Difference Between Thermal Throttling and Overclocking

CPUs have undergone significant alterations since the days of the mainframe to keep up with the ever-changing demands of consumers. CPU technology is likely the only component of personal computing that has evolved quickly over time. Processors are still a feasible innovation in home computing since the CPU is the most critical portion of a computer because, without it, there isn’t a computer. Thermal throttling and overclocking, on the other hand, have been linked in various ways, but they are two distinct phenomena. Let’s look at the distinctions between the two.

Thermal Throttling vs Overclocking

The main difference between thermal throttling and overclocking is that thermal throttling is a function that allows the CPU to maintain a certain temperature by changing the CPU’s clock frequency depending on the rate of heat it creates. Overclocking, on the other hand, is defined as pushing a CPU or other computer chip to operate at a higher clock rate than the specified clock rate.

Thermal Throttling and Overclocking

“Thermal throttling” refers to “degradation of performance” by decreasing clock speeds. Your GPU, as well as CPU, will slow things down, resulting in a drop in efficiency and visible performance. On the workstation, you may notice that the UI is a little slower, and GPU heat throttling will lower gaming frame rates.

Overclocking is the process of boosting a module’s clock rate so that it runs faster than it had been meant to. Overclocking generally refers to the CPU or GPU, but it could also refer to other systems. Raising the clock rate of a component allows it to do more calculations per second while simultaneously producing more heat.

Comparison Table Between Thermal Throttling and Overclocking

Parameters of ComparisonThermal Throttling Overclocking
Meaning“Thermal throttling” refers to “degradation of performance” by decreasing clock speeds. Performance is restricted when a part reaches a high enough temperature to inhibit heat build-up and induce cooling. Overclocking is the process of boosting a module’s clock rate so that it runs faster than it had been meant to.
OccurrenceIt’s an automatic method that occurs when the designated system temperature exceeds and starts causing overheating.It is a manual process and usually customizable by the user.
ResultsLower performance, FPS drop more than 10 to 20, Jittery UI and laggy interface.Increases performance and FPS but causes overheating.
DamageIt prevents the chips from overheating by compromising in the performance section and dissipating the heat.It can damage the CPU or GPU.
Done In: Productivity and editing workstations and heavy gaming.Heavy gaming and pushing FPS in OS and applications.

What is Thermal Throttling?

Thermal throttling is an energy-conservation method used in modern computer systems that allows the CPU’s running speed to be reduced to lower the heat of the processor. It guarantees that the temperature does not exceed the set limits.

This method is widely used in mobile device CPUs, where heat production is a major power consumption concern. It’s an energy-saving function that reacts autonomously to higher temperature circumstances, most often overheating, by decreasing the clock speed and lowering the voltage that the element draws at the time of throttle.

Heat is produced by computer parts such as the CPU, GPU, and even sdrams. They emit a thermal gradient when they’re under a lot of stress, which might cause them to overheat. These components may be permanently damaged if exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time.

Performance is restricted when a part reaches a high enough temperature to inhibit heat build-up and induce cooling. Equipment and components can only operate at their maximum capability if the conditioning solution can maintain them within safe operating temperatures.

Although high-end GPUs, graphics cards, and CPUs generate a lot of heat, sufficient cooling can help prevent thermal throttling. Use management systems and monitoring software tools like MSI Afterburner to check your GPU and CPU clock rates to see if you’re thermally throttling.

What is Overclocking?

Overclocking is the process of modifying system processors to allow them to run at faster rates than they were designed for. To achieve Overclocking, you can manually tune your CPU to run at a higher speed than its rated speed. After overclocking, some systems operate just fine, while others do not.

Overclocking a CPU, on the other hand, voids any warranty. Rather than paying more for a quicker, more costly processor, the idea is to get a low-cost CPU and speed it up. Overclocking, on the other hand, comes with its own set of concerns, including the potential for harm to your CPU and other components.

The CPU in your system is pre-programmed to function at a specific maximum speed. If you run your CPU at that rate with sufficient conditioning, it should function smoothly without any issues. However, you aren’t always restricted to that CPU speed. Setting a higher clock rate or multipliers in the computer’s BIOS will force it to complete more transactions per second, increasing the CPU’s performance.

If you want to create the most potent gaming as well as productivity PC possible with a liquid-cooling system so you can overdrive its equipment to its maximum, you’ll have to keep this in mind while purchasing parts and ensure you get overclock-friendly gear. If you have a conventional CPU, you probably wouldn’t be able to do any tinkering with it.

This will increase the speed of your CPU, and so therefore your system, if your computer’s performance is restricted by its CPU, it will also increase the amount of heat produced by the CPU. If you do not even supply extra cooling, it might be physically destroyed, or it could become unstable, causing your system to blue-screen or reboot.

Main Differences Between Thermal Throttling and Overclocking

  1. Thermal throttling is automatic whereas overclocking is an intended manual process.
  2. Thermal throttling protects the chips from overheating whereas overclocking to higher rates destroys the IC of chips.
  3. Thermal throttling cannot be disabled whereas overclocking can be disabled.
  4. Thermal throttling reduces FPS counts whereas overclocking increases FPS count.
  5. Thermal throttling reduces performance and causes lags whereas overclocking improves performance and prevents lags.


In summary, before any element of a system may be damaged, it must reach a certain degree. Whenever hardware hits this level, thermal throttling kicks in, lowering the CPU’s clock speed to maintain the temperature from surpassing the specified threshold.

Whenever you overclock your CPU, you push it to run at greater rates than the maker specifies. Overclocking is a technique for improving efficiency by tampering with the equipment’s default options, which comes at the expense. It can sometimes permanently damage the component.


  1. https://www.howtogeek.com/165064/what-is-overclocking-the-absolute-beginners-guide-to-understanding-how-geeks-speed-up-their-pcs/
  2. https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/should-you-overclock-your-pcs-processor/
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