Intel relatively recently started producing unlocked "K" series processors that enabled easy overclocking by way of increasing the multiplier. This is a feature that was traditionally reserved for the thousand dollar Extreme Edition products. AMD then followed suit with its own line of "K" series APUs (despite having FX and Black Edition branding already, but that’s another story). Well, it is now Intel’s turn to leap frog AMD who has traditionally been the overclocker friendly company. Yesterday Intel launched a new pilot program that overclockers and enthusiasts are sure to enjoy. The new Performance Tuning Protection Plan is a program aimed at users of "K" and "X" (unlocked and extreme edition) processors who are adventurous enough to overclock and overvolt their chips to wrangle the best possible performance from them. While the company has stressed that they still do not officially endorse overclocking or otherwise running their CPUs out of Intel specifications, the Performance Tuning Protection Plan is an additional service that can be added in addition to (though seperate from) the existing warranty wherein Intel will furnish a free replacement processor to any users that (unintentionally) damage their processors as a result of overclocking or increasing the voltage. Read on for more details.
The new Performance Tuning Protection Plan will be offered directly from Intel as well as various resellers and can be purchased for any of Intel’s K series, X series, or Socket 2011 processors. Only one plan can be applied per processor, and once the CPU has been replaced with a replacement processor through the plan, the insurance does not "roll over" to the replacement part. This means that a second chance is all you get. If the replacement CPU fails as a result of overclocking or overvolting you’re out of luck. The Protection Plan is further an additional expense that will applied in addition to the standard 3 year manufacturer’s warranty. It only covers damage caused by running the processor out of spec. After purchasing the processor, users can buy the protection plan for a one time fee, and it will kick in within approximately 30 days of buying the plan. Intel says the delay is caused by the time needed for the various plan supporting databases to sync up and for payment to clear.
Prices vary depending on which processor you want to protect with the plan. The Performance Tuning Protection Plan pricing for currently supported processors is listed in the chart below.
|Processor||Price (USD) per CPU|
|Core i5 2500K||$20|
|Core i7 2600K||$25|
|Core i7 2700K||$25|
|Core i7 3930K||$35|
|Core i7 3960X||$35|
Intel is currently offering the new overclocking insurance for a limited time– a six month trial run to be more specific. Starting January 18th, the company will begin selling the plan directly to customers on their website as well as through several resellers. Initially these resellers include CyberPower, Canada Computers and Electronics, Scan Computers, and Altech Computers. On February 13th, Intel will add additional resellers to the list. The pilot phase will last for six months; after which the company will "decide whether or not to proceed" with the plan. Obviously there is a slight risk for early adopters that after buying the plan, Intel will discontinue it at the six month mark; however, there is also a solid opportunity to overclock the heck out of the chips and have an official safety net for the next few months at the least. Are you running an unlocked processor, and if so will you be checking out the Tuning Protection Plan?