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Intel Patents Anti-Overclocking Technology 593

VCAGuy writes "It appears that Intel has pantented a crystal-locking technology to lock processors to the processor's clock speed. The Inquirer has a story about it, and you can read the patent description from the USPTO. Let's hope AMD doesn't try to copy this..."
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Intel Patents Anti-Overclocking Technology

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  • It will be cracked (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PyrotekNX ( 548525 )
    everything released as of yet has been cracked
    • Wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spanky1 ( 635767 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:36PM (#5592642)
      While AMD processors might "crack" when you install the heat sink incorrectly, who has cracked the Intel multiplier lock introduced so long ago? Nobody.
    • by restauff ( 168301 )
      The question is, will the process of disabling the anti-overlocking measures be considered a violation of the DMCA (breaking encryption, or some loophole thereof). Well, like everyone else is saying, as long as AMD doesn't follow the same path, we have nothing to worry about.
    • by JohnDenver ( 246743 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @03:05PM (#5592985) Homepage
      First, I'm not making claims this is uncrackable, but you have no problem making claims that not only is it crackable, but it will be cracked, because you're under the delusion that everything has been cracked.

      I'm not going to bother making a huge list of things which haven't been cracked, instead I'll give you one: RSA Encryption

      RSA isn't uncrackable. It's not designed to be uncrackable. Instead, it's designed in such a way that cracking it will take a VERY VERY long time with today's technology. (Hundreds or thousands of years, depending on the key size?)

      RSA will probably be cracked on some level in the future, but it realistically it won't be cracked in this decade or two or five, which is good close enough for most applications.

      Maybe this won't be technically uncrackable, but what will one have to go through to crack it? Cracking Hardware isn't like cracking Software.
      • by muzzmac ( 554127 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @04:24PM (#5593662)
        Your argument against the parent post is correct. However your example is clearly not the same as the technology that the parent refers to.

        I would also put it forward that the parent had no idea what he was talking about though.

        When trying to encrypt media in things like DVD's, satelite feeds etc etc etc you need to encrypt the data so that the bad guys can't interrupt it and you need to decrypt it so the legitamate users can read it.

        I think this is what the parent post sorta meant. (I don't believe that really)
        RSA encryption is not the same thing. If someone gave someone to you encrypted with RSA encryption and also gave you the decryption key it would be cracked. Not the encryption itself but the decryption key can then be compromised. This is the reason that most people today believe it is impossible to safely protect media from copying but still allow it's use.

        The Intel thing is different again as I assume (having not RTFA) that the protection would be embedded on the chip. You would need a pretty steady hand to modify something on a CPU at the scale it is fabricated I would guess. :-P

        Also, the protection is not trying to protect someone copying data so encryption technologies are not the trick. It is trying to stop you using more CPU cycles per second. I think this could probably be done in a way that is not accessible (price wise) to the average consumer. Let's face it the only reason overclocking is popular at all is because it is free. If it cost much more money you would just buy faster CPU's on day one.
  • by Papyrus ( 226791 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:34PM (#5592604)
    I knew I should have patented my anti-anti-oveclocking technology some years ago...
    • Truth is, overclocking is a very healthy thing for the PC industry.

      The reason is that noone, except maybe Transmeta, has made any significant headway in making chips run cooler. Temperature management is just as important as transistor density. We all know that the best way to improve the performance of a processer is to supercool it.

      Thanks to overclockers, there are now dozens of independant companies building supercooling products for processors. That wouldn't happen if overclocking was "disabled" as
      • Unfortunatel, as we hit the high speeds of processors, the performance gains are not justified. I have a Celeron 300 overclocked to 450Mhz. That's a 50% increase in speed. You can (without using liquid nitrogen) not get such an increase on modern hardware. Overclocking was good for the PC industry. I'd be hard pressed to say that it still is. It is a little side-note in the home-pc history, that's it.
      • The reason is that noone, except maybe Transmeta, has made any significant headway in making chips run cooler.

