In this guide we will show you how to overclock a Core i5-13600K CPU, as it proved to be an excellent overclocker in our review, going all the way to 5.7 GHz – a massive 600 MHz above the stock boost clock. We’ll take you through the process of applying a basic manual overclock and ensuring it’s stable. You’ll need a good heatsink or AIO liquid cooler in order to attempt this overclock.
Overclocking has been a main focus of Custom PC since we launched in 2003, and we’ve been pushing the latest CPUs to their limits for nearly 20 years. We have a boatload of knowledge and experience in overclocking, and we know which methods work best.
There haven’t been many CPUs you’d want to manually overclock recently, simply because so many are already pushed close to their limits out of the box that there’s not much overclocking headroom left. In addition, manually overclocking can also mean you lose peak boost frequencies. Intel CPUs do at least allow for per-core overclocking, which is one way around that issue, but with its latest 13th-gen Raptor Lake CPUs, Intel offers a degree of overclocking headroom that’s worth exploiting.
Check your temperatures
Start by checking your temperatures. Intel’s CPUs don’t run as hot as AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series chips, but you’ll still need to check you have sufficient headroom. You can also use CPU-Z to check your CPU’s boost frequencies and voltage, to see whether you need to apply loadline calibration in order to reduce vdroop, where the CPU voltage can fall under load.
Run the Prime95 smallfft test with AVX disabled, along with CPU-Z and CoreTemp. Our Core i5-13600K was sitting at 5.1GHz across all its P-Cores, and temperatures were mostly below 70°C after our ten-minute stress test, leaving plenty of headroom for an overclock. Head to your motherboard’s EFI by restarting your PC and pressing the Del key when an image appears on the screen.
Set the clock
Start by loading the XMP profile for your memory. This will ensure it’s running at the correct frequency, timings and voltage. This is important, as running it at stock settings can result in lost performance and simply setting the rated frequency yourself can result in stability issues.
We managed to hit an all-core overclock 5.7GHz with our Core i5-13600K test sample, but we’ll start by aiming for a lower frequency that should be achievable on most systems with good cooling. Start by locating the Performance Core (P-Core) settings.
We only want to adjust these, as the E-Cores often don’t overclock very far and the overclock also has a smaller impact here. Set the Performance Cores to sync all cores, and set the ratio to 55 in order to give you an all-core overclock of 5.5GHz.
This frequency is 400MHz higher than any boost frequency we saw at stock speed, so both lightly- threaded ad multi-threaded applications will benefit from this tweak. Your next step is to adjust the voltage (vcore). We used a vcore of 1.4V to hit 5.7GHz for our review, but we can start at a lower point here with a lower frequency.
Locate the CPU core voltage or vcore setting, set it to manual or fixed, and enter a voltage of 1.35V – the correct field is called CPU Core Voltage Override on our Asus board.
As we encountered a fair bit of vdroop during stress testing with our overclock, we recommend acting to counter this now with safe settings, and then you can always reduce your settings if your system is stable.
In order to limit vdroop, head to your CPU VRM settings, in this case under the DIGI+ VRM on our Asus motherboard, and locate the option for loadline calibration. We’ve set this to Level 3.
To allow more power to get to the CPU under sustained loads, we also need to open the taps a little. On our Asus motherboard, these options are located in the CPU power management section. You’re looking for power and current limits, which need to go up to their maximum settings.
This should equate to 511A for the CPU core/cache current limit, 4,095W for the long duration package power limit, 448 seconds for the package time window and 4,095W for the short duration package power limit. You can now save your settings and exit. If you have issues rebooting the PC, dial down the CPU frequency by 100MHz and raise the vcore by 0.01V to 1.36V.
Now it’s time to recheck your settings and fine-tune your overclock. We’ve used a voltage we know works and should be stable on most systems, but you should always try to lower this voltage as much as possible. Similarly, you may find that higher frequencies are achievable at this voltage too.
Firstly, we need to check if our overclock is stable, so run Prime95’s smallfft test with AVX disabled again for a ten-minute stress test, checking the temperatures with Core Temp. If the system freezes or exhibits strange behavior, try lowering the frequency by 100MHz or slightly raising the voltage, for example to 1.36V. We saw a peak temperature of 77°C, so there’s scope here for pushing your overclock further with higher voltages and frequencies.
From here, it’s worth playing some of your favorite games and using your most-used programs to check stability. Prime95 is a good stress-testing tool, but occasionally stability issues can occur in other programs even if Prime95 appears fine. Next, head back to the EFI and begin lowering the voltage in the smallest increments your motherboard allows. After each drop, save the settings then perform the Prime95 stress test again.
Eventually, your system will freeze or crash and that’s its way of telling you it needs more voltage. At this point, head to the EFI again and raise the voltage by two steps. This should prove stable and give you a decent overclock, but without using more power and generating more heat than necessary.
All that’s left to do now is enjoy your free extra CPU performance, and if you’ve got plenty of cooling headroom, you could even try cranking up the clock speed further – our test sample managed to hit 5.7 GHz with a 1.4V vcore.
This guide also applies to Intel’s Core i5-13600KF, which is the same CPU with the integrated GPU disabled. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our full guide to CPU overclocking for loads more detail on the theory. If you’re planning to overclock your CPU as part of a new build, then you’ll also want to read our full guide on how to build a gaming PC, which covers every step of the process.