Intel Discontinues Performance Tuning Protection Plan for Overclocking Warrantiesby Ryan Smith on March 1, 2021 5:45 PM EST
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After a 9-year run, Intel today has begun to wrap up its Performance Tuning Protection Plan service, the company’s optional extended warranty for CPU overclocking. As of today, Intel is no longer selling new PTP plans, and the program will be shifting to servicing existing warranties while those are still active. Intel’s warranty service was quite unique throughout the industry; given the potentially destructive nature of overclocking, it’s almost unheard of to be covered, even by optional warranties.
Intel originally launched the Performance Tuning Protection Plan back in January of 2012, right in the middle of the heyday of Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPU overclocking (ed: has it really been that long?). At the time, for anywhere between $20 and $35, Intel would offer a one-time warranty that specifically covered damages incurred by overclocking – something that Intel’s standard warranty explicitly does not cover. Should a retail boxed processor fail due to overclocking, intel would replace a PPTP warrantied chip once and only once, free of charge.
When Intel kicked off the program, it was initially started as a six-month trial, where saw enough success to become a long-term offering for Intel, covering all overclockable Intel consumer chips including their massive HEDT parts. Even though the program made it very affordable to overcook an Intel CPU for little more than the price of a pizza, the one-time replacement restriction seemingly did its job, as stories of people trying to abuse the program have been few and far between.
None the less, the PTPP’s days have finally come to an end. In a message posted to the plan’s website, Intel announced that the program was being discontinued, citing that “As customers increasingly overclock with confidence, we are seeing lower demand for the Performance Tuning Protection Plans”.
And while Intel doesn’t provide any specific numbers to back that up, broadly speaking it’s not at all surprising to hear that demand is down. Since the Sandy Bridge era overclocking has become a lot less fruitful; with Turbo Boost Max 3.0, Thermal Velocity Boost, and other turbo technologies, Intel has begun wringing out the bulk of clockspeed headroom from their CPUs right out of the box. At the same time peak clockspeeds have stalled at a bit over 5GHz, and the much larger core counts of today’s CPUs means that Intel differentiates its parts based on core count more than it does based on clockspeeds. So unlike the Sandy Bridge era, where you could easily expect to add another 1GHz (or more) to a $216 i5-2500K, a modern i5-10600K is lucky to achieve half of that thanks to already starting at a peak clockspeed of 4.8GHz. Ultimately, although CPU overclocking is far from dead, it’s no longer delivering big, easy performance boosts as it once did.
At any rate, with the retirement of the PPTP, Intel is transitioning to servicing existing warranties. Intel chip owners who have already purchased a plan are still covered for the length of their warranty, which rides on top of Intel’s standard 3-year warranty. So Intel will still be replacing a handful of chips for a couple more years yet.
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Samus - Monday, March 1, 2021 - linkI can't believe I never knew about this program...though I haven't fried a CPU in almost 20 years. But I pretty much assumed overclocking even K series was at your own risk, and even that said, there are so many sensors and safety measures in modern CPU's they almost wont let you destroy them.
Great_Scott - Monday, March 1, 2021 - linkWhile I don't imagine any of the reasons in the article are wrong, it does strike me that Intel is probably worried enough about failures at 10nm (combined with the reduced MHz headroom) that offering a warranty plan would lose a lot of money (and silicon).
Warranty plans are supposed to be free money, after all, not something that should ever get used...
lmcd - Monday, March 1, 2021 - linkMakes sense in general but Rocket Lake is 14nm. Though cutting it off right before Alder Lake would look really fishy.
Samus - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - linkI get that these programs, for Intel, are obviously designed around generating revenue. They couldn't give two shits about enthusiasts - the reason they make the K series is simply to milk people for more money, otherwise they wouldn't lock CPU's in the first place.
But I think the article touched on a legitimately believable reason this program is ending: Intel effectively overclocks CPU's automatically now. Let's face it. Turbo Boost, Speed Shift, DL-Boost, multiple TDP states: these things are already binned out and pushed to their limits. Whatever headroom is left is a few hundred megahertz and using it will probably shorten the lifespan so much it's questionable if its worth it.
Even many recent Intel CPU's from a few years ago have shown anomalies and reliability issues in STOCK form and I'm starting to question the longevity of the silicon at this point to last a reasonable amount of time. I've personally come across three Ivy Bridge CPU's in OEM systems that had failed GPU's. Installing any Intel Graphics drivers would BSOD the systems so you had to use a discrete video card or settle on the generic Microsoft Display Adapter driver.
Alexvrb - Saturday, March 6, 2021 - linkTo be fair, OEM systems tend to use cheap everything. Those CPUs were probably run hot with questionable power circuitry feeding them. But yes, I don't expect them to be as long-term reliable as chips of yore, those found in ancient PCs and consoles alike.
willis936 - Monday, March 1, 2021 - linkI’ve been an enthusiast pc builder for the past ten years and have no recollection of this program. I imagine it was intentionally never advertised and never used. Removing it just cuts out some overhead.
StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - linkI remember it.
Pretty sure Anandtech even did an article on it when it was introduced.
Never used it...
In saying that, at 10nm electromigration does become a more pronounced issue whilst overclocking, hence Intels desire to ditch the scheme... Or it was more money in logistics and administration than it was worth due to lack of uptake.
bug77 - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - linkOr, since people never heard of the program, there weren't that many that opted in?
ozzuneoj86 - Monday, March 1, 2021 - linkI would say that the reason there is little or no demand for a program like this is that Intel and AMD are no longer leaving much performance on the table, so it isn't really worth the time and effort to overclock unless you're a pretty serious enthusiast. Back in the Sandy Bridge era however, you could buy a $200 CPU, slap a decent air cooler on it (or even use the stock cooler if you don't go crazy) and overclock it by 25-30% or more with very little effort. The benefit was that you ended up with a CPU that was faster than the current models for almost 5 years due to the tiny improvements being made with each generation. My 2500K ran from spring of 2011 to August of 2019 in my primary system at 4.2Ghz on all cores (with a few attempts to go higher, but never really enough of a reason to leave it there), up from 3.4 all core turbo stock. It ran very cool and nearly silent on a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme with various 120mm fans over the years.
Since then, the CPUs do almost all of the work. Plus, with temps fluctuating so quickly and going so high these days, it's a lot less predictable than it used to be. My 2500K was pretty much always between 25C and 55C, no matter what I was doing, with a 24% constant overclock and quiet air cooling (I never even had it temperature controlled). I really like the Ryzen 5 3600 + ARO-M14 I replaced it with, but I miss the cool temps, 100% constant fan speeds and the ability to squeeze out 20% more performance for free. I imagine the experience would have been similar with a newer Intel chip.
Jorgp2 - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - linkYup, that's my thinking as well.
What's the point of over clocking right now if you only get 200mhz for a lot of voltage.