EVGA published a BIOS update for Z170 motherboards late Thursday night that allows base clock overclocking on non-K CPUs. The BIOS 1.07 update can be downloaded directly from EVGA’s site. The only Intel chips that officially allow overclocking are designated by a “K” at the end of its part number; this motherboard BIOS update allows you to boost the performance of all the Skylake chips that don’t end in “K.”
Perhaps less-than-coincidentally, EVGA also announced its new $290 Z170-K Classified motherboard today, featuring 3600MHz+ memory support, USB 3.1 support, and a Killer E2400 NIC.
The story behind the story: Facilitating overclocking—the ability to run your processor’s clock speed faster than it’s rated to—of lower-class Skylake chips is something of a trend in recent months, but don’t expect every motherboard maker to join the non-K OC bandwagon. We’ve been hearing that some hardware companies have no intention of allowing for non-K Skylake overclocking due to long-term technical compatibility concerns and other issues.
Intel never meant for its non-K Skylake chips to push past their clock speed limits, but anytime Intel limits its chips, like that there always seems to be a workaround. The issue is whether Intel will try to put a stop to it.
Back in December, Intel told PCWorld that it does not “recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so. Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications.”
If you ask me that sounds like, “we don’t want you to do it, but if you do you’re on your own.” For seasoned overclockers, though, that’s familiar territory.
But Intel could get a little more aggressive if the overclocking trend starts pulling too many customers away from its more lucrative K-series chips. For now, however, the good times can keep on rolling just a little bit faster—depending on your motherboard.
Gordon Ung and Brad Chacos provided additional reporting for this article.