Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology

Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology allows the processor cores to run faster than the base operating frequency when the processor works below its rated power, temperature, and current specification limits. The ultimate advantage is opportunistic performance improvements in both multi-threaded and single-threaded workloads.

The Turbo Boost 2.0 algorithm works according to a proprietary EWMA formula. This stands for Exponentially Weighted Moving Average. There are 3 parameters to consider: PL1, PL2, and Tau.

  • Power Limit 1, or PL1, is the threshold the average power will not exceed. Historically, this has always been set equal to Intel’s advertised TDP. PL1 should not be set higher than the thermal solution cooling limits.
  • Power Limit 2, or PL2, is the maximum power the processor can use for a limited amount of time.
  • Tau, in seconds, is the time window for calculating the average power consumption. The CPU will reduce the CPU frequency if the average power consumed is higher than PL1.
turbo boost 2.0 algorithm

A significant change from any previous Intel Core processors is that from Alder Lake onwards, at least for the K-SKU CPUs, PL1 is by default equal to PL2. This differs from before, where PL1 would equal the TDP, and PL2 would range from 200 to 250W. This change effectively means that Intel has enabled near-unlimited peak turbo by default!

turbo boost 2.0 alder lake

The maximum performance is, therefore, entirely limited by the capabilities of your cooling solution. If your cooling solution is insufficient, the processor will reduce the operating frequency at the maximum allowed temperature or TjMax. For Intel CPUs, that’s typically at 100 degrees Celsius.

Unleashing Turbo Boost 2.0

Most, if not all, high-end motherboards will unleash the Turbo Boost 2.0 parameters out of the box. Each vendor has their own feature to return to the default values.

  • ASUS MultiCore Enhancement is a single BIOS option that removes all limits constraining the Turbo Boost 2.0 algorithm. Effectively, it allows the CPU to run at maximum turbo boost frequencies indefinitely.
  • GIGABYTE’s Turbo Power Limits “Intel POR” setting forces the Turbo Boost 2.0 power limits to default
  • MSI’s CPU Cooler Tuning option on MSI motherboards allows you to unleash the Turbo Boost power limits. Set the option to Water Cooler and enjoy the maximum performance.

Adjusting the power limits is strictly not considered overclocking, as we don’t change any of the CPU’s thermal, electrical, or frequency parameters. Intel provides the Turbo Boost parameters as guidance to motherboard vendors and system integrators to ensure their designs enable the base performance of the CPU. Better motherboard designs, thermal solutions, and system configurations can facilitate peak performance for longer.