There's really no need to define what overclocking is all about here at Tom's, but readers know that pushing a CPU too far can result in a useless, burned-up processor and other damaged system components. To some degree, overclocking is good business for Intel and AMD, as it means there's a good chance tweakers will be back for more hardware. But on the other hand, they can't fully endorse overclocking due to liability reasons.
That's where Intel's new program comes in. Intel has announced a pilot program to provide users with warranty protection for when they experiment with the overclocking features of their processor. For a small price, Intel will provide a one-time replacement of certain processors that are damaged through overclocking and/or over-volting. The protection plan is an addition to Intel's standard 3 year warranty on its processors.
The program starts as of January 18, 2012, at 12:01AM PST and last for six months. The first part of the pilot program will include four resellers: CyberPower, Canada Computers and Electronics, Scan Computers, and Altech Computers, with additional resellers being added in February. Intel will make the plan available to its customers any time during the pilot by visiting its website. As with all pilot programs, Intel may decide to cancel the program at any time or continue on past the six month pilot. Intel will honor all plans purchased prior to the date of discontinuation and will be honored according to the terms and conditions accompanying the Plan at the time of such purchase
The Performance Tuning Protection Plan covers the following CPUs:
- Core i5-2500K - $20
- Core i7-2600K - $25
- Core i7-2700K - $25
- Core i7-3930K - $35
- Core i7-3960X - $35
The number of covered processors seemingly indicates how many chips Intel expects to replace. After all, most chipsets have thermal and voltage safeguards built-in to prevent damage caused by overheated CPUs that are being pushed beyond their breaking point. Usually when a CPU becomes unstable due to overclocking, they return to their default settings before damage occurs. The number of customers who will actually need to use this plan will likely be relatively small, but there's a good chance a large number will purchase the plan anyway just in case. Better safe than sorry, no?
Read more on the protection plan at Intel's FAQ site.