Although it's safer than ever to overclock your hardware, disaster can and does strike. Manufacturers can't guarantee their products will withstand your abuse and, in fact, activities such as overclocking are usually discouraged. Generally, you void your warranty by running your hardware beyond its intended specifications. The three-year warranty covering Intel's processors is no different, but the company has launched an initiative aiming to protect thrill-seeking enthusiasts from the pricey mishap of frying their chips.
Called the Performance Tuning Protection Plan, the extended coverage grants you a free replacement if you push your CPU too hard. The pilot service has kicked off today via four resellers: CyberPower, Scan Computers, Altech Computers as well as Canada Computers and Electronics. The service is offered exclusively for K, X and LGA2011-socketed boxed processors with prices varying depending on the part. It'll cost $20 to back the i5-2500K, $25 for the i7-2600K and 2700K, and $35 for the i7-3920K and 3960X.
Of note, eligible chips are only covered for one replacement and the failure must occur during its three-year warranty. In other words, if your CPU is ruined four years after its purchase or if you fry your replacement part, Intel won't help you out. Also, you can't rebuy the plan for your replacement chip, nor can you purchase several plans for a new processor. As noted, this is only a "pilot" program that will be available for six months, after which Intel will likely review its performance and act accordingly.
"The enthusiast community is a critical market segment for Intel and, as such, when the opportunity arises to try out a service or otherwise address the community's particular needs, we endeavor to do so where practicable," Intel said. "If [your chip] fails under normal usage, we will replace it under the standard warranty; if it fails while running outside of Intel's specifications, we will replace it under the Performance Tuning Protection Plan. So what we are saying is this: Go ahead and push it, we've got your back."