Locked Vs Unlocked CPU

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Today there are processors with a large number of differences between them. It is also well known that there are processors that are locked and those that are unlocked. Many novice users do not know the differences between locked and unlocked processors. That is why here we have compiled the necessary information for users to learn all about it.

Having a locked CPU can be just as efficient as an unlocked CPU. Each of them can be better suited for different activities. So knowing the specifications of each of these options allows you to make a better decision. The following data enable any user to acquire the most suitable CPU according to their needs and activities.

What is a Locked CPU?

A CPU lock is a procedure required to lock a clock multiplier built into a CPU. This lock can be available until it can be removed or permanently. In this way, it is possible to prevent any user from having the possibility of overclocking.

A lock on a CPU tries to safeguard the functions and prevent users from using the CPU for what it was not designed for. Overclocking can sometimes damage some of the CPU’s essential components. Some manufacturers incorporate these blocks to be able to manufacture CPUs of different ranges with slower performance.

Sometimes a CPU may contain some of its functions inhibited. This means that a CPU lock has been incorporated to protect and prevent the change of some functions. On most occasions, a lock is usually applied to the clock multiplier or a core so that a CPU can provide a particular performance state.

When the performance state is locked, it is not possible to increase performance by overclocking. It is also not possible to decrease power consumption by sub-clock. Similarly, we can also find some CPU models that allow specific functions to be unlocked inside. This is specially designed for enthusiasts with the proper knowledge.

In such a way that some gamers can overclock a CPU. When it comes to an Intel CPU, we can find the letter K. This usually happens with many models like the Core i7 3770K. Something similar happens with AMD, which also uses the letter k as they used to use the Black designation.

For some years now, the CPU lock has been incorporated. Especially this happened during the early years of manufacturing this technology. Like all others, there were certain specifications and imperfections in these CPUs. However, many of these models will continue to be sold as low-end CPUs.

Some models incorporate four cores inside. However, one to two of them were blocked as they could cause problems. This is how we could find some quad-core CPU that had two active cores. The locked cores did not work and thus could be prevented from causing problems.

This also changed over time as locks were no longer used on a CPU for malfunctioning cores. Nevertheless, the locks continued to exist to block precisely the cores that work. In this way, it was possible to continue to serve the lower segments.

Read More: Best CPU for RX 480

What is an UnLocked CPU?

As mentioned above, some locks are usually built into a CPU. This way, users cannot make some modifications. An unlocked CPU can operate without any lock. So it is a CPU that is free to make different modifications.

A CPU has a specific CPU speed rating to run. So the CPU that is not locked can be modified in this sense. Each user can optimize the CPU speed or reduce this speed to reduce the power consumption.

Sometimes it is necessary to deal with additional heat when the user tries to improve the CPU speed. For this purpose, users often incorporate superior CPU cooling to deal with the temperature. Even overclocking may also require a higher voltage according to the new CPU requirements.

Some people may also use BIOS settings instead. Today there is a wide variety of CPUs that can offer non-blocking functionality. However, these units tend to be some of the most expensive. At the same time, an unlocked CPU is of little use to a user who only needs to perform everyday tasks.

A locked CPU with an average CPU speed is usually more than enough to perform everyday tasks. At the same time, overclocking is not recommended when you do not have all the necessary knowledge. Overclocking means having a higher speed on a CPU that is not ready for it.

Locked VS Unlocked CPU – Common And Differences

Locked Vs Unlocked CPU

Some characteristics should be taken into consideration before choosing one of these models. This would allow you to make a better decision when selecting a specific CPU.

Common Features

Everyday tasks:

Either option can perform common tasks with excellent efficiency. The standard speed of the locked CPU is usually more than enough for routine tasks. Within the everyday tasks, we can include all those tasks related to those of an office. This does not include tasks that require design software or similar.

Similar base speed:

Any of the options can provide a base speed identical to each other. On rare occasions, we can find unlocked processors that offer a higher clock speed than locked processors. However, in most cases, the speeds are usually comparable to each other.


Overclocking can be performed in either of the two options. Of course, it must be considered that overclocking on a locked CPU is much more difficult. An unlocked CPU provides a much easier and faster overclocking.

Read More: Latest CPUs for RTX 2060



As we have noted, one of the most distinct differences is in the price of each CPU. A locked CPU is usually a much less expensive option relative to an unlocked CPU. It should be taken into consideration that an unlocked CPU is usually most beneficial for high-performance tasks. This may mean using complex design software or running games with high requirements.

