Overclocking has become very simple and easy to do so that everyone can do it in just a few steps. Thanks to VRMs that work tirelessly to provide clean and stable power for the CPU. But what are VRMs on a motherboard?
A voltage regulator module, or VRM for short, is a type of buck converter which regulates the voltage required for your processor and other components to work. All modern computers have multi-phase VRMs that work together. The specifications on motherboards typically say something like 8+3. The first number is the number of VRM phases reserved for the CPU and the second number for other components like RAM.
But there is a lot more to that. If you are still wondering and asking, “What are VRMs on a motherboard?“, you can find out more about them and why they matter by reading the text below.
What Are VRMs on a Motherboard?
So, voltage regulator modules have the responsibility of delivering stable and clean power to your processor, RAM, and other components that require stable power. You will typically see that more expensive motherboards have more phases. So, it is safe to assume that the more VRMs a motherboard has, the better it is. However, it is not as simple as that. The quality of VRMs matters as much as the number.
You can even roughly estimate the number of VRMs by looking at the motherboard. VRMs consist of the following components:
MOSFETs look like little black squares and are located around the CPU socket, but they can also be found under heatsinks on more expensive and better motherboards. This is because heat is generated whenever electricity is involved and high temperatures can affect the voltages, which in turn can make your computer crash.
So, now that you know what VRMs are and how they look like, let’s talk about what their purpose is. The main goal of VRMs is to provide clean and reliable power for your CPU, RAM, and other components. The focus is on the CPU, though, which is why manufacturers often label the VRMs as 8+3, for example.
We already know that the first number is related to the CPU, but what about configurations like 12+1? In that case, the manufacturer is using a doubler. The doubler multiplies the existing phases without the need for additional phases. This is cost-effective, but it is also a bit less efficient.
Now, why do VRMs matter? Do they affect performance? Since VRMs hold the primary responsibility for powering your CPU and RAM, they matter quite a lot. Sure, an average motherboard can provide power for an average CPU, but what if you put in a high-end AMD Ryzen 9 into a cheap A520 motherboard?
In that case, you might experience lower CPU clock speeds or more frequent crashes because the VRMs will overheat. This is why you want to get a decent motherboard to go with your good CPU. High-end CPUs do not go well with cheap VRMs.
But VRMs actually matter the most when it comes to overclocking. If you are into overclocking and tinkering, look for a motherboard that has high-quality VRMs and a good number of them because you will be able to achieve higher clock speeds at lower voltages.
Perhaps the most important part of the VRM is the capacitor. You want to get a high-quality capacitor and they are often marketed by the motherboard manufacturer. Look for something like “Dark Capacitors“, “Solid Capacitors“, or “Japanese Capacitors“. You also want high-quality chokes and a good heatsink for the MOSFETs if you plan to do some serious overclocking.
Motherboards are quite complex and they consist of many complex parts, one of which is VRMs. So, what are VRMs on a motherboard? VRM stands for “voltage regulator module” and the main purpose of these buck converters is to provide clean, stable power without voltage spikes and drops for your CPU and other components.
If you plan to overclock, get a motherboard that has high-quality VRMs that have good capacitors, SFC (Premium Alloy) chokes, and MOSFETs covered by heatsinks. That way, you can get high speeds and stable power, no matter what voltage you put.