Yeah, you want it. The idea of getting more performance from your laptop is enticing. And when the Turbo Boost kicks in, you’re amazed at the speed with which your laptop can perform tasks. But your understanding of how it works is clear as mud. Most modern Intel CPUs are equipped with Turbo Boost technology to help in those moments where pure processing power is required. By increasing the clock speed of the processor cores, you can experience some impressive power gains. In what follows, we’ll go into more detail about how Intel’s Turbo Boost technology works and show you how to enable this feature in your system.
What’s Intel Turbo Boost Technology?
Some programs are more dependent on RAM to run smoothly, while others are more CPU-intensive. This means that it’s not always necessary for the processor to run at maximum core speed.
When purchasing a laptop or CPU, there are two numbers on the spec sheet by the CPU information: one is the base clock speed for the CPU, which is the frequency at which it will run normally. The other is the Max Turbo Frequency, which is the speed it will run when the need arises – It works a bit like Honda’s vTec.
Intel Turbo Boost Technology lets the CPU run at its base clock speed when the workload is light. And when the workload becomes heavy, it rachets up the clock speed to the max frequency.
Turbo Boost technology increases CPU speeds up to the Max Turbo Frequency, while staying within a safe TDP (thermal design power).
Enabling Intel Turbo Boost
Turbo Boost is enabled by default.
Unfortunately, you can’t decide how much performance you get – The OS (Operating System) controls the CPU, which decides for itself how high clock speeds ramp up without throttling.
The way Turbo Boost is activated works like hyper-threading in that If the application you’re working with can use the extra processor core speed to its full potential. Turbo Boost automatically kicks in to provide more performance.
Intel has two versions of its Turbo Boost technology:
Turbo Boost 2.0 is responsible for accelerating CPU and graphics ability for peak performance by automatically allowing the processor cores to run faster than the standard operating clock speed.
Turbo Boost 3.0 is more dynamic, providing one or more processor cores with the ability to run at a clock rate faster than other cores by automatically assigning applications to specific cores.
The only option here for you is to either leave it enabled and have it work on its own or disable it entirely in BIOS. You can monitor when Turbo Boost is enabled via third party software. Or you’ll know its operating because your laptop fans will be louder.
NOTE: Turbo Boost works regardless of the OS installed.
Disabling Intel’s Turbo Boost
You can disable it with a simple switch in the BIOS.
To disable Turbo Boost,
STEP 1: Enter the BIOS setup. From the System Utilities screen, select System Configuration.
STEP 2: Then, navigate to BIOS/Platform Configuration (RBSU) > Performance Options > Intel ® Turbo Boost Technology and press Enter.
STEP 3: Next, select any of the following settings and press Enter.
- Enabled– Enables the logical processor cores on processors supporting hyper-threading technology.
- Disabled– Reduces power usage and slows down the maximum achievable performance of a system under some workloads.
STEP 4: Press F10 to SAVE the changes and exit.
Turbo Boost Technology cannot be enabled by the core as it is a processor technology — If one core is active, the technology is enabled. To see Intel Turbo Boost Technology in action, you can check out the Intel Turbo Boost Technology Monitor.
Is Turbo Boosting Safe?
Using Intel Turbo Boost technology regularly won’t harm your laptop. The clock speed when Turbo Boost is activated adjusts automatically to the workload the CPU is experiencing. Running the CPU at higher than base clock speeds doesn’t have a significant impact on hardware.
As long as the laptop has enough cooling ability, your device will be fine for at least the next five years. The heating and cooling of the CPU through the range of temps they’re subject to, however, does inherently cause degradation to the silicon over time.
But will the lifespan be reduced from using Turbo Boost? Not unless you use the laptop well past its useful life. And definitely not if you even attempt to keep your machine up to date.
Will Turbo Boost Technology Damage My CPU?
Even if you constantly run the CPU at boosted speeds, you won’t damage it.
That said. Yes, running a CPU at any clock speed will introduce physical stresses that, given enough time, leads to failure.
And CPUs (especially in laptops) suffer from thermal throttling whether the Turbo Boost feature is activated or not. That’s why when the chip gets too hot, clock speed slows down to prevent damage from over-heating.
The lifespan of a CPU depends on:
- how often it runs hot, and
- how many times it’s taken through full power-cycles
But a pretty sophisticated combination of hardware and software is in place to help you get the most performance without damaging the chip. And CPUs are under load so rarely that a few dozen hours a month at boosted speeds won’t make any difference.
This is really handy technology. Turbo Boost is basically the operation used by Intel CPUs to enhance performance by increasing the clock speed of the processor cores. It helps the CPU complete intensive tasks. And while it’s not right for every use case. It can be a good fit for normal, day-to-day tasks. Don’t get bogged down with all the little details. The most important thing to know is that Turbo Boost helps increase CPU performance. But if you find yourself worrying too much about the lifespan of your CPU, you can turn Turbo Boost off in the BIOS settings.