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  Upping Vcore, CPU Overvolting Explained 
  Mar 06, 2002, 07:30am EST 


By: Dan Mepham

If you’ve ever overclocked a processor, or been around people who have, odds are you’ve heard people talk about 'upping the core-voltage' before. In fact, nowadays it’s pretty much a no-brainer. Just about anyone who overclocks anything knows that, often, an extra bit of voltage will help a component run at speeds it wouldn’t before, be it a CPU, video card, or even memory. But do you know why?

It’s one of those things we tend to take for granted. We don’t know why it works, all we know is that it does work, and that’s good enough for us. And that’s just fine, because in most cases, it really doesn’t matter why it works, just that it does (that’s engineering in a nutshell).

Unless, of course, you’re curious, in which case, we’ve got an answer for you! A common misconception is that increasing the voltage gives the CPU the added ‘power’ it needs to run at higher speeds. While it's true that power varies with voltage, it’s actually the current demands of the processor that increase with speed, not voltage demands (when you overclock a CPU, it requires more current at the same voltage, not more voltage with the same current). It doesn't need more power, it needs more current, so feeding it more voltage in an effort to increase power won't help. So why, then, does increasing the voltage a bit often help the CPU run faster, and with more stability? Read on, and we’ll explain.

1. Introduction
2. How Your CPU Thinks
3. It's All About Tolerance
4. Transient States
5. Putting it All Together
6. Summary

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