t quite as accomplished as AMD’s offering, but still provides plenty of features.

As you’d expect, graphics cards also come with performance-boosting software to help overclockers. Owners of ATI cards can use the Catalyst Control Center while Nvidia owners have the nTune software to play around with.

We don’t have to rely on the manufacturers for OC software though. If you’re concerned that the makers of your hardware are a little too cautious and don’t want you near any settings that might damage their precious creations, then there are third-party programs on hand.

As far as options go, CPU-Tweaker ( can’t be beaten. The sheer number of settings you’re able to tweak might seem baffling initially, but the level of control offered by CPU-Tweaker can help you get your processor hitting performance levels that would otherwise remain as unfulfilled potential. RivaTuner ( is another great third-party overclocking program to try, this time aimed at graphics cards – and both ATI and Nvidia cards are supported.

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