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What is Undervolting a CPU or GPU? Pros and Cons

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  • 4 min read

Almost everyone who has used a PC or a laptop has experienced heating of the CPU and GPU components, which results from the intense use of the hardware. The heat produced is not suitable for the components and can cause breakdowns. There are plenty of ways to cool down a desktop such as a liquid-cooled system or by running a fan that can draw more air inside the cabinet and can keep the temperatures under control.

This facility of running a bigger fan or a dedicated cooling unit inside the laptops is not viable, as they are meant to be more compact and portable. Heating issues are usually faced on compact machines when they are used for performing tedious tasks such as gaming or other graphic-intense work which requires the system to run at its full capacity. But these issues can also occur if you’re running old hardware.

You can use a cooling pad for your laptop, but lugging it around everywhere isn’t practical. Heat also brings the problem of thermal throttling alongwith, which results in reduced performance of the device when it gets heated under heavy load. If you are a gamer, you must have experienced your game lagging often with a drastic drop in frame rate, and that happens because of the thermal throttling of the GPU or CPU.

To reduce the heating of the components, you can go with under-volting the components.

Also read: Does force shutting down your PC hurt the CPU?

What is Undervolting?

Undervolting is the reduction of the voltage that is supplied to the components of the system in a way that the processing power remains unaltered. Since we reduce the voltage provided, the current drawn by the components is relatively lower, which results in lower heat production.

It is a difficult task to perform, and if performed, it should be done carefully. If you set the voltages correctly, your system will perform the same way sans heat issues. You can also overclock your CPU and extract the maximum juice.

Like almost every other such modification, Undervolting comes with several advantages as well as disadvantages.

Pros of Undervolting

  • Undervolting increases the shelf life of the components of the system.
  • It helps the system to run cooler.
  • It increases the performance of the system, which can be done by over-clocking.
  • Undervolting reduces heat significantly. So, the PC feels comfortable to use for a longer time.
  • It also increases the battery life of the system as the components draw less power.

Cons of Undervolting

Undervolting doesn’t impact the hardware but can cause the system to crash if not done correctly. It has to be done slowly, and the voltage should be reduced step by step. After reducing the voltage, the laptop should be checked for optimal performance using some software like 3DMark 03/05.

The other con of undervolting is that if the voltage is reduced too much, it can damage the chipset or the GPU.

Considering the pros and cons of Undervolting, it is a good thing to do to your system if you want to draw the maximum power. There is a good deal of software available in the market that can help you, but I would recommend you to get some advice from an expert if you’re new to fiddling with your PC.

If you are planning to under-volt your system or have already done that, let us know in the comment section below how it affects the performance of your laptop or desktop.

Also read: What is a Dedicated GPU? How is it different from an integrated GPU?

Akshit Kansal

Akshit Kansal

A BTech student whose interest lies in automobiles, tech, music, coding and badminton.