The more strenuous the tasks you carry out on your PC are, the more your CPU (processor) will heat up. This becomes particularly noticeable during gaming or heavyweight video editing, but your CPU may be prone to overheating anyway if it’s poorly ventilated, or the thermal paste on the chip has worn out. Luckily, there’s a borderline-miraculous tool that can reduce high temperatures by a process called “undervolting.”
It’s called Throttlestop, and we’re going to show you how to use it to cool down a toasty CPU.
What Is Undervolting?
Before pushing on, it’s worth knowing what undervolting is, as it’s a pretty serious process. While undervolting doesn’t damage your CPU, overdoing it can make your system unstable (though it’s easy to reverse). Overvolting, on the other hand, can damage your CPU if abused, but used carefully, can allow you to overclock your CPU to higher speeds. Wwe won’t be covering that today.)
Undervolting, simply put, reduces the amount of power/voltage being directed to your CPU. The more power sent to your CPU, the hotter it gets. The lesser the power, the cooler it gets. Simple. Another perk of undervolting for laptop users is that it extends battery life.
Best of all, undervolting doesn’t noticeably affect performance, even during high-intensity activities like gaming. It really is as good as it sounds!
Undervolt Your CPU Using Throttlestop
Throttlestop is a tool with many purposes. Its very name refers to its use in overriding throttling systems in your CPU to increase performance, but we’re going to kind of be doing the opposite.
First, download and install Throttlestop, then open it.
You’ll see a bunch of numbers and options that at this point will probably make you think you’re in too deep.
Ignore the numbers. More relevant are the four select-circles at the top-left. These let you switch between different profiles, each of which can have their own undervolt settings. We’ll switch this to “Game,” as we’re creating a profile for gaming, but you can leave it on “Performance” if you like.
So with the profile that you want to set up selected, click the “FIVR” button in Throttlestop. In the new window tick the “Unlock Adjustable Voltage” box.
Next, we’ll be decreasing the “Offset Voltage” slider, which is the undervolting part. We recommend decreasing this to “-100mV” to start.
Once you’ve done that, click “CPU Cache” in the “FIVR Control” section, and set it to the same voltage. It’s crucial that CPU Core and CPU Cache always have the same Voltage Offset.
Once you’ve done this, click “Apply” and continue to track your system stability and CPU temperatures. (You can track CPU temperatures from the main Throttlestop window.)
If your system remains stable (no blue-screen crashes), then you can continue decreasing the CPU Cache and CPU Core voltage in -10mV increments to further reduce your CPU temperature. If you reach a point where your system crashes, reboot your PC, open Throttlestop, and bring the Offset Voltage back up towards a point at which your system was stable.
Different CPUs can handle different levels of undervoltage, so you’ll need to experiment a bit to find out the limits for your CPU. My Intel i7-6700HQ CPU goes down to -150mV with no problem, but yours may differ.
When you’re done making adjustments, click “OK” in the FIVR control Panel, then “Turn On” in the main Throttlestop window.
If you want to avoid having to open Throttlestop manually each time you want to undervolt, you can set it to open on Windows startup. Refer to our guide on how to use the Windows Task Scheduler for more info.
Using this method I reduced my CPU gaming temperature from nearly 90°C down to a much less alarming 70-75°C. This is just about as much effect as you can have on your CPU temperature from within Windows.
If you’re still having trouble, though, you may want to think about opening up your PC and applying thermal paste to the CPU or blowing away the dust.