Intel Skylake Non-K Overclocking BIOSes Pulled

by MAC     |     February 5, 2016

Back in December, ASRock revealed that it had managed to unlocked BCLK overclocking on Skylake non-K processors, like the Pentium G4400, Core i3-6100, Core i5-6400, Core i7-6700, etc. All that was needed was a Z170 motherboard and a BIOS update. While ASRock marketed this new capability as the Sky OC feature, and was followed suit by Biostar and their Hyper OC technology, the big three motherboard manufactures (ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI) stayed quiet...while still releasing beta or unofficial BIOSes supporting this new overclocking feature.

Well we regret to inform you that it looks like the good times are coming to a premature end. ASRock have started removing the Sky OC supporting bioses from their website, and their newest bios updates explicitly state "Remove Sky OC function" in their descriptions. They have even erased the press release, though it is still viewable using the Google Cache feature. While some manufacturers like EVGA still have this feature available in their respective BIOS pages, we fully expect these holdouts to start releasing BIOSes with the Skylake non-K CPU BCLK OC function disabled.

We aren't yet sure what precipitated this development, though many suspect that it was caused by pressure from Intel. This is a move that was anticipated, but not necessarily expected from the chip manufacturer. Although overclocked Core i3 models were approaching the performance of the Core i5 models - which Intel charge a handsome premium for - there were many shortcomings, like disabling the integrated GPU, loss of power efficiency features, incorrect CPU temperature readings, and poor AVX instruction set performance.

As a result of all this, it was believed that this new loophole would appeal to such a niche audience that it wouldn't warrant any official action on behalf of Intel. Clearly, this was a na´ve assumption, since in 2013 Intel went so far as to remove the additional Turbo bins fron non-K Haswell processors, which is an option that on previous generations could - at most - deliver a 400Mhz overclock.

Since this news broke, we have reached out to some motherboard vendors asking for comment but, due to the sensitive nature of the situation, none have been willing to go on record explaining why these changes were done.

Not all is lost though. With the Internet of Things at their fingertips, enterprising overclockers who want to save a few bucks have access to a repository of both (previously) official and unofficial BIOSes that support the Skylake-S OC function that is just a few clicks away. Just remember that many of these aren't currently supported by their respective manufacturers and the long-term issues associated with non-K BCLK overclocking haven't been extensively studied. There's also the very real possibility that key updates to enhance stability and compatibility could be released and these older BIOSes will be locked out from those advancements.

We will update this news post as we hear more. Discuss your thoughts on our forums.

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