The performance of the processor installed in any PC is determined by several factors. Some are immutable, such as architecture, number of cores and threads, but are affected by various factors that can change over time and even with user interactions.
We can say, therefore, that the performance of the processor we use has a specific basis, but that it can improve or worsen depending on various factors that we will talk about in this article, which will help you find out how to improve its performance without spending money (or with minimal investment), and how to extend its useful life effortlessly.
First of all, I want to clarify that in this guide we will not give you any recommendations or advice that could pose a risk to your PC, as we believe it is not worth taking extreme measures to improve processor performance.
Updating the BIOS can improve processor performance
The motherboard is a fundamental piece in any PC. On it we install important components such as the RAM, the graphics card and the processor, and this can affect, for better or for worse, the performance of each of the components we assemble.
In this sense, the BIOS version we use can not only affect the performance of the processor, but also determines relevant aspects such as the compatibility of our motherboard with certain processors, the support of certain types of RAM at specific frequencies and the functions that we will have. always available. For example, AM4 motherboards with a B450 and higher chipset are compatible with Ryzen 5000 processors, but require a previous BIOS update.
AMD is the company that has been able to improve the performance of its processors the most by resorting to BIOS updates.
Keeping the BIOS up to date can help us increase processor performance, directly or indirectly, so it’s worth keeping an eye on available updates and installing them when they reach the final version and are stable. Always use the official versions of your motherboard manufacturer.
Adjust the power plan and processor status
The performance of the processor is deeply linked to the power plan we use, this is no secret, but there are still people who do not understand the importance of this in their daily life and limit themselves to continuously use a single plan, even if the your actual needs change dramatically at different times.
If we use a laptop and want to prioritize autonomy over processor performance, we can use a balanced power plan or even a low-power one. In specific cases, it might also be a good idea to lower the maximum processor state. However, if we want to maximize processor performance, we have to do the opposite.
The processor status can be easily configured through Windows 10 by entering the path “Change power plan settings> Change advanced settings> Processor status”. The minimum state sets the lowest working frequency that the processor will be able to reach and the maximum state sets the maximum frequency it will be able to reach.
If we use new processors that efficiently manage turbo mode, and then adjust their working frequencies very quickly and precisely in real time, it will not be essential to use a base state of 100%, but in relatively old chips this adjustment can help us. to slightly improve processor performance, as it saves that delay that occurs while performing the frequency change.
Changing the thermal paste can make a difference
It is one of the most basic maintenance we need to perform on any PC, and it is also one of the most important, as it can make a big difference in our processor temperatures, performance and useful life.
A processor that hasn’t changed thermal paste in five years will experience higher temperatures than a processor that uses, for example, a thermal paste that was changed a few months ago. This has an explanation, and that is that the former will be deeply degraded and dry, which means that it will not allow for good contact between the processor and the heatsink and the heat transfer will be very poor.
In such a scenario, heat will tend to build up in the processor. When this happens, temperatures can soar to worrying levels. A processor running at high temperatures tends to reduce its operating frequency to protect itself, which results in lower performance.
Blue screens, crashes, and crashes are also other common problems that result from excessive heat in a processor. Changing the thermal paste is the best way to avoid these problems and can help us improve processor performance.
Make efficient and intelligent use of the processor
If you have a processor that allows for overclocking, the fastest and easiest way to improve its performance would be to increase its working frequencies. However, you should be aware that improper overclocking can degrade processor performance and even negatively affect its useful life.
If you intend to overclock, do it safely and always keep in mind the limitations of your PC and those of the cooling system you use. It is useless to bring a processor to 5.3 GHz if you will have to use, for example, a voltage of 1.5V and you will have to face temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees. Better less frequency, less voltage and more reasonable temperatures.
Remember that in some scenarios a state-of-the-art processor without overclocking, which independently and efficiently manages its working frequencies, can offer better performance than another that has been overclocked to certain values. By this I mean that it is not always worthwhile to overclock the processor.
Finally, we also need to check the use we make of the processor. If we have a chip that is deeply limited by the number of cores and threads, killing all background applications that can consume CPU-level resources can make a noticeable difference.
Cleaning and cooling of equipment
The thermal paste and the cooling system placed on the processor are two of the factors that most affect the temperature of the processor, but they are not the only ones. The heat that this component generates, and which is dissipated through both elements, remains inside the PC chassis, which means that without good airflow expelling it to the outside it could build up inside and cause serious problems.
Creating good airflow is important so that our PC receives cold air from the inside, which will help reduce the internal temperature and so that it can expel the warm air that builds up. Having front fans that draw in cold air, top fans that draw in hot air with a rear fan that draws in hot air is more than enough to ensure good airflow.
Also, we must not forget about cleanliness. Dust and dirt are two natural enemies of any electronic component, and over time they build up on fans and radiators, which can greatly reduce airflow and cooling. Regular cleaning can make a big difference, lower temperatures and allow for improved processor performance.
If you find yourself in an extreme case and the temperature inside your PC reaches too high levels, you can take, as a temporary solution, a simple but effective solution: remove the side cover to open the chassis. In specific situations, and in areas where the summer heat is unbearable, it can make a big difference. But keep in mind that the components will be exposed, with all the dangers that this entails.