CPU (Central Processing Unit) is one of the essential hardware of a computer system. It is like the brain of a computer. CPU is also known as the processor. It is installed in the motherboard of a PC or laptop. Different types of CPUs are available in several processing powers that operate at different speeds.
This article will discuss why CPU speed fluctuates and how to stop it. Not only this, but we will also discuss all the causes that cause your computer processor speed to fluctuate. In addition to this, we will solve each of the problems one by one in detail. So without any delays, let’s start our topic.
Why Does CPU Speed Fluctuate & How To Stop It?
Overheating, wrong performance settings, scanning processes, CPU overclocking, certain apps, specific games, etc., are different reasons behind the fluctuations in your CPU speed. You can disable CPU overclocking to fix this issue. By installing an advanced cooling system, you can overcome CPU overheating.
Every computer system CPU has a specific limit to work on a certain number of apps and software simultaneously. It also depends on the total RAM installed on your computer. The CPU speed becomes unstable when you open more apps, one after another, that your CPU cannot handle at a time.
You can easily stop your CPU speed from fluctuating only by reducing the load on it. Just close the unnecessary apps running in the front and the background. For Widows 10/11 users, these apps are usually hidden in the system tray. You can also open the “Task Manager” to select a particular app and close it.
The first and foremost factor behind the fluctuations in your CPU speed can be the wrong performance settings of your computer. You can easily change these settings, especially when using a Windows operating system such as Windows 10. First, open the “Control Panel” application and go to “Hardware and Sound.”
You will see different options where you need to select “Power Options.” On the next page, you will see other power plans. In the “Additional plan section,” deselect the “High Performance” option. In the end, select the “Balanced” option, which is recommended, from the “Preferred Plans” section on the top.
Moreover, a few reasons affect your CPU and cause frequency and speed fluctuations. We have here collected some of the significant reasons.
Overclocking is another reason behind fluctuating CPU speed because it can sometimes make your computer unstable, primarily when your motherboard does not support it. We increase the operating frequency of our computer processor to maximum when overclocking. It is because the frequency is the CPU’s speed.
We recommend you disable CPU overclocking to see if it is the culprit. You can easily do it by entering your UEFI or BIOS. You can also do it through your software. For CPU overclocking, you need to use compatible and powerful hardware, such as a motherboard, RAMs, etc., to prevent CPU speed fluctuations.
- Effects of Overheat on CPU Frequency
Overheating is another reason behind the fluctuations in the speed of your CPU. The processor is made up of silicone and other doping materials. These materials change their physical properties at different temperatures. Hence, it is a valid reason behind the speed fluctuation in your CPU.
There are many reasons behind CPU overheating, such as overclocking, dusty computer system hardware, poor ventilation system, hot room temperature, slow computer fans, etc. A heater placed too close to your computer can also cause its temperatures to increase, which will also affect the CPU speed.
- Old and Dusty Computer Systems
Cleaning your computer is very necessary from time to time. Dust particles make a thick layer on the computer hardware that stops the heat from dissipating in the air. Overclocking increases the operating frequency of a CPU, which sometimes causes fluctuations in the computer processor’s speed.
You can prevent CPU overheating by upgrading your computer system fans because of their high speed. Dropping the room temperature using an AC will also help keep your CPU cool. The best option is to upgrade your traditional CPU cooling system with an advanced one, such as a liquid CPU cooling kit.
- CPU Thermal Throttling
If your CPU speed drops at once, then it is because of CPU Thermal Throttling. It is a built-in mechanism. It also happens due to the power-saving modes in the Windows operating system. You can do this by disabling the power management feature through your BIOS or changing the operating system settings.
CPU thermal throttling also occurs in overclocked and overheated computer processors. When your processor reaches a specific temperature, it drops its speed by stopping executing some program instructions. This mechanism is only to protect your CPU from overheating and burning out its cores to itself.
- Scanning Processes
Most of the scanning processes cause the CPU speed to fluctuate, and it is because of the different CPU usage. These processes include antivirus, data recovery, updates related to the operating system or software, etc. During the updates, you can connect your computer to a powerful internet connection.
Leaving your computer during scans is the best option for you. If you are scanning your computer for viruses, then leave it until the scanning is complete. Do the same if you are recovering lost and deleted data from your computer storage. Your CPU speed will stop fluctuating once the scanning is done.
- Unnecessary Background Apps
The apps and services running in the background use your computer system resources, especially the CPU and RAM. The speed of your processor increases when it executes them as a high-priority task and decreases after their execution. Hence, more apps running in the background cause CPU speed to fluctuate.
