Article ID: 000058654 Content Type: Product Information & Documentation Last Reviewed: 05/04/2022

What Is the Difference between an Unlocked and a Locked Processor?


Explains the possibilities of an unlocked processor vs. a locked processor.


Unable to find the difference between an unlocked and locked processor.


Unlocked processors are processors that are unlocked to custom tune the processor settings. If the processor is unlocked, you can adjust the power, voltage, core, memory settings, and other key system values for more performance. It helps speed up your components—and your gameplay. It can also help with processor-intensive tasks such as image rendering and transcoding. For example, i9-12900K, and i7-11700KF. Refer to Overclocking Intel® Core™ Processors.

For locked processors, the processor settings can't be custom tuned.

Additional information

To review if a processor is unlocked, check the suffix that follows the processor SKU number. Suffixes K and X refer to unlocked processors.

For more details, check Intel® Processor Names and Numbers.

Additional disclaimer

Altering clock frequency or voltage may void any product warranties and reduce stability, security, performance, and life of the processor and other components. Check with system and component manufacturers for details.