Locked Vs Unlocked CPU | Which One Is Best For You

Locked Vs Unlocked CPU
Locked Vs Unlocked CPU

Locked Vs Unlocked CPU | Which One Is Best For You

An unlocked CPU has an unlocked clock multiplier, allowing it to be rapidly and readily overclocked. However, this method cannot overclock a locked CPU; instead, BCLK overclocking must be used.

It might be a complicated process if you don’t know what to look for when choosing a CPU for your new gaming PC. After all, a CPU’s this overclocking technique has many significant disadvantages performance isn’t as easy to judge as GPU performance when gaming. Furthermore, there are a variety of factors to consider.

How Can I Identify If a Processor Is Locked Or Unlocked?

The CPU’s clock multiplier is what we’re talking about when we say “locked” and “unlocked.” It can overclock the CPU freely by altering the multiplier if the multiplier is unlocked. Still, it cannot be overclocked this way if the multiplier is locked. “Unlocked multiplier” refers to the ability to alter both the multiplier and the CPU frequency in the CPU settings to overclock the system to more incredible speeds.

Look for a “K” letter marking the model number’s end for standard Intel Core gaming CPUs. All Intel CPUs with the K designation and two-letter assignments such as “KF” and “HK,” is unlocked.

You won’t have to seek AMD Ryzen CPUs because they’re all unlocked, from the smallest budget-friendly Ryzen 3 model to the high-end Ryzen 9 and Ryzen Thread ripper monsters. In addition, the “X” designation at the end of the model number on some Ryzen models has nothing to do with the multiplier; it signifies that the CPU is somewhat quicker and performs better when overclocked.

Some Models Of The Unlocked CPU

Unlocked CPUs, such as the Skylake Core i7-6700k and Haswell-E Core i7-5820k, have an unlocked clock multiplier marked by a k at the end of the model number. Thus, unlocked CPUs may be overclocked faster than factory core speeds when combined with the right chipset, such as the Z-170, and in the hands of a competent techie. However, overclocking is not possible on locked CPUs.

Overclocking Vs Turbo Feature Of Locked and Unlocked CPU

Locked Intel CPUs are less expensive and have stock cooling, but they can’t overclock them. Unlocked CPUs are more costly and require an aftermarket cooler, but they can overclock them if combined with a Z-type motherboard.

The “K” processors in Intel’s mainstream chips are generally the fastest, having faster clock rates than the ordinary chips without a letter. It implies the chip has been “unlocked,” which means that it may adjust its clock speeds — or “overclocked” — by a user to get a bit more performance out of it than what comes out of the box.

You may have observed that all contemporary Intel i5 and i7 CPUs have two clock speeds listed in their specifications. For example, “3.3 GHz, up to 3.9 GHz.”  is the Turbo function included with specific CPUs, which, while similar to Overclocking in principle, is not the same thing.

Turbo mode is a temporary overclocking that the CPU performs on itself when it needs a boost. The turbo process itself is entirely undetectable, and you’d never know it’s taking place in the bowels of your computer. It’s not a feature that only unlocked “k” CPUs have.

When it comes to gaming, the response is almost always a resounding no. Of course, this depends on how CPU-intensive a game is and whether the CPU is bottlenecking the GPU, but in most cases, the in-game speed boost from CPU overclocking is only a few frames.

Overclocking is mostly a hobby for enthusiasts. For the overclocking fanatic, getting there is half the pleasure. Thus the act of attempting to squeeze every last bit of processing power out of a CPU is part of the enjoyment. The procedure will most likely feel like a burden for individuals who aren’t part of that group with little payoff.

If you want to overclock, purchase the unlocked CPU; there’s no purpose in getting the unlocked version if you don’t. However, I recommend getting the unlocked version because you can overclock in the future instead of buying a new CPU.

Shouldn’t Non-Over Clockers Avoid These Unlocked CPUs?

Not entirely, at least. Intel has made their fastest CPU by stock core speed – the i7-6700k – an unlocked processor with the Skylake generation, as they did with the Broadwell and Haswell generations before it, to stimulate customer interest in these unlocked “k” processors. So, if you require the fastest processing speed feasible for your application, an unlocked CPU may be just what you’ve been looking for, even if you never intend to Overclock.

