Intel is officially cracking down on the loophole which has allowed customers who purchased locked, or "non-k", Skylake CPUs to overclock their chips. A microcode update voluntarily pushed to motherboard vendors should prevent the overclocking capability when it is incorporated into future BIOS updates.
Intel's motivation for the crackdown can be traced back to December, when ASRock released a BIOS update for its Z170 motherboard range. That BIOS update allowed customers to overclock the base clock of many locked Skylake CPU models. This capability obviously appealed to budget PC enthusiasts, who would otherwise be forced to pay more for the higher-priced unlocked Skylake CPUs.
In a statement to PCWorld, Intel diplomatically said it was taking action to halt vendors from allowing consumers to unlock the CPUs.
“The latest update provided to partners includes, among other things, code that aligns with the position that we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so. Additionally, Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications.”
The closure of the loophole likely means future purchasers of the ASRock motherboards will not be able to overclock their CPUs. However, for those who have already purchased the boards, it is doubtful the microcode update will prevent them from continuing to run their CPUs overclocked. They can simply choose to ignore the BIOS update, however Intel warns overclocking voids the CPU warranty (though this also applies to unlocked CPUs).