Intel locks overclocking to K-series Haswell chips

June 14, 2013 // 8:59 a.m.

Tags: #haswell #intel #ivy-bridge #k-series #sandy-bridge #transactional-memory #tsx #turbo-boost #turbo-boost-bins #vpro #vt-d

Intel has confirmed claims that overclocking of Haswell processors will be limited exclusively to the K-series chips, with the standard families no longer able to have their performance boosted.

First reported by The Tech Report and since confirmed by an Intel spokesperson, the move sees the modest overclocking ability available to Turbo Boost-enabled Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors removed entirely in the Haswell family. While overclocking will still be supported by the higher-price K-series parts, including the Core i5-4670K and Core i7-4770K chips we've already reviewed, non-K parts will be locked at their stock clocks.

Officially, overclocking Intel's most recent Core chips has only ever been supported on the enthusiast-grade K-series parts with their unlocked multipliers. Those with the 'locked' models, however, soon discovered they were able to squeeze a little extra out of the chips by increasing the Turbo Boost 'bins' - multipliers that apply only during certain CPU activity, such as when only one or two of the chip's cores are loaded and temperature is below a pre-set level. While the primary multiplier is locked on non-K parts, it's been possible to increase the multipliers used by Turbo Boost across almost all Core-family parts that support the feature.

At least, up to Haswell.

Intel has confirmed that the ability to adjust Turbo Boost multipliers in non-K parts has been removed in Haswell, with those who want to twiddle with multipliers to get the best performance out of their hardware being pushed towards the K-series parts instead. While these will allow for multiplier adjustment, they also lack selected enterprise-oriented features - including support for transactional memory and VT-d virtualisation extensions - present in other models.

According to a statement released by Intel on the matter, the move is quite deliberate: the non-K-series parts, the company explains, are targeted at business and mainstream consumer users who shouldn't be fiddling around with multipliers in the first place. For enthusiasts who want such functionality, there's the K-series - so long as TSX-NI, VT-d and vPro support isn't required.

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