Is It Possible To Unlock A Locked CPU?

It’s difficult to unlock a locked CPU since it’s a physical process that occurs during the manufacturing process, not a software constraint that can overcome with the assistance of a particular application or utility. On the other hand, Locked CPUs may overclock by changing their base clock speed, a process known as BCLK overclocking. 

BCLK overclocking works by increasing the CPU’s power limit, which then increases the base clock speed. However, this overclocking technique has many significant disadvantages: it increases the amount of heat created by the CPU, might result in inconsistent performance, and the total performance improvement will be less than with an unlocked CPU.

Unlocked CPU Worth It:

If you have an unlocked processor, you can overclock it later if you choose. However, given that you can obtain a Z370 board for the same price, if not less, than that motherboard, I’d recommend it even if you don’t intend to overclock right now. 

Unlocked CPUs may be overclocked faster than factory core speeds when combined with the right chipset, such as the Z-170, and in the hands of a competent techie. However, overclocking is not possible on locked CPUs.

Cannot unlock a locked CPU since it is a physical process during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, it means that a locked CPU does not merely have a software constraint that can overcome with the aid of a specific application or tool. 

The clock multiplier on an unlocked CPU is unlocked, allowing for significantly more overclocking. Unlocked Intel CPUs feature a higher default clock than the locked version of the identical processor. You can still overclock locked processors, but you’ll have a lot less freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Necessary For Me To Have An Unlocked CPU?

If you want to overclock, purchase the unlocked CPU; there’s no purpose in getting the unlocked version if you don’t. However, I recommend getting the unlocked version because you can overclock in the future instead of buying a new Cpu.

What Is The Use Of Having An Unlocked Processor?

The clock multiplier on an unlocked CPU is unlocked, allowing for significantly more overclocking. Unlocked Intel CPUs feature a higher default clock than the locked edition of the identical processor. You can still overclock locked processors, but you’ll have a lot less freedom.

Is It Possible To Game With a Locked CPU?

An unlocked CPU has an unlocked clock multiplier, allowing it to be rapidly and readily overclocked. Cannot use this method to overclock a locked CPU; instead, BCLK overclocking must be used. After all, a CPU’s performance isn’t as easy to judge as GPU performance when gaming.

What Is a CPU’s Unlocked Multiplier?

“Unlocked multiplier” implies that in your CPU settings, you may modify both the multiplier and the CPU frequency to help overclock the machine to more incredible speeds.

What Is The Difference Between K AND F Intel?

The integrated visuals make a difference. The “KF” processors have disabled GPUs, but the “K” CPUs have fully working graphics. The KF CPUs are likewise listed at the same price as the K chips, implying that Intel has cut functionality while keeping the overall cost.

Can You Overclock a locked CPU?

Intel has imposed restrictions on base clock overclocking on locked CPUs, but not on the chip’s power constraints. It implies that your system’s power limit will be increased from 65 to 125 Watts. The CPU will notice this, recognize that it has more excellent thermal and power headroom, and adjust its clock rates appropriately.

Conclusion 

The ones that aren’t locked can be overclocked, but the ones that aren’t can’t. Unlocked SKUs have also timed a touch faster than unlocked ones right out of the box. The restricted CPUs also have specific added capabilities that aren’t available on the unlocked variants, which are more oriented toward corporate situations. Some models have the letter KF next to them, indicating that they are both unlocked and lack integrated graphics. You’ll need a z-series board that’s wholly unlocked for overclocking if you wish to run you’re RAM at maximum speed. You won’t overclock the chip, but you can overclock the RAM if you have a suitable motherboard.

If you think you’d benefit from the performance gain, such as if you plan to use CPU-intensive apps in addition to gaming, or if you have money to spare and want to construct a high-quality, future-proof gaming PC, an unlocked CPU is a good investment.

Avatar of Muhammad Nadeem

I am a computer science graduate, and I love to play games. As an offline and online marketplace seller of computer hardware, I have the opportunity to help people make informed decisions about what they can use for their needs.