Weekly Shot 5 - A Quick CPU Undervolting Guide
Hello there. In this week’s shot, we’ll be taking a look at a great way to improve the longevity of your computer, lower temperatures, increase battery life for FREE. All it will take is a few minutes of your time and nothing more. So let’s jump right in!
What is Undervolting?
The CPU in your laptop or desktop runs at a default factory voltage which is considered stable for all the processors of that model. But the fact is, every individual chip is unique and in fact, most often, you can end up finding that you can run your CPU at a much lower voltage setting than it originally came with at the same performance level. Less voltage = less heat produced = less power used = less battery drain. It is also quite safe when done properly.
- This guide is for Intel CPU’s only. Use Ryzen Master to undervolt Ryzen CPUs.
- Only Intel CPU’s from the 4th generation onwards can be undervolted.
Before we get started, there are some software tools we need to download to undervolt our CPU and test the stability of the undervolt as well.
In this guide, we’ll be using ThrottleStop to undervolt our CPU.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, a disclaimer: I am not responsible for any damage you cause to your system and cannot be held liable in any manner whatsoever.
Please keep all your data backed up before proceeding. That being said, none of the steps in this guide will cause any harm unless you push your system beyond its limits.
ThrottleStop is an excellent software to control a large number of aspects regarding your CPU including power limits, boost timings etc. Even though there are a lot of things we can achieve with this software, our main focus today will be undervolting. To get started, download ThrottleStop and unzip it to a folder. Run ThrottleStop.exe, you should see the following window pop-up.
It might seem a little complicated but I assure you it’s quite simple to navigate once you get the hang of it. Explaining what each thing does will take us quite a while and requires some amount of background knowledge regarding CPUs so let’s leave that aside and focus on the undervolting part.
Click on the FIVR button to open up the following window:
Click the checkbox “Unlock Adjustable Voltage” and set the offset voltage to a small value like -50 mV. DO NOT CLICK APPLY
Click on the CPU cache radio button and set the offset voltage to the EXACT SAME VALUE as the CPU core voltage we set earlier.
Now click on OK- Do not save voltages. This ensures that in the event of your computer crashing, the voltages are reset back to stable values.
Then click apply and OK.
Now on the home screen, click the TS Bench button to test the voltage offset.
This will open up a window for the utility to stress test your offset for stability.
Select the 256M size and click on start to run the stress test. Once it is completed and doesn’t show any errors, change the size to 1024M and run it again. For small values, there should generally be no errors.
Now increase the offset by -25 (it is mandatory to set both the CPU core and CPU cache to the exact same offset) and run the stress test again to check for stability. Keep going until your computer blue-screens or there is an error in TS bench. If either of those happens, then go back to the last stable voltage and click “Save voltages immediately” in the FIVR panel.
If you ever want to revert back to your original settings for troubleshooting or benchmarking purposes, simply go to your ThrottleStop folder, locate the “ThrottleStop.ini” file and rename it or delete it, then shut down your computer cold before starting it (not restart). This will clear any settings or registers set by the program.
There is one last step to ensure that ThrottleStop starts as soon as you log in. To do this, we can use Windows Task Scheduler. Steps are as below:
- Open Task Scheduler.
- Click on Create Basic Task.
- Name it ThrottleStop and click next.
- Choose “When I log on” (as shown below) and click next.
5. Choose start a program and click next.
6. Click on Browse… button and choose ThrottleStop.exe from the folder you unzipped it to.
This should start ThrottleStop every time you log on.
That’s all for this quick CPU undervolting guide. According to us, undervolting is well worth the time you spend on it and hope this guide was not too complicated to follow. There are a lot of options to explore in ThrottleStop and let us know in the comments if you’d like a deep dive into it.
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