Aug 18, 2009
I've been wondering lately, what limits a CPUs/GPUs/anything's overclocking capability? I dont understand what makes CPUs run stable and one clock setting but not at another? all it is its transistors firing right? I dont understand why you cant just pump more voltage into your system to get a better clock setting. I dont want any answers like "that's just the way it is" or "Its not designed to run at that speed". Its weird and I cant seem to get the question into anything Google-able. What limits me from overclocking past 2.5ghz? Anything after that and my system wont start or is very unstable even with very low heat (26c idle at 2.52ghz). Why cant it just overclock to 3ghz and be stable? My processor was never a very good overclocker (phenom 9600BE) but I still cant think of any reason of why I cant push it more without problems.

Im just one of those guys that needs a down to earth answer for everything. Like it or not


Aug 27, 2006
Quality of the transistors and copper through the whole system.

If you lookup the production of processors, you'd see that it was like taking a picture onto a negative. Your negative might be of really really good quality (perfection costs too much, so we could just manage with really really good), but in the end on the final picture there might be some small dots but you could still say it is a good picture overall. The small dots might have come from the raw material or from your production, but as long as it passes QA, then its good. (Though I'm not saying that AMD/Intel are bringing out dud chips).


Nov 8, 2008
You also have to keep in mind the CPU's ability to communicate with other components. The memory is steaming a string of information in coded bits, these bits come in a specific order. The better the CPU, the faster it can process the strings, any error and it's a BSOD or a lock-up.
There are a lot of things that limit overclocking: voltage limits, temperature limits, limits of other components. And some CPU families are, for one reason or another, poor overclockers.

"My processor was never a very good overclocker (phenom 9600BE) but I still cant think of any reason of why I cant push it more without problems. " One reason some of the AMD CPU's were poor overclockers was because AMD rated them at close to their limits.

And one reason the Intel Core2's are good overclockers was because Intel didn't.

Take the G0 Q6600. It's a 2.4 GHz part. Almost all of them will run at 3.0 GHz. with the stock cooler. That's a 25% OC. With a good aftermarket cooler, 3.6 GHz. is common. Mine does that. 50% OC. Wow. :bounce:

Let's say Intel rates the same part at 3.0 GHz. Well, it still runs at 3.0 GHz. with the stock cooler. And it still runs at 3.6 GHz with a good aftermarket cooler. 20% OC. Crap. :(

Same chip.

Let's say that you can only squeeze 3.4 GHz. out of it. 13% OC. Sh!t. :pfff: And this is what AMD initially had to do in response to the Core2's.

"My processor was never a very good overclocker (phenom 9600BE) ...". There's your answer. If you wanted a better overclocker, you should have bought one.