Overclocking Enabled

Intel's press deck included a slide titled "Intel's Overclocking Commitment" and this made me chuckle for some reason – I really wanted to know where they were going with that.

The company says an entire industry was born to support overclocking products and its first example was 2003's Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2, which wasn't exactly an overclocker's dream CPU at $700. However, in 2006 we got the Core 2 chips, which were amazing overclockers for their time and made the 'Extreme' series somewhat pointless at $1,000. Joe Overclocker could pick up an inexpensive E7200 and achieve Extreme Edition performance.

Still, Intel didn't necessarily like the Core 2 overclocking situation and in 2010 introduced the 'K' SKU, a premium CPU range that offered an unlocked clock multiplier. All of Intel's more affordable CPUs were locked, which it seems to believe was a favor to the overclocking community.

This carried on for the next four years, effectively eliminating sub-$200 CPU overclocking with the exception of the Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition.

Things haven't changed with Skylake. Unsurprisingly, budget overclocking is still off the table, as consumers will need to spend at least $240 on the Core i5-6600K to get an unlocked processor.

However, Intel says that a full range of base clock (BCLK) overclocking is now supported along with improved memory overclocking. Of course you will need to invest in a Z170 motherboard for a fully unlocked core multiplier as well as voltage options, base clock and memory ratios.

Additionally, the Z170 chipset will allow for graphics overclocking as well with an unlocked graphics multiplier to help boost the graphics clock speed.

The core clock multiplier ratios go up to 83 in 100MHz increments, while the iGPU ratios go as high as 60 in 50MHz steps.

It's worth noting that although Skylake ushers in a new socket that isn't backwards compatible with previous CPUs, the socket's mounting holes haven't been changed, meaning you can use your old cooler. This has been the case for some time now as the mounting holes are identical on LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155 and LGA1156.