This is the latest evolution in the B/H/Q8x overclocking of the Intel 8-series chipsets - Intel has officially issued a microcode patch preventing overclocking on any other chipset than the Z87 series. As expected, of course. I want to highlight the news item posted over at TechpowerUp because the replies and comments are quite interesting as one usergroup (people who usually don't own a B/H/Q 8 series chipset) is obviously upset over this, whereas another group is upset about the other users being upset. I know, it sounds complicated but it's really simple. A quote from Cadaveca (great reviewer at TPU):
"I really DO understand what Intel is doing. What is shocking to me that many do not, and some marketing reps are taking advantage of consumer's lack of knowledge about the subject to make them look like the good guy...when in fact, they couldn't be further form that. When I saw news of this stuff, I seriously considered dropping doing all board reviews, and shipping boards back to the board OEMs. That was a bloody stupid move to do that, and they have simply cut their own necks with that. It's hard for me to support board vendors when they pull crap like this. I simply don't get paid enough to shut up about it, either."
Over the past couple of months, motherboard vendors from across the industry offered BIOS updates for their motherboards based on Intel B85 Express and H87 Express chipsets, which enable CPU overclocking for Intel's unlocked Core processors denoted by "K" brand extension (Core i7-4770K, i5-4670K). This reportedly hasn't gone down well with Intel. Intel's Bxx and Hxx chipsets are significantly cheaper than its Zxx series chipset. Sensing a clear threat to its revenue, from the prospect of motherboard vendors coming up with high-end or overclocking-ready (strong CPU VRM) motherboards based on cheaper chipsets in the near future, Intel cracked down on them.
Intel is giving final touches to a CPU microcode update that restricts Core "K" Haswell processors from overclocking on chipsets other than Z87 Express. A microcode update can be deployed both through BIOS updates, and surreptitiously through Windows Update. Intel's used the tried and tested "stability" bogey to justify the update. While it's true that motherboards based on B85 and H87 tend to feature weaker CPU VRM, there's nothing to say that ASUS wouldn't have gone on to design its next ROG Maximus on H87 Express, and save on manufacturing costs. While it's purely hypothetical, something like that wouldn't be in Intel's commercial interests. What next? Intel will push this new microcode update on to motherboard vendors, instructing them to issue BIOS updates with it; and future batches of Intel "K" CPUs may not support overclocking. If that isn't enough to contain the problem, Intel may give Microsoft a ring, and ask it to push the update through Windows Update. It tried that once in the past.