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Opinion: Intel a whited sepulchre on overclocking

It’s all to do with selling more chips, not stopping counterfeits

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There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to brazening things out, Intel is hard to beat. Just a few days ago it emerged that Intel is to prevent overclocking of future versions of its processors but the reasons it advances for this decision are spurious. (Story: Intel says days of overclocking over) Its mission, and it does accept it, is to boldly sell more microprocessors than it has ever sold before. That’s the reason Intel Architecture Labs is currently developing 3D software (Miramar), intelligent fridges and the like, and that’s the reason it’s going to stop gamers and others overclocking its chips. Intel’s justification for preventing overclocking is that it is anxious that unscrupulous people will sell machines at higher clock rates than the parts warrant. This is a counterfeit argument. Earlier this year, our colleagues at c’t magazine, along with other journalists around the world and a reservoir of anxious resellers revealed that Intel was taking precious little notice of a large number of counterfeit Pentium IIs swilling around in the channel. The problem became so great that c’t magazine even went to the lengths of producing a piece of software which would detect whether chips were overclocked or not, apparently to Intel’s blithe indifference. (Stories: Program released to counter re-marking and Intel's outsiders come to resellers' aid) Intel does not want you to overclock its chips. It wants you to carry on buying Intel Inside PCs with new chips, such as the 366MHz/400MHz Celerons it will sell you from Monday, or the Pentium IIIs with Streaming SIMD it will introduce at the end of February. It’s fair enough that Intel, a large corporation which makes microprocessors, wants to sell you new chips so it can carry on in business and make gross margins of over 50 per cent. But when it starts using spurious arguments to conceal its true mission, it stands convicted of hypocrisy. That’s why it’s a whitened sepulchre. ®

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