        Umm...VIA's EDEN processors run pretty cool (3,5, and 6 watts for the different clock speeds, for comparison the coeruso runs draws 6 watts). I recently got one, and while it is rated for only 600 Mhz it compairs quite well performance-wise to my other computers using AMD and Intel chips at higher clockspeeds (including a AMD 2200+). I think the reason why the performance doesn't scale so well wi

  • Just another way to ruin the life of the geek. Go Intel, make your chips even less appealing. /me pokes his Athlon XP
    • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:41PM (#5592691) Journal
      do you think they care what you think? You aren't their market. The corporate world, where they are definately king, is who they care about.

      If a 19 year old raver goes in to a mercedes dealership and buys a car, they don't turn him down. That doesn't mean they'll start marketting towards 19 year old ravers, though. Its about who they can sell the most to, at the higher price.

      And I tell you, AMD has always had a heat issue, and still does. Heat will more and more be a really big deal with smaller and smaller things, too. I buy AMD when I feel generous, just to help the underdog. But of all the systems I have, the intel systems are FAR more stable.

      • But you don't actively push away people when there is no tangible benefit for others to remove the feature. The only benefit I could see would be to avert remarking, but frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if other approaches were tried (i.e. cracked BIOSes that overstate clock speed)

        AMD has the right idea-- allow overclocking, but make it tamper-evident (crossed L1 bridges)
        • What was wrong with the old method of stamping the frequency on the chip? My old K6-200 had "200MHz" (or sommat) stamped on one of the corners. You couldn't change it or remove it without making it obvious it had been tampered with.
      • The corporate world, where they are definately king, is who they care about.

        What idiot on a corporate IT team would overclock a CPU? Not many worth their paycheck, that's for sure. At least not while it has any value on the books.

        My guess is that Intel is targeting the home market so the clever neighbor kid can't install a $100 Celery in some guy's PC and overclock it to beat the latest $500 CPU in benchmarks.

        Or, more likely, they're trying to combat shady overclocking practices by vendor which migh

        • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @03:25PM (#5593196)
          What idiot on a corporate IT team would overclock a CPU? Not many worth their paycheck, that's for sure. At least not while it has any value on the books.

          You're not making any sense, they're trying to promote the anti-overclocking technology as a _selling_ point, especially to big corporations. They know that most big corps wouldn't overclock the CPU, and they're reasuring them that a third party won't secretly overclock the CPU and then sell it to them.

          As the previous poster pointed out, they're marketing to the group they expect to make the most from. They know there are people who like to overclock their CPUs, but that number is fairly small compared to the number of CPUs they sell to corporations, who want assurance of quality.

      • If they don't care then why go to all the trouble of the anti-overclocking in the first place? It's not like you have a bunch of suits overclocking the company PCs just so they can get a few extra FPS on their latest power point presentations.

        To stop people from selling re-labeled processors some say. Well, instead of locking it, why not just add a way for the processor to report it's intended speed? That alone would be enough to thwart the crooks (plus the current anti-OC on pentiums already does a fair
    • /me pokes his Athlon XP

      Hope you're wearing some heat resistent gloves! :)
  • It's only a matter of time before the overclockers find a way around this. Intel will likely have some kind of undocumented override in place to make it easier, even.

  • This reminds me alot like a form of DRM, you buy the chip, but Intel tells you what you can and can't do with it, which type of motherboard you're allowed to use it in maybe? Who the hell knows anymore...

    • with this technology inplace, Intel will be able to prosecute OC'ers under the DMCA, similar to the recent Lexmark case, where Lexmark sued a company for providing mod chips that allowed replacement toners to be used other than the ones made by lexmark. the whole story can be found at,1367,57866,00 .html
    • This has nothing to do with DRM... and everything to do with specs.

      You do NOT buy a 110V hair dryer and stick it in 220V just so your hair dries faster. In the same way, overclocking isn't a design spec... it's pure and simple not safe and stable, even if your computer *looks* stable. Small instablities tend to only manifest themselves after a server has been up for a long time under lots of load... not right after a reboot... Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there.

