A few weeks back, Intel announced it had pushed an update out to motherboard manufacturers to remove BIOS overclocking for Skylake processors that were supposed to be locked in the first place. Ever since 2011, Intel has restricted overclocking to upper-end Core i5 and Core i7 products with a “K” designation in the name, and the company never meant to offer Skylake chips that could be overclocked in the first place.
Users who bought lower-end Skylake chips and motherboards can still overclock by refusing to update to newer BIOS versions, of course. But it seemed that the window on this particular feature had closed for good, since new boards would ship with newer BIOS versions, and motherboard manufacturers haven’t historically wanted to go head-to-head with Intel in enabling features the company isn’t fond of.
ASRock, it seems, has other ideas. The manufacturer has announced a new set of motherboards — the Fatal1ty H170 Performance/Hyper and the Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4/Hyper, both of which use an external clock generator to bypass the restrictions that Intel has placed on Skylake overclocking.
It’s not clear what the new boards will cost, but ASRock tends to target the lower-end of the motherboard space, with boards in the $100 to $120 range. Presumably these will be priced similarly.
This is the first time we’ve seen a motherboard company openly buck Intel’s CPU lockdown in this fashion, which raises the question: Why now? Is ASRock trying to lock down a business segment it suddenly found was popular, or is there something about Skylake that makes it easier for manufacturers to integrate external solutions as a way around this problem? Asus, MSI, and the like have been manufacturing overclocking motherboards for a number of years; it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t have adopted a solution like this as a way to appeal to enthusiast buyers if it was practical to do so.
Feature-wise, the two motherboards are fairly similar. The B150 offers gigabit Ethernet courtesy of Killer Networks, while the H170 has SATA M.2 support, SATA Express, and 8 USB 3.0 ports (the B150 has “just” six). If this type of overclocking support proves popular with enthusiasts, you can bet other manufacturers will adopt it — the cutthroat world of motherboard manufacturing demands nothing less, and companies are quick to follow when one of them discovers a feature gamers and builders want to pay for.
Source: extremetech.comLast modified on 14/03/2016