We recommend you close the unnecessary background apps to eliminate the annoying CPU speed fluctuations. It will also make more space in your RAM. “Windows Task Manager” has a tab named “Startup.” It allows you to disable the apps starting with your computer. Most apps will enable you to close their startups.
- Change Expired or Dried Thermal Paste
When the thermal paste expires or becomes dry, it stops conducting the CPU heat. As a result, the heat stocks in your processor affect its performance by dropping its speed. Most of the time, a couple of cores in your computer processor burn out. And mostly, it is your CPU to burn out.
Every CPU has a thermal paste applied between its die and the heatsink. This paste is highly conductive. It absorbs the heat from your computer processor and transfers it to the heatsink. In the end, the CPU fan dissipates this heat in the air to keep your CPU as cool as possible. One day, this paste expires.
If you have the same issue causing your CPU speed to fluctuate, we recommend you change the thermal paste on your CPU. You do not need any experts for this because it is a simple process you can do yourself. In most computer accessory stores, thermal paste is available in different forms, such as injections.
- Outdated Motherboard
The culprit may be your motherboard VRMs instead of your CPU. Electronic components are installed in the computer motherboards called VRM (voltage regulator modules). VRMs are responsible for providing enough stable power to your CPU. But when they malfunction, then your CPU speed starts to fluctuate.
In addition, when your CPU is trying to run at its maximum speed, especially when overclocked, the bad VRMs of an old motherboard prevent your CPU from gaining it. As a result, your computer processor can not be overclocked properly. The only solution to this problem is to upgrade your computer motherboard.
- Old and Traditional CPU Coolers
Your computer processor must be cool either you live in a region where temperatures are very high, or your CPU is overheating because of overload. The traditional CPU cooler does not work in these cases because it only has a heatsink and a fan. Your room temperature should also be more or less 25°C.
Hence, you should consider installing an advanced CPU cooling system to prevent your CPU from overheating. Most of the kits will cool your CPU down 30 times faster. As a result, you will experience that your CPU speed is not fluctuating very much. It will also increase the lifespan of your computer processor.
How To Prevent Drops in CPU Speed?
You can easily prevent drops in CPU speed only by setting the computer system’s cooling policy. Just set the cooling system policy to active from the listings. The benefit of doing this is your computer system fan will spin faster to keep your processor cool, even before your CPU reaches its full speed.
Frequent drops cause the CPU speed to fluctuate dramatically. Your computer system does this when your CPU continuously works on high-end apps and games and becomes overheated. Doing this is necessary to maintain the temperature of your processor and save it from burning out.
As a result, your computer processor will remain as cool as possible, and you will hardly experience any drops or fluctuations in your CPU speed. It will not only increase the lifespan of your processor, but it will also make your computer run smoother. Try to take good care of your computer processor.
Some applications will also help you control the speed of your computer fans. Most of them are free to install. They are also lightweight enough to run in the background. Upgrading your CPU cooling system from the traditional one to the advance can also help with CPU speed drops and fluctuations.
Is CPU Clock Frequency Changing a Problem?
In some cases changing CPU clock frequency is a problem, but in many cases, it is a normal response of your computer processor. For example, when you execute high-end or graphics-intensive apps and games, the CPU frequency will boost to nearly maximum. But in the case of simple apps, it remains normal.
While not using your computer, your CPU still works on some processes running in the background, such as Windows services. But during this, its frequency is comparatively lower. The frequency of your computer processor suddenly rises when you open some app or game installed on your computer.
On the other hand, the clock frequency fluctuates when your CPU is overheated. If it works on a higher frequency, it will drop due to excess heat. Your computer system does this to prevent your CPU from burning out. That is why the professionals who overclock their CPU install an advanced CPU cooler.
Your CPU speed fluctuates for several reasons, such as wrong performance settings, CPU overclocking, overheating, scanning process, certain apps, games, etc. In most cases, you can quickly solve this issue either by changing the settings or by stopping your CPU from overclocking. Keep your CPU cool as well.
Disabling the CPU overclocking through your UEFI/BIOS or the software can stop CPU speed fluctuations. Installing an advanced CPU cooler speeds up the CPU cooling process. Upgrading your old computer fans and maintaining a sound ventilation system stops CPU speed fluctuations.
Correcting the performance settings of your operating system, apps, games, etc., is another way to stop the fluctuations in your CPU speed. To stop the fluctuations, we recommend you keep your computer clean from time to time because dust makes your CPU and the other hardware overheat.
I am Syed Moazzam Raza and I have completed my Masters of Computer Science. I have vast experience in Article and blog post writing. I love to write about technology, the latest gadgets, software updates, etc. I am currently working as a freelance writer and contributing content for various reputed websites.