      On a side no

  • I can't wait until tom's hardware has a howto on overclocking your Pentium 5 by opening up the chip and changing out the overclocking prevention crystal.
  • "It appears that has pantented a crystal-locking technology " Hmmm who?

    Good thing it had the intel banner..

    And i thought i was the only one that doesnt proofread :)
  • After the chip containing this protection is released and these guys [] manage to get 'round it.
  • i can't drive 55 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aberant ( 631526 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:36PM (#5592629) Homepage Journal
    i stopped trying to over clock my processor when i blew up a perfectly fine Pentium II 233 when i tried to get it to run at 266.. it worked for a month and then never worked again.. *sniffle* So now unless i have a spare processor lying around i don't risk it.
    • What you probably didn't know was it was a pentium 133 that was already overclocked by Intel and sold to you :) I've never had much luck with OC'ing intel stuff either, though I've some buddies that swear by it, I prefer AMD's.
    • >blew up a perfectly fine Pentium II 233

      LOL I feel your pain, pal....

      I have two AMD Tbirds in my desk drawer as remiders to 1) Pay ATTENTION to how much you're trying to overclock a chip (I KNOW I had that jumper on the right pins, and 2) ALWAYS make sure you have a heatsink on your chip when you hit the power switch! The chip in example 2 lasted about 3 seconds before the smoke appeared. It also toasted the moboard....

      Electronics is all smoke and mirrors. If you let the smoke out of a device, i

  • by radon28 ( 593565 )
    "Let's hope AMD doesn't try to copy this..."

    They can't. Intel patented it.
    • Re:AMD (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jimm ( 5532 )
      Yes they can if they license the patent.
    • They wouldn't-

      Not only does not having anti-overclocking buy them street credibility with the geeks, overclocking kills a lot of processors out there, thus necessitating a re-purchase.

      So instead of a single-sale to one person for 3-4 years, AMD can sell 5 chips to the same schmuck in under a year!
    • Sooooo... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Thud457 ( 234763 )
      It's official, " Intel owns the patent on stupidity "?
  • AMD Won't... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by C0LDFusion ( 541865 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:36PM (#5592635) Journal's not in their best interests. The people that they get much of their profits from are overclocking enthusiasts, or at least people who consider the ability to overclock to be a plus. AMD most likely won't follow Intel in this, just like it most likely won't hold back 64-bit.

    It's just another reminder that AMD+Linux=Good!
    • Re:AMD Won't... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bartman ( 9863 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:49PM (#5592794) Homepage Journal
      The funny thing is, that if AMD even wanted to stop people from overclocking using this patented technology, they would have to pay royalties to Intel. So as a result AMD will probably not follow that route and the consummer wins!

      AMD+Linux=Good in deed.
    • Doesn't Intel get a fair amount of profit from overclocking enthusiasts? Just the other day, I saw someone [] selling a 3.68ghz machine.

      So, why isn't it in Intel's best interest to keep the option there? The obvious answer involving Intel and the arrogant pride of enforcing rules on your customers just doesn't seem to cut it. They must have a sound business plan for enforcing this, even knowing they'll lose sales.

    • Re:AMD Won't... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by macragge ( 413964 )
      It would seem to me that the vast majority of the AMD overclocking community is interested in overclocking older chips that have been significantly reduced in price. So how is it that selling off your old chips at a discounted price (to reduce overhead) is a good buisness model?
    • Re:AMD Won't... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Drakonian ( 518722 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:57PM (#5592919) Homepage
      Much of their profits? What would you honestly estimate the percentage of comptuer users who overclock their CPU? I'd guess well below 0.1%.

      It would probably only upset a few of their customers who aren't upgrading anyway because they are overclocking.

  • so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:36PM (#5592637) Journal
    I am *totally* with the anti-pantent bloat movement. But...what's the complaint on this one? That the technology is being used, or that its being patented? If its that its being used...wah. If its that its being patented - can someone explain why it isn't a valid patent?

