How to Overclock a Laptop

Two methods for overclocking (and why it's often not possible)

What to Know

  • Most laptops do not support overclocking.
  • Laptops that support overclocking typically have a Turbo or Boost button.
  • Overclocking is sometimes possible with first-party utilities from Intel and AMD.

This article explains how to, if possible, overclock your laptop.

Can I Overclock My Laptop?

Probably not. Apple's line of notebook computers does not support overclocking and hasn't for many years.

Most modern consumer PCs also prevent overclocking. The BIOS is locked, meaning users can't change the settings to control the processor's operation.

How will you know if a laptop can overclock? Most laptops with this feature advertise it. Try visiting the manufacturer's website or review the laptop's manual.

Alternatively, you can follow the steps below to see if they work.

How to Overclock a Laptop With a Turbo Button

This is an easy way to overclock a laptop, but will only work with PC laptops that have this feature installed from the factory.

  1. Find the overclock button on the laptop. It's usually above the keyboard or in the function key row. The laptop's manual will also show its location.

    Many laptops label this a 'Turbo' or 'Boost' button.

  2. If the laptop is off, turn it on. Wait for Windows to boot. Close any open windows.

  3. Press the overclock (aka Turbo or Boost) button. The laptop will respond by opening a utility to show the feature is active. It may also include an LED on or near the button that is lit when the feature is active.

    A laptop with a turbo button above the keyboard.

An overclock button is a safe, simple way to overclock a laptop, though the performance boost will be limited. The laptop will run hotter, and louder, then it would otherwise. Make sure the laptop's vents are not blocked when using this feature.

How to Overclock a Laptop With Software

Laptop overclocking, when available, is usually controlled by first-party software from the processor manufacturer (AMD or Intel).

  1. Download the software supported by the processor in your laptop.

  2. Install and open the software.

    AMD Ryzen Master and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility will generate an error message if your laptop does not support overclocking.

  3. The method of overclocking the processor differs between AMD Ryzen Master or Intel Extreme Tuning Utility. It may also differ depending on the processor or software version you have installed.

    Generally speaking, you must first select the Manual option. This will reveal or unlock the processor clock control for all processor cores.

    AMD Ryzen Master software open with processor overclocking being set to manual control.
  4. Increase the processor clock by a small amount (25 to 50MHz), then select Apply or Save.

    AMD Ryzen Master software utility open with processor overclocking unlocked.
  5. Use a processor benchmark to test stability. If the laptop crashes during the benchmark, it's not stable and the overclock should be reversed.

  6. Repeat steps four and five until you're satisfied with the overclock or you hit the highest processor speed at which the laptop is stable.

The steps above will let you achieve a modest overclock. Overclocking is complex, however, and maximum performance depends on many variables.

Want to push your laptop further? AMD users should read How To Geek's guide to overclocking with AMD Ryzen Master. Intel users should read our guide to overclocking an Intel processor.

Can I Overclock My Laptop With the BIOS?

The vast majority of laptops do not support overclocking with the BIOS.

The BIOS is the most basic operating system on a PC. In the past, the BIOS often had settings that let users tweak a wide variety of settings, including those that would overclock the processor. This is called an unlocked processor.

Only a few high-end processors, like the AMD Ryzen 5950HX and Intel Core i9-12900HK, can be sold unlocked. Those that are unlocked are designed to be overclocked with first-party software.

Is It Safe to Overclock a Laptop?

Overclocking a laptop is risky. Laptops have built-in safeguards that should shut down the laptop if hardware damage is possible, but you could cause damage if you set a value far outside its normal range. It's best to make small changes and test them frequently.

It's important to watch for signs your laptop is overheating. If it does, immediately disable the overclock. Continuing to use an overclock on a laptop that is overheating can cause permanent damage.

MacBook Pro High-Power Mode

The Apple-silicon powered 16" MacBook Pro has a special feature called High-power mode. This is not the same as overclocking, but it does allow the MacBook Pro to use its processor a higher speed for longer than it would normally.

  • How do I overclock RAM?

    Some manufacturers, like Intel, make it possible to speed up your RAM. Look for memory that's compatible with XMP (Extreme Memory Profile), and you can choose different profiles for speed and performance through your PC's BIOS.

  • How do I overclock a monitor?

    Overclocking a monitor can improve its refresh rate, which is the number of times per second the display updates. A higher refresh rate is particularly useful for gaming. To do so, you'll use a bit of software that lets you manually change your display settings; one example is Custom Resolution Utility (CRU). If AMD, Radeon, or Intel made your monitor, their built-in settings apps will also let you customize.

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