PCWorld reached out to officials at Intel for a comment, but we have yet to hear a response as of Friday afternoon. However, since the launch of Skylake, Intel has maintained that design changes would make it overclocking friendly. What’s not clear is if Intel intended to make the non-premium K-chips overclockable too.
As mainstream desktop PC sales have slowly deflated, the company has increasingly relied on its enthusiast and gaming crowd, which has no problem paying a premium for overclocking-friendly chips.
If a ground swell of PC builders suddenly reach for the overclock-ready cheaper chips to make ends meet, Intel could see this practice as a threat to its premium K-chips. There is certainly precedent for it, too.
Intel’s chipset for its Haswell series included the Z-series for overclockers alongside the cheaper H- and B-series chipsets. When motherboard vendors discovered a way to enable overclocking on the lower-cost H- and B-series, Intel moved to update the microcode on its CPUs to prevent the practice, and caused buyers to move back to the higher-margin motherboards with the Z-series chipset.
It’s very likely that Intel could look the other way, too. The company has truly been friendlier to overclocking—it has sponsored extreme overclocking contests using liquid nitrogen and liquid helium, and even threw a bone to budget builders with its $72 Pentium G3258 “anniversary edition” in 2014 that was ready for overclocking.
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