Intel embraces overclocking, doesn't extend warranty

Intel has embraced overclockers, but won't guarantee its chips if something goes wrong on an overclocked system.

Intel gives users the tools to squeeze extra performance from their systems by overclocking the processor, but don't expect the warranty to cover you if things go wrong.

Overclocking capabilities are a main feature of Intel's 4 series chipset, said Eric Mentzer, Intel's vice president and general manager of the Graphics Development Group, in an interview at the Computex exhibition in Taipei

"We spend a lot of time working with our motherboard partners to figure out all the hidden bits inside, helping them figure out how to bring the best out of these platforms," Mentzer said.

That same ability is available to users, but it hasn't always been. Intel used to lock down its chips to prevent overclocking, but the company's mindset has changed. Overclockers are now viewed as an important market segment, rather than troublemakers.

"There's a very small segment that just love to play with this stuff," Mentzer said. "They're very important to us because they are also the people who set the tone for what they think is a good chipset."

But embracing the market doesn't mean the warranty on Intel chips will cover overclocking. Intel puts its chips through a strenuous testing process, and the chips are guaranteed to perform reliably to the levels tested — and no further.

"When we do that, inherently there's a lot of margin. We know you can overclock and deliver greater performance, because effectively you're tapping into the margins we've designed into the product.... But of course, we can't stand by that because we'd have to test to that (level of performance)," Mentzer said.

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Sumner Lemon

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