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