What is the difference between overclocking, base clocking and turbo clocking? | plates

Clock is a term that indicates the processing speed of the CPU, measured in Hertz (Hz). Newer chips have two frequency levels: base clock and turbo clock, which alternate according to the computer’s requirements. In addition, there is still overclocking, which raises the speed of the processor above the factory limits.

The downside is that this practice can cause computer components to overheat, so it’s only recommended for enthusiasts. Then understand the differences between overclocking, base clocking and turbo clocking.

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Understand the difference between base clock, boost clock and overclock in processors — Photo: Disclosure / Showmetech

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First of all, it is important to understand the definition of CPU clock. The clock (or frequency) measures the number of cycles the chip’s internal circuitry completes per second. Each of these cycles corresponds to an electrical pulse that changes the state of the transistor between on and off (or 0 and 1, in binary representation). This allows the computer to perform any type of task, such as writing data to the HD or accessing RAM memory. Simple tasks can be completed in just one cycle, while more complex tasks require multiple cycles.

Most modern processors have a clock speed of up to 5 GHz, which means that, in theory, they can run up to 5 billion cycles per second. However, in real-world situations, this measure can change due to several factors, such as the number of cores, the quality of the thermal paste, and the type of ventilation used.

The higher the clock, the more tasks the PC can perform at the same time — Photo: Disclosure / Lenovo

Therefore, when comparing chips, a higher clock value does not always mean better performance. Newer processors have a more efficient architecture, with better management of caches and tasks per cycle. Therefore, performance can be better even with a lower clock speed.

What does basic hour mean?

As the name suggests, the base clock of the processor is the minimum frequency at which it operates under normal conditions. In other words, it is the default speed that the CPU uses when it is not very demanding. This means that both power consumption and chip temperature remain at very safe levels.

For a better understanding: let’s imagine that the CPU is the engine of a car. The basic clock is as if the vehicle is on the road at a constant speed. This keeps fuel consumption stable as well as engine temperature, which prevents further problems in the future.

The base clock is the default operating value of the processor — Photo: Adriano Hamaguchi/TechTudo

However, it is important to note that the base clock is quite different from the idle clock, which is the value the frequency reaches when the computer is idle to save power. In this case, the value is much smaller, because few tasks are performed.

What does turbo watch mean?

The processor’s turbo clock is the maximum number of operations that the CPU can perform. This mode is automatically activated when needed, for example when running a heavy game or rendering video. The downside is that this mode uses more power and heats up the computer’s components. Therefore, it cannot be activated in 100% of cases, with the risk of permanent component damage.

Using the same analogy as before, a turbo clock would be the highest speed a car can reach. This is useful at certain times, such as overtaking; however, the trade-off is higher fuel consumption and the risk of engine overheating.

Heavy applications, such as games, may require a turbo boost — Photo: Yuri Hildebrand/TechTudo

Both AMD and Intel have this technology in their chips, called Turbo Core and Turbo Boost. Both work in a similar way: the processor analyzes the amount of cores and thermal space and increases the amount of clocks within levels that are considered safe. As soon as the application terminates and the processing demand drops, the CPU returns to the base clock.

What does overclocking mean?

Processor overclocking is a manual increase of CPU clocks above the factory settings. Overclocking is usually done by enthusiasts to improve the overall performance of a computer. However, not every computer supports this type of modification, as it requires an advanced cooling system with water coolers and cooled cases.

In addition, you have to buy overclockable processors and motherboards. Intel has a series of chips aimed at this audience, whose models end with the letter K. However, one should be careful with overclocking because overheating can cause irreparable damage to the entire computer hardware.

Overclocking requires a high degree of computer cooling — Photo: Disclosure/Maingear

In this sense, overclocking is like modifying a car so that it reaches higher speeds, beyond the limits set by the manufacturer. For those looking for high performance, it’s a very expensive investment — while not worth it for the average user.

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