    Sure, crystals have been used to lock frequencies forever...but processes are what are generally patented, and the process of locking a processor speed with a crystal (versus locking a signal frequency, or whatever) it not new? Can someone explain prior art? Or is this just a case of complaining about any old patent that gets approved at all?

    • It's that it's being used.
      You're paying extra for a device which lets you do less Waah!
      You're not allowed to do something you want to with something you bought Waah!
      You can't improve on a product you legally purchased anymore, driving prices up even more Waah!
    • And isn't a patent on this technology *good*?
      It would make it illegal, or at least expensive, for other cpu manufactures to use it. =)
    • If its that its being patented - can someone explain why it isn't a valid patent?

      Or more importantly: why it isn't a desirable patent? Indeed, this patent means that AMD won't be able to pull similar stunts, which in my opinion is a good thing ;-)

    • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by greenrom ( 576281 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @04:43PM (#5593839)
      You shouldn't be able to patent processes that are obvious given current prior art. If you look at the diagram in the article, what's being proposed isn't anything particularly unique or new.

      According to the diagram, it looks like they use an input clock to drive a counter. Then, after a set number of cycles of the internal crystal oscillator, you look at the value of the counter. If it's above a certain number, you know the input clock is too fast (somebody is overclocking it).

      This is EXACTLY how a frequency counter works. Only frequency counters do some extra math so they can display the frequency in Hz or MHz, or whatever is appropriate. This is a simpler case because you're only concerned with crossing a set threshold.

      So really, what you have is a patent for a design that has been around as long as crystals and flip-flops existed. The only thing that's really new here is that they're using it to prevent people from overclocking their processors. In my opinion, you shouldn't be able to get a patent for that. But what do I know? I didn't think Amazon should have been able to patent a one-click checkout even if they were the first ones to do it.

  • I tend to think (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <> on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:37PM (#5592644) Journal
    this will fall by the wayside, but what logic prompts this kind of thing ??? EVERYONE already knows if you mess with the multiplier and OC hardware you ash the warranty on the spot. Does Intel feel the need to do this for legal protection or is it a precursor to somthing darker... ****sinister chuckle****

    AMD has been my CPU of choice for quite sometime, I just really hope they keep up the good work.
    • Re:I tend to think (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OS24Ever ( 245667 )
      I'd be willing to bet there are a few less-than-scrupulous companies that sell white box systems with overclocked, cheap processors. When they break, they say call the manuf. The manuf being Intel.

      I've seen it done before. Maybe Intel has gotten tired of the phone calls. Who knows.
  • Honestly, anyone that overclocks their CPU is someone who buys CPU's individually and not bundled in a computer. Doesn't intel make more of a profit selling individual CPUs? Especially from geeks that are constantly upgrading and overclocking?
    • Exactly. The way I see it, CPU manufacturers should want people to try to overclock their processors! Overclocking means the CPU runs more risk of failing, which means another CPU will be bought to replace it. Overclocking is all at the end-users' risk anyhow! Just because a person can overclock a CPU doesn't mean he's not going to go out and get the next fastest processor when it comes out and overclock that.

      The only good thing Intel could announce about this technology is that they're trying to prot

    • Re:That's silly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blakestah ( 91866 ) <> on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:49PM (#5592800) Homepage
      Well, there are a few issues.

      1). Resellers that act with very limited warranty that sell overclocked machines. The machine fails, Intel's reputation suffers. Intel wants to prevent this.

      2). People who overclock and then send in the CPU for a replacement for free.

      Presumably, Intel will still sell CPUs without this protection on a no-warranty basis so people can overclock if they like, and Intel loses neither money nor reputation.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I really really want to underclock my cpus to hardware emulate old machines.

    now if i can get a p4 down to 8mhz and in 286 mode
  • All this means is Intel can add a silly patent to their arsenal, while AMD continues to gain more and more support from the overclocking community. Heck, if Intel really does lock out overclockers, AMD may own the overclocking community...


