Intel Turbo Boost is a hardware technology that Intel uses to put additional electricity into its CPU’s to have them temporarily operate at a levels above their traditional specification.
You might be tempted to call this “overclocking” and while the concepts are very similar, they are definitely not the same.
The two big differences between overclocking and Intel Turbo Boost is the warranty and how long the chip runs at the higher speed:
- With a few exceptions overclocking is done by people that are risking their warranty. Overclocking is typically done in the computers firmware (basic software that is coded right into the hardware that tells the system what it can do) and once set, the CPU will run at that higher speed the entire time it is operating. I have personally seen 4 chips literally give off a puff of smoke and die from being overclocked. Hard core gamers, crypto-currency miners and scientific researchers will often spend big money on special CPU coolers (sometimes even water cooled!) to drive their chips well above their official maximum speed.
- Intel Turbo Boost uses complex algorithms built right into the processor core to automatically and temporarily (a few seconds to a few minutes) increase a CPU cores speed just when needed instead if all the time. Best of all, Turbo Boost does not void your warranty. A modern “chip” has 2 to 24 “cores” and each core is a full processor. Today, Intel typically puts 2 to 8 cores in a single chip “package” but it turns out that many software programs do not use more than one or two cores at a time. That means the “chip” often has a bunch of unused cores and so it could easily temporarily overclock the cores that are being used without causing damage.
Watch this simple two minute Intel video to gain an better understanding of how Turbo Boost operates in real life:
Like all technology, research just keeps making things better and in 2016 Intel released it’s third version of Turbo Boost, cleverly named Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0. The core (pun intended) concepts are the same but they have enhanced it. For serious details on Turbo Boost Max 3.0 read THIS article.