Additional components:

Having an unlocked CPU means that the user has the possibility of overclocking. However, increasing the speed of a CPU that is not rated for it may bring other requirements. Every user needs some way to cope with the different temperatures. So optimized cooling may be required.

Ease of Procedure:

As we have mentioned, an unlocked CPU is much easier for overclocking. This means that performing this procedure on a locked CPU is much more complex, and more mistakes can be made.

Can You Unlock A Locked CPU?

Of course, many people are interested in unlocking a locked CPU. We have heard some people claim that you can unlock a locked CPU, although it is challenging. It is essential to mention that a physical process is built to lock a CPU in every manufacturing process itself.

In most cases, it is genuinely impossible to unlock a CPU that is locked in this way. There are genuinely complex procedures that seek to prevent unlocking a CPU that the manufacturer has locked. This is done because the manufacturers intend to sell other unlocked units and which are logically more expensive.

In other words, there is not only a software limitation that has been imposed on a locked CPU. If this were the occasion, many people could incorporate some program to bypass the factory software. Anyway, there are specific methods to perform overclocking.

This process is known as BCLK overclocking and allows you to adjust the base clock speed of the locked CPU. This procedure can increase the power limit of the CPU that has been locked. In such a way that this, in turn, manages to optimize the base clock speed of the locked CPU.

However, it is essential to note that there are some drawbacks to consider when using this procedure. The blocked CPU with this overclocking will generate higher temperature and heat. As most users know, heat is the main enemy of the CPU and any other electronic component.

In turn, this excessive heat can cause additional problems. Unstable performance with this overclocking on the locked CPU is the norm. At the same time, you cannot get as good performance when overclocking a locked CPU with this overclocking. Instead, much more favorable results are obtained when overclocking on an unlocked CPU.

Is an unlocked CPU worth it?

Once we have mentioned the above, we must consider if an unlocked CPU is worth it. This also means answering whether it is worth overclocking a CPU. We must remember that overclocking manages to increase the clock speed of a CPU. In this way, it expands the built-in factory limits for a given CPU.

This speed increase increases the number of instructions per second that a CPU can process. The downside is that more heat is generated, while the upside is that the performance of a single core is optimized. So overclocking allows a CPU to perform a more significant number of tasks with greater efficiency.

Keep in mind that it does not make a noticeable difference in any task. The apparent difference can only be analyzed in a small number of frames for high-performance gaming. It should also be taken into consideration that overclocking performed on an unlocked CPU requires other components.

The most common is to have an additional cooler perfectly compatible with the needs of the overclocking performed on the unlocked CPU. This generates other expenses and must be considered if it is an Intel or AMD CPU. Some processors usually incorporate a cooler when it is an unlocked CPU.

At the same time, some specific knowledge is required to avoid mistakes and get the most out of them. Many users do not have the knowledge needed to do so. It is in these situations where the results obtained are too limited.

However, overclocking can be efficient when using professional software. At the same time, overclocking also can avoid different problems such as bottlenecks and provides excellent preparation for the future when it comes to gaming. You don’t get the results a user would expect.

So an unlocked CPU is worth it if the user needs to perform a lot of professional tasks. Having an unlocked CPU for gaming may not be the best fit. Today, several processors and other components can help get a good result in this regard.

Are unlocked processors more expensive?

One of the considerations between an unlocked and locked processor is the cost of each option. Most of the time, an unlocked processor is usually more expensive compared to a locked CPU. This is because an unlocked processor can provide easy overclocking suitable for many users with little or a lot of experience.

However, it is also essential to consider that an unlocked processor is a more future-proof unit. An unlocked processor has the potential to avoid different problems when performing a large number of tasks. The capabilities of an unlocked processor are usually higher, and that is why they are more expensive.


As we have seen, a locked processor is usually the least expensive and most suitable option for everyday tasks. At the same time, a locked processor is generally more than enough to enjoy games.

Instead, an unlocked processor requires a larger budget but provides a more suitable unit for the future. At the same time, it is possible to perform efficient and trouble-free overclocking on an unlocked processor.

Either option can be efficient for specific tasks. Experts claim that there is not a big difference when overclocking an unlocked processor for gaming. Instead, different hardware options can provide a better result.

Saqib Ali

Saqib Ali

Saqib Ali is a Computer Science Graduate and passionate about Technology. He loves to write about gadgets, computer devices, etc.

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