  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't overclocking good for Intel? When you burn out your chip and then have to buy a new one, isn't that more money for them? What am I missing here?
    • It isn't more money, for two reasons:

      1. Unscrupulous OEMs may overclock chips, then sell them at an inflated price.

      2. There's usually a big price differential between the top of the line in any of Intel's processor line, and the next best thing. If you can get top of the line performance by overclocking the next lower chip, why would you blow the money for the latest and greatest?
  • Ummm... ??

    Isnt the Point of a Patent.. is so other companies DONT/CANT copy it?
  • Now companies and other unscrupulous individuals won't sell overclocked systems at a higher price to people who don't know any better.
  • A.K.A. "Suicide" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Michael_Burton ( 608237 ) <> on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:39PM (#5592667) Homepage
    Patenting the technology isn't the same as bringing it to the marketplace, and maybe it's intended for some other purpose, like guaranteeing the reference frequency for some time-sensitive circuitry or radio-transmitter chips or something like that.

    But if they're trying to tie the hands of hardware hackers, then Intel is shooting themselves in the foot, and AMD has just got a big win on a forfeit.
  • Describes a business model for creating money by (1) registering obfusticated patents (herein described as the "STEP 1"), (2) consolidating opportunity horizons for collateral interest parties (described herein as "???"), and (3) collecting scalable revenues from the aforesaid collateral interest parties (described herein as "STEP 1 - PROFIT!").
    Once this patent is registered, any attempt to register a new spurious patent will be impossible.
  • then the patent is the resulting process of overheating damaging the crystals and transistors.
  • New Patent (Score:5, Funny)

    by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:40PM (#5592675) Homepage
    I'm heading to my local patent office to patent my right to not buy Intel processors.

  • I might be mistaken but it seems like its locked on to the FSB or PCI clock.
    That would not prevent people from hacking the multiplier but from upping their FSB.

    Overclocking is bad anyways. Destroys your CPU, fries your RAM and makes Baby Jesus Cry.

    Sometimes patents arent that bad -> hopefully AMD wont copy this *g*
  • They didn't just restrict overclocking, but underclocking as well.

    There are some very good reasons to underclocking processors, especially since they can be run a lot cooler than the equivalent chip rated for that clock speed, this allows passive instead of active cooling, or smaller cases.

    I can see what's coming up next, like Lexmark, they implemented a way of controlling the access to the microcode on the chip, so bypassing the "overclock detector" will shortly become a DMCA violation.
  • Intel and AMD are options that I considered on the last several machines that I have bought or built for my businesses. If Intel gets around to implementing technology to limit what I can do with the processors I might buy from them, the chances that the Intel option will win when I make purchasing decisions will gradually approach nil.

    There is a difference between patenting and implementing technology. Perhaps Intel will do only the former and skip the latter. Somehow, I am not convinced that will be the
  • The Crack?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rick.C ( 626083 )
    According to the block diagram, they compare the (divided down) system clock with a 32.768KHz reference crystal. I'm thinking they can't put the ref crystal on the CPU die, and if it's external it can be replaced with a slightly (or grossly) faster one.
    • this is the original way to overclock, actually. ARS Technica has a thorough and informative look at the history of overclocking
  • Well, it works. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkMan ( 32280 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:44PM (#5592738) Journal
    It's a fairly simple system. You stick an oscillator of known frequency (32.768 kHz in this case) on the chip, and then use that to count the inputed clock rate.

    If you count too many clock pules to each refference pulse, then you can modify behaviour on the basis of that. I's interesting to note that the patent talks about CPU's going as fast as 500 MHz, and talks about 1995 as recent. So all the talk about dodgy resellers was probably topical way back when it was written, when, if I recall, there were a few resellers overclocking chips on the quiet. I think that this is a patent whose time has come and gone.

    More worrying, it talks about under-clocking detection, as if it's a symptom of faulty hardware. Well, my recent brush with a failed fan ment I underclocked my CPU, to alow it to function without overheating - I sincearly hope that Intel doesn't intend to prevent that.

