What is Underclock?

Underclock, also known as downclock, refers to the technique of setting the CPU of the computer at a lower speed than the rate at which it was actually designed to run.

Understanding Underclock

Understanding Underclock

Underclocking is the procedure by which the speed of the CPU is lowered. It is just the opposite of overclocking where the speed of the CPU is increased to get a faster performance but at the cost of the hardware of the computer.

Underclocking will help in enhancing the visual experience when you play older games.

In addition to that, it will reduce power consumption and increase the longevity of the system as well. These are actually interlinked.

However, it is not always required by the users to underclock the CPU.

Most of the computers today are specially designed to lower the speed themselves automatically when it is not required to run at their maximum speed, unless they are explicitly configured not to do so.

These machines can manipulate the speed through the operating system or even de-clock it at the BIOS level.

This is actually done because most of the resources of the computer, such as cooling and power, are shared by different components of the computer system apart from the CPU.

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Therefore, when the speed of one component is lowered, it will automatically push another component of the computer further.

This will eventually maximize the speed of performing a particular task and producing the final output quickly.

However, underclocking does not lower the number of clock cycles or the total power consumed to perform a task. It is just that the system will clock less time per second.

This means that if you really want to save on the power aspect, you will have to undervolt the CPU so that it takes less power to complete one clock cycle.

This is because Watts = Volts x Amps. However, this is a completely different matter from underclocking.

When you underclock the CPU far enough, especially in a small and compact system that has little space to fix beefy coolers or a huge airflow, it will offer an excellent way to dissipate the heat easily.

However, underclocking a chip too much may fry it and therefore you should do it quite carefully and only when you need to do it, in the first place.

Underclock CPU in BIOS

To underclock the CPU, you will have to open the BIOS or Basic Input Output System setup screen first and navigate through different menus such as power, CPU and others in it in order to choose the options.

Then, you must adjust the voltage and clock of the CPU or the Front Side Bus settings.

Though there may be different versions of BIOS depending on the motherboard setup and the manufacturer and the available options and menu names may differ as well, here are the common steps to follow to underclock the CPU:

You can also do it with the CPU multiplier or CPU ratio adjustment option by following the same process as above.

Is Underclocking Good for GPU?

Yes, it is good to underclock the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit because that will generate less heat in the process. You can reduce the core clock or the memory clock of the GPU, and it will draw less power from the Power Supply Unit or PSU and therefore generate less heat.

Apart from reducing power consumption and heat generation, there are also a few other good reasons to underclock GPUs. These are:

What Happens If You Underclock GPU?

Apart from the basic effects of underclocking your GPU which is reducing the core clocks, it may also affect its performance overall. It will work slower and deliver less performance since it will draw less power.

This means that you will not be able to play games on your system or use your system for any GPU-intensive tasks.

It will support basic tasks such as simple web browsing, watching movies, listening to music on YouTube and other similar activities.

All these are the most significant effects of underclocking a GPU which is a reduction in the FPS rate.

What are the Benefits of Underclocking?

Undervolt vs Underclock

Questions & Answers:

Will Underclocking CPU Reduce Heat?

Yes, underclocking your CPU will reduce heat. As you may know, the higher the power consumed, the higher will be the heat generated.

Therefore, when you underclock the CPU it will first reduce the amount of power drawn by it, which will, in turn, reduce the heat generated.

Should You Underclock or Overclock?

Well, if you are okay with your CPU performing fewer cycles per second, you can underclock it. As said earlier, this will reduce the power consumption as well as the heat generated due to it.

On laptop computers, this will extend the battery life. However, if you want faster performance from the CPU at the cost of higher power consumption and heat generation, overclocking is the right option.

Does Underclocking Increase Lifespan?

Yes, underclocking will increase the lifespan of the hardware, but then the performance may not be very fast. It will reduce the power consumption and therefore heat generation, thereby causing less damage and improving the lifespan.

Can Underclocking Increase FPS?

Sadly, no, underclocking will not result in an increase in the FPS or Frames per Second. It will simply reduce the clock cycles so that the CPU works slower and consumes less power and produces less heat.

It will simply help those games that operate at lower CPU clock speeds. Even overclocking will not help much in that matter. Typically, you will need a better GPU for that.


Underclocking refers to a manual process where the user reduces the speed of operation of a CPU to a lower mark than its usual maximum setting.

It reduces the performance level but it also reduces power consumption and heat generation.

It is a good option to go for if you want a lower monthly electricity bill.