Intel launches overclocking warranty programme

Intel launches overclocking warranty programme

Intel's Performance Tuning Protection Plan offers a free replacement processor if you damage yours through overclocking - but beware the terms and conditions.

Intel has announced a new service aimed at the overclocking community, dubbed the Intel Performance Tuning Protection Plan, and best described as life insurance for your processor.

Available purely in the US for now [EDIT: plus the UK, it seems - see the update at the bottom], and as a limited six-month pilot project at that, the Tuning Plan allows those with K-series, X-series or LGA2011 processors to receive a brand-new replacement chip in the event that they push theirs a little too far and release the magic smoke.

Marking the first time the company has officially come out in support of overclockers, a company spokesperson claimed: 'The enthusiast community is a critical market segment for Intel, and we are looking at more opportunities to serve that community.

'The Performance Tuning Protection Plan being offered by Intel is a chance for you to experiment with the overclocking features of your processor without the worries of what will happen if you push the procesor too far. The Plan allows you a single processor replacement, hassle-free, from our customer support. This is in addtion to your standard three year warranty. In other words, if it 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.

Designed as an add-on for the chips' existing three-year warranties, the service allows a customer to snag a free replacement processor with no questions asked, allowing overclockers a cheap route to replacing a damaged chip that falls outside a regular warranty replacement.

Current available for the Core i5-2500K, Core i7-2600K, Core i7-2700K, Core i7-3930K, and Core i7-3960X, each plan costs between $20 and $35 depending on the cost of the chip. You're allowed a single plan per processor, but as many processors as you want; and each plan is fully transferable should you sell the chip on during its three-year coverage period.

There are, as is always the case with insurance, a few caveats: you can't claim for damages to other system components caused by the processor's failure; there's no compensation for downtime suffered as a result of the failure; and damage caused by 'external causes' is exempt.

It's this latter get-out clause that could render the whole programme worthless: covering 'damage to the eligible processor due to external causes, including accident, problems with electrical power, abnormal electrical, mechanical or environmental conditions, usage not in accordance with product instructions, misuse, neglect, alteration, repair, improper installation, or improper testing,' it gives Intel plenty of scope for denying a replacement.

Finally, the programme could prove a non-starter for the real performance enthusiasts: a further clause in the terms and conditions exempts 'any eligible processor which has been modified or where the original proprietary markings (trademark, logo or serial number) have been removed, altered or obliterated,' meaning that those who choose to 'lap' their chips - sanding down the heatspreader to provide as flat a surface as possible in order to maximise heat transfer to the cooling system - won't be able to take advantage of Intel's apparent largesse.

Full details of the programme are available on the official microsite, and we're currently waiting to hear back from Intel as to whether it plans to offer the service on this side of the pond.

Are you pleased to see Intel doing something to support the enthusiast community, or are there too many exemptions for you to believe getting a replacement will be as simple as the company would like it to seem? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

UPDATE: It looks like the programme is also running here in the UK, with Scan offering plans for sale.


Discuss in the forums Reply
LennyRhys 19th January 2012, 10:30 Quote
Very interesting - it's both clever and stupid IMO.

Clever, because it will probably boost sales; and stupid, because it encourages the non-enthusiasts to do what only the enthusiasts should do.
bdigital 19th January 2012, 11:04 Quote
I like it! Would give me more confidence in suicidle bench runs knowing that il get a replacement if it goes wrong
David 19th January 2012, 11:07 Quote
Does Intel set any limits on vcore? If only the standard VID range applies then this whole thing is pointless.
Margo Baggins 19th January 2012, 11:22 Quote
says in article is only available in america, but is on sale here
Gareth Halfacree 19th January 2012, 11:34 Quote
Originally Posted by Margo Baggins
says in article is only available in america, but is on sale here
Thanks for the heads-up - I've updated the article.
LennyRhys 19th January 2012, 11:35 Quote
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Does Intel set any limits on vcore? If only the standard VID range applies then this whole thing is pointless.

Since the warranty is meant for all enthusiasts, many of whom use extreme cooling and similarly extreme voltages like 1.8v, I'd hazard a guess and say no. :D
Technobod 19th January 2012, 11:56 Quote
Appears you can buy it direct from Intel too here;
I like the idea, but I get the feeling they will be a little too selective on what chips they take back, and how do they plan to determine if its died from 'external causes' or not?
Margo Baggins 19th January 2012, 12:24 Quote
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Thanks for the heads-up - I've updated the article.

any day Mr Gareth :)
suragh 19th January 2012, 14:29 Quote
good for people who fry their motherboards :P
Tangster 19th January 2012, 16:17 Quote
Wish I had this last week.
B1GBUD 19th January 2012, 17:08 Quote
Originally Posted by LennyRhys
Very interesting - it's both clever and stupid IMO.

Clever, because it will probably boost sales; and stupid, because it encourages the non-enthusiasts to do what only the enthusiasts should do.