  • Since the discussion will probably wander this way anyway, I thought I'd broach the subject...

    Personally, I can't see where there's too much need for overclocking a CPU any more. Specifically, I think that the other components within a PC (memory, FSB, graphics CPU speed, graphics memory interface) have become as much or more important to overall PC performance as the CPU.

    Now I understand the desire to overclock (wanting to save money, the engineering challenge of it all, trying to eke out more performanc
  • "Unscrupulous resellers and/or distributors may purchase less expensive processors that are rated at lower clock frequencies and then remark those processor at higher clock frequencies, a procedure known as over-clocking".

    So therefore we aren't restricting what our customers can do with their property but are PROTECTING them from those damn unscrupulous resellers!

    Bah. Also

    Overclocking, continues the patent, may produce several problems including bit error and data corruptions, and may also affect rand

  • "Let's hope AMD doesn't try to copy this..."

    Well, of course they can't. It's patented.
  • by DaHat ( 247651 )
    Or license?
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:47PM (#5592771) Journal
    OK, let's just get something out of the way. This is a good patent. It patents a specific method of achieving a technological end. It is directed, nonobvious, and something which would hurt their VALID intellectual property ownings to have given away to their competitors.

    This is exactly the point of the patent office--to protect innovative technology. Intel has nothing to be ashamed of for patenting this, dammit.

    Now if you don't LIKE the technology they've patented, then don't BUY it! If they put this on future CPUs, don't support them if you don't want. But DON'T WHINGE ABOUT THE PATENT BEING JUNK! It's not.

  • Why don't they sell chips without these stupid measures? I rather enjoy overclocking machines (despite the risk) and I would happily buy a retail CPU that lacked this technology, including the FSB multiplier lock. Years ago when they began implementing the multiplier lock I honestly felt that, given time and the ever growing market for cooling gear, they would market an overclockable chip.

    Look at the motherboard industry as an example; there was a period a few years ago where Abit was considered the numb
  • Intel Crystal-Lock Chips

    Betcha can't overheat just one.
  • It looks [] like a pulse counter. How did they get a patent on an application for a widely known and used device?
  • Let's hope AMD doesn't try to copy this...

    Yah, then Intel could sue them for patent infringement!

    Sheesh, you'd think people would learn something here.

  • If I want to spend my hard earned money to purchase a CPU that I wish to overclock and eke out a modest performance increase, then I should be able to OC it without marketing intervention.

    If I chose to void my warranty by overclocking my CPU, then that too is my choice. Rather than limiting the speed of the CPU, why not put a one-time flashable register in the CPU that is set when a CPU is run above its intended speed for X amount of time, thus proving that a warranty is void.

    By putting a frequency/speed
  • I mean really, who are they appealing to here? They wan't to completely alienate the 5% of early adopters and home enthusiasts?
  • Who cares wether they patent their OC prevention technology? That means only that other CPU vendors cannot use their technolody to prevent OCing.

    I mean, when was it in consumers interest to have OC prevention technology in the first place?

    And isn't that a little like Sony patenting their copy protection mechanisms?

    I must have misunderstood something here...
  • Hopefully they'll just use this to prevent overclocking, not underclocking -- I underclock one of my PCs so its CPU runs cooler and thus requires less noisy cooling. It would be pretty odd of Intel to essentially say, "No, we won't let you pay us more per MHz than our list price, and we will make you run your PC hotter and louder than you need to."
  • Yeah, it's a bummer for hobby overclockers. But, one area that this is good for is to prevent resellers from selling overclocked machines at a higher price, without telling the buyer it's overclocked. This is a pretty big problem in some areas.

  • Intel has also patented the procedure: "Putting yourself out of business".
  • by LowneWulf ( 210110 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:54PM (#5592869)
    Good idea. Perhaps there's prior art, but I don't think the patent itself is an issue (or at least there are much worse patents in the world to gripe over).

