Overclocking CPU Cause Stuttering? [Confusion Disclosed]

Written By Farhan Max

When a transporting vehicle wobbles, you will feel jerky & the travel will be hectic.

Similarly, when a processor operates at its beyond capacity without stability, it can initiate choppiness for every program.can-overclocking-cpu-cause-stuttering

But when this stuttering comes down to games, it frustrates the gamers with the frequent FPS hiccups. You don’t want the experience, right?

In this article, I will explain whether the overclocked CPU is the main culprit for stutter. Let’s dive in.

Is CPU OC Responsible for Micro Stuttering?

As CPUs are made from silicon, no one knows which CPU is capable of higher frequency. Manufacturers test the chips & market those depending on their capability.

However, this is not the end. While Intel i5-9600K’s on paper max boost frequency is 4.6 GHz, it can be overclocked up to 5.2 GHz. But it’s not possible for each 9600K chip. Here comes the silicon lottery. So if the lottery hits, the chip can run way over its designed frequency.

But if it’s not & you set the frequency too high, the chip will not sustain that much frequency. This results in instability & can cause stuttering in games. In addition to this, CPU bottleneck can also be responsible for stutters.

Besides that, overclocking often requires extra voltage to juice out the chip. This can form overheating, then throttling & the results are the same. So is overclocked CPU cause stuttering? Yes, if it’s unstable or gets overheated for dried-up thermal paste or inadequate cooler.

So it is crucial to make sure the overclock is stable. With a few steps, you can tell if the CPU OC is stable.

Why Can CPU OCs be Unstable?

There are various reasons overclocked CPUs can become unstable. The instability will result in audio or graphics desync during playing a game.

As already mentioned, the silicon lottery is vital in how much a CPU can withstand OC. If the processor is not capable of excessive speed due to its design, it will be unstable when the core clock is higher than its rating.

Another reason is not having an adequate cooling system for the excess frequency & voltage. Without proper airflow, a cheap air-cooled system will not handle the excessive heat & fail to dissipate heat quickly. This triggers thermal throttling & the chip downs its frequency, which leads to stuttering.

Moreover, the lack of enough voltage is also a vital issue for OC instability. The processor requires a certain voltage to maintain a frequency. If not enough voltage is set for the OC, it will crash or not function properly when cranking up the frequency under load.

What Else Can Cause Stuttering Besides Overclocked CPU?

Now you know an unstable overclocked CPU can cause stutters & why the OC can become unstable. Minor inconstancy can cause throttling & stuttering, while critical instability can hit a massive performance.

But how to rule out it’s not the overclocked CPU while stuttering?what-else-can-cause-stuttering-besides-overclocked-cpu

Here are some reasons the game can stutter besides an overclocked CPU:

  • Outdated BIOS: Most manufacturers resolve several issues through their BIOS version. So if you are still using a dated version of BIOS, it can create stuttering.
  • Old Drivers: Besides BIOS, the manufacturer uploads new chipsets, network, and audio drivers for better compatibility issues. They have a reason to publish a newer version. Obsolete drivers are another important reason the game can experience FPS drops.
  • Wrong Memory Slot: If you have two memory sticks with four RAM slots, and it is not connected as a dual channel (usually the 2nd & 4th slot from the CPU socket), your memory will not perform the best. The CPU & memory can bottleneck in this case, which results in a stutter. Too much high frequency or too tight memory timings also plays a vital role in stuttering due to instability.
  • Incompatible Cables: A loosened cable can cause a black screen issue alongside stuttering. Also, incompatibility issues, like using HDMI 1.4 cable on HDMI 2.0 port, can cause random stutters.
  • Aged GPU Drivers: GPU manufacturers usually publish at least a new driver monthly basis. This includes new game optimizations with security updates. If you skip an up-to-date GPU driver & using old drivers containing bugs, chances are you will encounter stuttering.

Updating BIOS along with other essential drivers, using proper cables & memory slots can bail you out some hassle from experiencing stutter.

Apart from this, some Windows settings are also culprits for games lagging & stuttering. On Windows, with proper tweaks & modifications, fixing micro stuttering in games is relatively easy.

Does Overclocking the CPU Boost FPS?

FPS-Frames Per Second mostly depend on the graphics card. But the CPU is also responsible for frame rates. If you are bottlenecked by the CPU, overclocking the chip can help you a bit. Furthermore, depending on the games, it will have noticeable performance uplift by OC.

Though, you may require OC your GPU too to get the full benefit of the OCed CPU. Don’t forget to keep tabs on CPU temperature while gaming.

You will require to disable power-saving options for overclocking in BIOS. That being said, it is required to disable C-states, EIST, Speedstep, etc. to stop frequency fluctuation due to energy saving.

With the performance benefit, this will cost you a few more bucks on your electricity bill. But you can get a noticeable performance increase with stable overclocking.

Can Overclocking Break a CPU?

If there is insufficient airflow & cooling system, it has a chance to break the CPU. Without OC, under normal conditions, your PC parts—GPU, RAM, Hard drives, etc. already generate massive heat. Lacking enough fresh intake airflow, the hot air already circulates inside the casing.

The temps already stay on the edge of the critical point. Now, if you start to OC & add more heat, the temperature can cross the safe limitation. That way, overclock can lead to damage to the CPU if the chip fails to shut down or throttle down in time.

Tuning the frequency with proper voltage along with an adequate cooling system is the key to a successful overclock. With proper configuration, you can get a stable overclock & boosted performance.


Can overclocking RAM cause stuttering?

If the memory does not have enough DRAM & VCCIO voltage for a higher frequency, it will be unstable. Besides this, tighter RAM timing needs higher VCCSA or System Agent voltage. If any of these don’t meet the criteria, the memory module can become unstable & will show errors in stress testing or BSOD. An unstable RAM is a major indicator of stuttering.

Should You Overclock Your CPU?

Overclocking has the potential to damage the chip. Even though, you can squeeze out your CPU more & gain a boost in FPS, without spending extra bucks. Apart from gaming, 3D rendering, encoding and other apps that require high processor power can benefit from a stable overclock. So, if you are comfortable with OC having proper configuration & knowledge, you should do it.

Is it necessary to increase CPU Vcore?

At a certain frequency, the CPU requires a proper Vcore voltage. During overclocking, if the frequency is set too high, it wants more Vcore to stabilize the clock. At that time, it is necessary to increase the Vcore. But the higher voltage also increases heat. So without an adequate cooling system, it is not recommended to play with voltage.

Final Thought

An unstable CPU overclocking can cause stuttering in games. Overheating or throttling leads to an unsettled OC. Besides that, old drivers, and misconfiguration in windows can also stutter in games.

Though overclocking the CPU can boost FPS in some bottlenecking situations, ensuring stability is crucial.

In this article, I described the relationship between inconstant CPU OC & stuttering in games. If you have further queries, leave a comment.

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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