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I would like to use a second hand CPU but I would like to know if it has been over-clocked by the previous user.

Is there a way to find out about this piece of information?

Does clocking back down leaves a detectable trace or signature somewhere?

PS: I know how to find out whether a computer is currently over-clocked.

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    No, this information is not generally available. Dec 9, 2015 at 20:11

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I think your best bet would be to ask the previous owner. Overclocking is done from the motherboard and if it has been detached from a motherboard there shouldn't be anything stored on it, they're fairly 'dumb' in that respect, it's a processor not storage.

If you have the motherboard that it was in, and no other processor replaced the one in question, you may be able to look at those settings in the BIOS.

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  • Looking at the BIOS settings will only tell you if it is currently overclocked, not if it's been overclocked in the past. Dec 9, 2015 at 20:17
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    Yea, I wasn't going to ask for clarification in an answer, but like I said, "if you have the motherboard it was in... you MAY..." and that's only if it wasn't set back to defaults before you got it. Nothing will stored on the CPU. If you have the mobo it was in, depending on how 'special' it is, there may be saved settings of old overclocks listed. This still all depends on the motherboard.
    – Cand3r
    Dec 9, 2015 at 20:36
  • How could I access the putative saved settings of the overclocking history on a motherboard? Dec 9, 2015 at 20:45
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    It would just be in the overclocking menu of the old motherboard, there may be a different boot key(like ESC, F2, F10, F12) than boot order or BIOS setup to get you into that menu, otherwise it will just be one of the 'tabs' in the regular BIOS, either listed as overclocking or CPU timing, something like that, there they may have saved OC settings. You also may have to go into the BIOS and change the boot options to "show OC menu key" or something that I would assume would be near the POST/Quickboot delay setting.
    – Cand3r
    Dec 9, 2015 at 21:02
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No. Your best bet is to ask the seller. CPU's can't tell you if they have ever been OC'd. Checking the bios of its running system could tell you if it currently is, but there's no way to verify for sure that it has or has not been OC'd. That said, your odds are good that you're getting a good CPU as long as it is working now.

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