    As for overclocking, the diagram just shows a signal going out that latches when the chip is overclocked. What a processor DOES with it is an entirely other story. A cool extension would be a pin to a motherboard, and allowing the BIOS to actually give a big "HEY, I'M OVERCLOCKED" message on startup. Those who get reseller-overclocked chips (and it happens!) know they've been shafted. Those who are overclockers know they're cool (well... quite hot actually... nevermind).

    At least I'd HOPE they'd put some way around it for those truly interested in overclocking.
  • This is so stupid. The added circuitry will only cost the consumers more and inhibit enthusiests. I fail to see the logic here. How many people actually overclock their processors? And does Intel think they'll keep customers who already overclock? I think it's safe to assume that the overclockers would either switch to AMD or simply would not bother with the incremental upgrades.

    Of course, it'll be fun to see the neat tricks OC'ers will come up with to get around this technology :)
  • Clarification (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fishybell ( 516991 )
    Just to clarify why Intel is saying they need this, this is not about preventing the end-user (i.e. you) from overclocking. That is merely an unfortunate side effect. The main idea is to prevent "unscrupulous" retailers from selling cpus at a higher clock rating than they are shipped with. And don't fool yourself, Intel doesn't want the end-user overclocking either. It leads to people buying lower-clocked cpus and pumping them up to a cpu that costs an hundred dollars more. I'm sure that overclocking is als
  • by zealot ( 14660 ) <> on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @02:59PM (#5592932)
    I've seen a lot of comments here asking why Intel would do such a thing, why they're trying to prevent overclocking even though it voids the warrantee.

    They really aren't concerned so much with enthusiasts... the percentage of people who over clock in the total PC market is very small (they just speak loudly online).

    The problem they have is with resellers (ie whitebox shops) taking a slow processor (say a P4 2.0 GHz), overclocking it, and selling it in a system as, say, a P4 2.8 GHz and marking up the price as such. To clarify, these resellers do not tell their customers the system has a P4 2.0 overclocked to 2.8 GHz and that the warrantee is voided, they say it has a P4 2.8 GHz part in it, and pocket the extra cash. So Intel loses money on sales of its higher end parts, and customers aren't getting what they paid for: they end up with an overclocked part that may or may not be completely stable.
  • This patent is old (Score:5, Informative)

    by angle_slam ( 623817 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @03:08PM (#5593008)
    It was originally filed in September 1999. Look at some of the language of the patent:
    Currently, system clock (operating) speeds of host processors can vary from 66 MHz to about 500 MHz. Host processors may be rated at a particular clock frequency based on their ability to operate without errors. Typically, processor manufacturers may be very conservative when rating such a clock frequency. For example, a processor which successfully operates during tests at 333 MHz may be only intentionally rated (marked) at only 133 MHz, 150 MHz, 166 MHz, 200 MHz or 250 MHz for different market reasons.
    IIRC, processor mismarking was a problem during those days, which is probably why the invention was made.

    Also, the invention is implemented in the chipsets, not the CPU.

    The usual FUD is misplaced then. If Intel is using this technology, they've been using it for as much as 3.5 years.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @03:13PM (#5593067)
    My next computer purchase for a linux box, I plan to get a mid-range chip, then underclock it a few notches as to reduce it's operating temperature and thus extend the reliability of the chip. I don't want to spend a fortune and worry my hair out over whether my CPU is running too hot or not. While I can understand Intel's concern with resellers of their CPUs falsing advertizing faster chips but in reality selling overclocked ones, I hope Intel realizes that it's better to allow consumers to be able to over/underclock the CPU, and instead pursue legal actions against resellers that fake CPU speeds, instead of going for an overpreventative hardware solution.
  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2003 @03:39PM (#5593323) Journal
    It's a freaking frequency counter. I think I might have an old Don Lancaster circuit book from the 1970's that has a similar circuit. I have a Logic 101 book from college that describes a similar method.

    Sheesh! They'll be trying to patent the AND gate next.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments