How to undervolt CPU – less power consumption for your AMD or Intel processor

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We’ve talked about overclocking your CPU, now we’re going through how to undervolt your CPU. The performance of your CPU is integral to the running of your PC or laptop, any electronic device really, so tweaking the processor in ways like overclocking and undervolting, can offer benefits without sacrificing the effectiveness of your CPU. 

While undervolting won’t help to lower your CPU’s usage, it can lower your power consumption, which will help if you’re trying to lower your electricity bills, and it can help lower your CPU’s temperature, if you’ve noticed it running on the hotter side. Don’t know how to check your CPU’s temperature? Check out our guide, so you can figure out if undervolting could benefit you and reduce the risk of your CPU overheating. 

What is undervolting?

Undervolting is the process of reducing the voltage required by your processor to run, without decreasing the performance of your CPU. Much like when you overclock a CPU you are gradually increasing the clock speed, while maintaining stable performance, with undervolting you are gradually decreasing the voltage input to reduce power consumption, while ensuring your CPU remains stable. This naturally reduces the power consumption of your CPU, and thus can help towards minimizing electricity bills. This process also helps to reduce heat production from your CPU, if you have concerns about overheating. 

Before undervolting, you should probably run a benchmark test using software like CPU-Z, Intel XTU or AMD’s Ryzen Master. This way, you can make a note of your current CPU metrics and be able to compare them later if you run into issues after undervolting. 

How to undervolt your CPU with AMD Ryzen Master

  1. Go to AMD’s official website to download and install Ryzen Master.
  2. Launch the application once the software is installed.
  3. From the main window, in the bottom left-hand corner, you should see an option to switch your current interface to ‘Basic View’, which will offer a more user-friendly interface if you are unfamiliar with Ryzen Master. 
  4. Under the CPU panel, you will see the current CPU Voltage figure. 
  5. Select this figure and reduce the Voltage supplied to your processor (e.g. 50mV) then select Apply & Test to run a quick diagnostic to see if the new voltage is working appropriately. 
  6. If all is well, you can continue to reduce the voltage supply while running checks to ensure your CPU is stable. We recommend reducing the voltage by 5mV or 10mV increments to keep a better eye on your processor’s stability.

How to undervolt your CPU with Intel XTU

  1. If you don’t already have it, go to Intel’s official website to download and install the Intel XTU software. 
  2. Once you have launched the application, you should see an interface filled with information about your current hardware, including your processor. 
  3. Optional – under the Basic Tuning panel, you should see an option to run a benchmark test. 
  4. Beside the Core Voltage Offset, there will be a drop down list from which you can select the .05V increments you would like to undervolt by. 
  5. Once you’ve selected, then hit Apply
  6. If you are concerned about the welfare of your PC after undervolting, you could then run a CPU stress test (from within the Intel XTU software) to determine whether your CPU is coping with the lower voltage input.

How to undervolt your CPU with Throttlestop

  1. Go to TechPowerUp’s website to download and install the Throttlestop program. 
  2. Once you have launched the application, you should be greeted by your current processor’s temperature. 
  3. On the left-hand side you should see the option Speed Shift – EEP, you will want to select the empty box beside it. 
  4. Locate the FIVR button and then press it, it should be towards the bottom of the window. 
  5. In the column titled FIVR Control, you should see your CPU Core Voltage, beneath it should be an option that reads: Unlock Adjustable Voltage. Select that, as it will enable you to underclock your CPU. 
  6. Then select the checkbox beside Adaptive and ensure CPU Core is also selected. 
  7. Then go to the Offset Voltage, there is a slider beneath that you can dial down in increments. 
  8. Press Apply, then press OK – Save Voltages Immediately and then press Apply again. If your computer doesn’t immediately crash, you’re good to go.

If your computer does crash after you have applied your changes to the voltage, press and hold your power button. This should force your PC to restart and override the changes made, and should allow you to start again, and you’ll want to make smaller changes to ensure your computer doesn’t crash again.

Should you undervolt your CPU?

It can be beneficial to undervolt your CPU, but it is not always necessary. If you’ve noticed your electricity bills are increasingly high, or that your CPU’s temperature is regularly above 80 degrees Celsius, undervolting can help reduce power consumption and keep temperatures lower.

Can undervolting increase performance?

Undervolting, if done correctly, should not affect your graphics or frame rate. It will help to keep heat production and fan noise down, but should not affect the performance of your computer.

About the Author

Meghan Coon

Meghan Coon is a Tech & Hardware Writer for Videogamer