Intel releases update to disable Skylake non-K CPU overclocking

By Scorpus ยท 15 replies
Feb 9, 2016
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  1. Late last year, several motherboard manufacturers including ASRock released updates to their boards that allowed users to overclock locked Intel 'Skylake' CPUs. This meant that some of Intel's lower-priced SKUs suddenly became great value, as overclocking them delivered performance in the range of more expensive parts.

    Naturally, Intel wasn't happy that some motherboard vendors were exploiting loopholes that allowed overclocking of locked CPUs. The company typically restricts overclocking to K-series parts, which they say are 'designed' to be pushed beyond their normal limits. In their eyes, overclocking non-K parts is "not recommended" and users basically shouldn't do it.

    To prevent non-K CPU overclocking, Intel has released a microcode update to motherboard partners that closes the loophole. As is normally the case, the partners will now integrate the update into a motherboard BIOS update, which users will then have to voluntarily install on their systems.

    The good news is that if you want to keep overclocking your non-K Skylake CPU, you can easily do so by simply not updating your motherboard's BIOS. You will miss out on any new features or bug fixes released in this or any future updates, but that will most likely be worth it if you want to continue to overclock.

    There is the possibility that vendors will remove the previous BIOS update that allowed non-K overclocking from their websites in the coming days, so if you're interested in trying it out, now is the time to do so. Also, don't be surprised if new motherboards released to stores in the coming months come with the non-K overclock-killing BIOS update pre-installed.

    Permalink to story.

  2. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +614

    Wow....brings me back to the days of the old celeron 300a's you could push up to 450mhz etc until Intel put a stop to it.
    As I understand it, chips are made, run through a bunch of test at a given speed. Those that don't pass, are clocked to a lower speed, and are run again. If they pass they are stamped at the lower speed.
    I understand for the tweaking types that want a little more bang for the buck, might like the idea of overclocking, but unless it is 100% stable, why would you?
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,407   +3,417

    This should be of no surprise to anyone. Allowing an overclock of non-K CPU's would have been the surprise.
  4. Duckeenie

    Duckeenie TS Booster Posts: 80   +62

    From Intel's point of view that's the way chips are produced ideally but they also have to satisfy market demand, which means often times they will have to ship artificially crippled chips that would normally have been good enough to be labelled as a better model. Over-clocking takes advantage of this.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,269

    I would've been very surprised if Intel didn't douse this frivolity. If I was in charge of Intel I would've done exactly the same thing, only sooner.
  6. OcelotRex

    OcelotRex TS Maniac Posts: 460   +239

    That's true but a lot of consumers fail to understand that difference and could easy become angered when their friend's $50 I3 overclocks well and theirs fries.
  7. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,821   +628

    This is the chance you take by overclocking, something not technically supported on said chips. If the chip you have doesn't overclock well your more than able to go out and buy another to try your luck again, almost like the lottery. Chip binning isn't new to most enthusiast, we just take it into assumption that there are good chips that make it through and get binned lower than they should, these chips are usually sought after. I've herd of instances where people buy a tray of chips and test them all just to get the one that will support higher clocks with lower voltage, the remaining chips get sold off.

    Really there's no reason to be upset, unless you really wanted to for no reason. I've personally been really lucky and almost every chip I've purchased in the last 10 years has supported at least a 30% overclock, some as high as 50%, this is with voltages under the max recommended by Intel.
  8. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,194   +382

    Overclocking is dumb but I am sure much of what I enjoy is dumb to others.
    p51d007 likes this.
  9. Zen pls!
  10. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 551   +171

    When I saw that people could potentially(yeah not all chips are gonna be happy) overclock skylake chips I immediately went where there goes AMD. Prob a bit too soon to say that but if that had stay around like back in the core 2 days, AMD would have had a very tuff year until zen came out on the builders market. AMD's advantage to me (and for me) is that for the same price as a i3 locked cpu you could buy a 6 core fx(now a 8 core thx to the 8300) and overclock it to your hearts content (board dependent). I was kinda shocked intel seemed to be ok with this at first, obviously they weren't ok with it. Ohh well nothing changes then, if I want a good budget chip that I can stretch with a decent board and a $25 hyper 212 to 4.5ghz then AMD it is still.
  11. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    I haven't seen a need to OC for a very long time now anyways, with all the cores and threads available as well as GPU processing for compute intensive applications, faster per core speeds is less important for virtually all workflow situations.
    A person recently overclocked a skylake cpu to 7 ghz. Of course to do it he had to disable all but 1 core, and cool it with liquid nitrogen. Such things are just completely silly as far as using a computer to do anything useful.
    Having said that I always buy the overclockable versions of hardware, why? For the headroom and reliability factor.
    Duckeenie and p51d007 like this.
  12. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Intel just got caned over Skylake's issue with FP intensive Small FFT Prime95, yet the same people that who made a big deal over that esoteric application are now decrying locking down non-K's when overclocking has proven to degrade performance using the same AVX instruction set (Since confirmed by Intel themselves).

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Perfect internet forum fodder.
  13. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    They could have kept allowing users to burn up their processors at a faster rate than stock settings to increase sales, but what they did is better for the consumer than it is for their sales.
    p51d007 likes this.
  14. OcelotRex

    OcelotRex TS Maniac Posts: 460   +239

    I wasn't excusing people's behavior I was trying to give insight as to why a corporation would want to make this decision. Most people want to blame it on the greedy corporation but in this case it has more to do with the quality of the product versus the expectations of the consumer.
    p51d007 likes this.
  15. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +614

    Yep, people will overclock, their data gets corrupted, boards blow up or something, then, the FIRST one they blame
    will be intel and or the board manufacturer. It's just like some of the threads I follow on XDA, people who have NO IDEA
    what they are doing, flashing this rom or that rom, screwing around with the files, blasting this kernel or that and then
    can't figure out WHY their phone is a PILE OF JUNK, when, it's usually at their hands.

    I've been screwing with computers since the very early 80's, cut my teeth on electronics in the mid 70's working in a television
    repair shop. If you wanted something fixed, you took it to an expert, now you can google pretty much anything, and some people
    shouldn't even TOUCH the inside of stuff.
  16. Sharif

    Sharif TS Member Posts: 25

    I am glad I was able to witness it,it's sad for the people who went out and got a new mobo and CPU though

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