Intel closes base clock loophole in latest microcode update

February 10, 2016 | 14:59

Tags: #base-clock #bios #k-series #microcode #overclocking #skylake #update

Companies: #intel

Intel is officially closing the loophole that led to the ability to modify the base clock on non-K series processors, issuing a microcode update that will once again lock the base clock of all affected chips.

In recent years, Intel has restricted support for overclocking its chips to selected models aimed at the enthusiast market and indicated by the presence of a K suffix. In December of last year, however, motherboard manufacturers began releasing BIOS updates which allowed the base clock to be modified even on non-K chips - allowing buyers on a budget to pick up cheaper chips and squeeze extra performance from them. For the motherboard manufacturers and customers, the news was good; for Intel, a terrible threat to the high profit margins of its enthusiast products.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the party is coming to a close: Intel is to issue a microcode update which will disable base clock modification on all affected non-K processors. Speaking to PC World, an Intel spokesperson stated: 'The latest update provided to partners includes, among other things, code that aligns with the position that we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so. Additionally, Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications'

While confirming that inclusion of the microcode update in future BIOS revisions is entirely voluntary on the part of the motherboard manufacturers, the company's updates include other functionality - including fixes for system-hanging errata - which are unlikely to be easily abstracted away from the feature-killing code.
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