I hear what your saying but didn't we all have to start somewhere? at least this will give the wannabe "enthusiast" some peace of mind before they delve into their BIOS.
Jehla 19th January 2012, 17:23 Quote
how will intel be deciding if the chip died to overlock or normal use?
izools 19th January 2012, 17:45 Quote
It wouldn't be difficult to dedicated a small area of the die to Flash which keeps a log of peak frequencies and voltages. Dead easy, in fact.
r3loaded 19th January 2012, 18:35 Quote
I'm not sure this is really necessary for most people. How many people not using sub-ambient cooling fry their CPUs? I'm sure it's useful if you're using a chiller/phase-change and driving 1.5v+ for long periods, but I think even most "enthusiasts" will not need it.
yougotkicked 19th January 2012, 20:16 Quote
dang, the first half of the article had me planning cold-air suicide runs to try and beat my current record of 5.2ghz, but once you mentioned the denial clauses all my dreams were shattered. now i have to approach it carefully. :(
kzinti1 19th January 2012, 21:01 Quote
My 1st thought was, Intel is backhandedly saying that they are making a profit of over half the retail price of their cpu's.
The last part of their "escape clause", is an easy out for them. Especially 'improper testing', which is, in fact, what overclocking actually is.
And, of course, asking people to voluntarily pay a premium over the already over-priced cpu's that are made by Intel. I won't be buying into this scheme.
Instead of this, I'd like to see a "Guarantee of Overclockability". I have an i7-2500K that refuses to run at a stable 4.4GHZ., when the main selling point of SandyBridge was a reliable, stable, 5GHz. OC. I also own an i7-2600K that refuses to go over 4.8GHz. while maintaining stability.
I've tried every single thing suggested to me to get these cpu's running at a stable 5.0GHz. Nothing has worked. I do, however, own one of the 1st i7-2600K's that came out quite a while before any motherboards were available. It, luckily, has been running at 5.0GHz., 24x7 for quite a long while now at very comfortable temperatures using a Corsair H100 closed-loop cpu cooler.
Now that I own a pair of EVGA GTX590 Classified vga's, I'm going to add a separste loop just for these gpu's. When SandyBridge finally arrives, I'll be switching to a dual-loop, dual-pump, multi-radiator system. I already have everything ready and waiting. All I have to do is cut the tubing to size when I get a SandyBridge cpu and motherboard in a few more months. Hopefully, even sooner than that.
It's been noted by many people in various Forums, that the older i7-2600K's and even the 2500K's run much better than the later batches. I think Intel can, and should, make all of their cpu's run consistently the same, batch after batch. They can do it if they just take the time to try.
Whenever IvyBridge 1st arrives, I'm buying at least a pair of the very earliest batch I can get ahold of. I'm counting on them being the same as when SandyBridge cpu's were 1st made available and being the best cpu's Intel will have made by then.
andrew8200m 19th January 2012, 21:04 Quote

interesting fact for you.

Intel cant prove if a chip has died through overclocking.

This purchase as such is 100% profit as it offers no addition service over what the standard warranty does.
GeorgeStorm 19th January 2012, 21:12 Quote
How would that be?
fluxtatic 20th January 2012, 05:05 Quote
Seems like easy profits to me - you might be a little less careful about how far you push it, but the number of people that will push it until it blows will be tiny (although I'll admit I'd be tempted if I had stupid amounts of money.)

So it's a feel-good for the average overclocker. If you do blow it, though, I'd give odds of less than 50/50 that Intel will actually replace least not until they explain their methodology of determining what killed your proc.

If this: "The enthusiast community is a critical market segment for Intel, and we are looking at more opportunities to serve that community" were actually true, make it part of the standard warranty. Yeah, I get that it's a fraction of what the CPU itself cost (3.5% - 9%, by my math), but it will end up being almost pure profit. If they were actually planning on paying out on a fraction of what the number they plan to sell, it'd cost a damn sight more than $35. Say their margin is 50% from retail - one guy blowing up his 3960 would eat up the money made on 14 or so warranties sold for that model. So, realistically, the odds of actually getting it replaced stand at 7% or less, I'd say...also factor in that if places like Scan are selling them, they get a little piece of that, too, further lowering those odds.

Like any insurance, it might work out well for some indivduals, but overall it's a bit of a scam. Intel isn't so dedicated to the enthusiast community that they're planning to lose money here.
Anneon 20th January 2012, 08:06 Quote
I think with the upcomming release of Ivy Bridge which will be backwards compatible with almost all 1155 motherboards there is a potential for Intel to be saddled with a substantial amount of Sandybridge CPU's they simply cannot shift.

So is it not possible that Intel have decided to let some of us more conservative overclockers have a little bit of fun pushing our chips further than we are normally comfortable with (as long as we stay within the design limits, 1.52V & 80 degC i think)?

I hear people say that don't run that chip like that or you will drastically reduce the life span. I am thinking that will no longer apply with one of these protection plans as long as you stay within the design limits.

While they do have to place some limitations as you will always get some smart ass trying to take things and schemes to extremes. Therefore I think they are saying, overclock away, stay inside the design limits and use sensible cooling and parts ( do not use shampoo as TIM) and if it breaks we will replace it, once.

Personally I think it is very generous of them.
damien c 20th January 2012, 08:22 Quote
Roll on payday, get my watercooling stuff sorted out and push my 2500K past 4.8ghz as I know it will go further but the temp's on the air cooling are to high so need to do water.

Nice one Intel you made my day.
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