Computer programs like PC games are getting more and more complex. New technology has enabled game directors to bring the most complete version of their vision ever to life.

This is great news for gamers. But it’s also led to a performance problem. Many PCs are struggling to keep up with the demands placed on them by new games. 

It can be even more challenging to play the latest games at their full resolution. If you’d like to get more performance out of your PC, you can try overclocking its motherboard. Here’s how to tell if yours can do that.

If you have an intel processor, look to see if it has a “Z” or “X in front of its digits. If it does, you can overclock it. AMD (Ryzen) chips are overclockable if they have a “B” or “X in front of their digits. You can also boot into your PC’s bios and see if there’s an option for CPU clock.

What’s a motherboard?

The word motherboard gets thrown around a lot. But what does it actually mean? Put simply, the motherboard is what allows all the parts of your PC to communicate with one another. It acts as a sort of mechanical circulatory system, transferring information from one place to another.

A motherboard isn’t the same thing as the CPU. That’s the part of the computer that performs the computations required to carry out the tasks you’re trying to do. It’s able to spread that information elsewhere in the computer thanks to the motherboard.

That being said, many people confuse the motherboard with the CPU. So don’t be surprised if you start to notice the words being used interchangeably with one another. We’ll do that in some of the sections below to make things easier to understand.

What is overclocking?

Overclocking is the practice of increasing a computer’s clock rate. The clock rate is the rate at which the computer can generate pulses. These pulses are what’s used to synchronize the operations of the computer, allowing you to do what you want while using it.

When someone talks about overclocking, they’re usually referring to the CPU or GPU. But other components can also be overclocked to increase a computer’s performance.

Why would I want to overclock my motherboard?

People who overclock their motherboard do so to improve its performance. When you do so, you increase the rate at which it can process and send information. That means you’ll be able to do things faster while using your computer than would otherwise be possible.

The majority of people who overclock their motherboard are gamers, looking for an edge. But there are many different people who might want to do this for various reasons. For example, a video editor might overclock their motherboard to improve the speed at which their films finish rendering.

Ultimately, there are many different reasons why you might want to overclock your motherboard. Anytime that you need a little extra performance from your PC, this is one way you can get it.

How do I overclock my motherboard?

You need to access your PC’s bios in order to overclock its motherboards. This is done by pressing the correct key on your keyboard during the PC’s booting phase.

Which key that is will depend on your operating system. The most common bios keys are delete, F1, F2, and Escape. You will be prompted to press one of these while your system boots up and that’s when you’ll enter into the PC’s bios.

When you’re in your system’s bios, you need to increase either the CPU clock rate or voltage. Look to see which of these options is available in your boot-up menu and increase that one.

After you do, you’ll need to perform a benchmark test to ensure your system is stable. Choose one like Prime95. It will simulate heavy usage and monitor your PC’s temperature to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.

Can overclocking damage a motherboard?

Yes, one of the downsides of overclocking is the amount of damage that it can do. One example of this is the damage that can be done to the motherboard when you overclock.

The problem is that overclocking places an increased burden on your PC. When your PC has to work harder, its temperature rises. If that temperature gets too hot, it could fry some of the components it needs to function.

That’s why, if you do overclock, you need to make sure you have adequate cooling. You will likely need after-market parts to achieve this level of cooling. This is true unless you’ve purchased a high-end prebuilt gaming PC with extra fans or a high-tech cooling system.

Does overclocking shorten lifespan?

Yes, overclocking your motherboard will shorten its lifespan. This is because the process puts extra stress on your PC that it wouldn’t have otherwise. That stress adds up over time and wears out parts faster than they normally would’ve worn out.

But many people decide to overclock their system anyways. They’re not crazy. Rather, they understand that their components will die quicker, but they think the upgrade in performance is worth it.

These people have a point. Overclocking doesn’t shorten your system’s lifespan tremendously. In fact, the drop in lifespan length would be fairly small if you decide to overclock.

The drop off is so small that your CPU will likely be obsolete by the time that it dies off anyway. So this isn’t necessarily the best reason to decide not to overclock your PC.

Does overclocking ruin your computer?

When done properly, overclocking will not ruin your computer. But it has to be done properly. And that can be a challenge for someone who hasn’t done this before.

Most importantly, you need to make sure that your system has enough cooling in it. If it doesn’t, overclocking will increase its temperature until it’s too high to function. When that happens, key components in your PC will begin melting. Eventually, this will make them unusable.

When you improperly overclock your machine, your CPU and graphics card face the highest risk of malfunction. Even if they don’t melt, they may crash your system more often than they used to. This is because instability is another one of the drawbacks of your overclocking your motherboard.

Does overclocking GPU increase FPS?

Some people decide to overclock their system in order to increase the FPS they get while playing games. But this isn’t a good reason to do so.

Overclocking your GPU will increase your FPS. But the change will be very slight. You will only get a 0-15% performance increase. That’s barely enough to notice — especially if you’re already running games above 120 FPS.

If you want to increase your FPS while gaming, there are better ways of doing so. Optimizing your in-game settings and changing your graphics card settings will provide you with more of an increase.

Is overclocking worth it for gaming?

That’s a question that you have to answer for yourself. Many people think that overclocking is worth the downsides. It can be a great way to seek out the last bit of performance that you need.

For example, overclocking could be the difference between playing a game in 60 FPS or 85 FPS. Only you can say how much that matters to you.

Keep in mind, there are risks to overclocking your system for gaming. These need to be weighed against the potential benefits of doing so. The risks include higher (potentially damaging) PC temperatures and instability. You’ll also decrease the lifespan of your PC by overclocking it, if only slightly.

How else can I boost my FPS?

You don’t necessarily have to overclock your motherboard if you want better FPS. Check out some of the common causes of low FPS first. Your problem might be tied to an issue like:

  • Outdated drivers
  • Running games on too high of a resolution
  • Leaving unneeded programs running in the background while gaming
  • An old or slow graphics card

We recommend that you try fixing these things before overclocking your PC. If that doesn’t work, you might try investing in an FPS booster software. These optimize the performance of your machine for you automatically.

Related Questions

Does RAM increase FPS?

Yes, your computer’s RAM plays a big role in determining the amount of FPS that you get while gaming. If you only have between 2-4GB of RAM currently, then upgrading to 8-16GB could solve your FPS problem.

But if you already have 16GB of RAM, don’t bother adding more. Doing so would have virtually no impact on the FPS quality of current-gen PC games.

Does SSD improve FPS?

Not directly, no. An SSD is meant to help your computer access its stored memory faster. That has no correlation to the amount of FPS that you get. 

However, installing an SSD will help to reduce loading times while you’re booting up your PC or gaming. So if you want to optimize the performance of your PC, buying an SSD could be worth it.