I had heard this might be coming, but today Intel made it official. The Performance Tuning Protection Plan is a $20 - $35 plan that you'll be able to purchase either from Intel or one of its approved resellers, starting today. Typically if your CPU dies because you push it too far while overclocking, it's not covered by Intel's 3-year warranty. If you purchase the PTPP for your CPU however, you are given a single replacement free of charge. Any future damage isn't covered and the replacement is only available as long as your CPU is still covered under its original warranty. And no, you can't buy multiple plans for the same CPU.

A table of supported CPUs and PTPP cost are below:

Intel Performance Tuning Protection Plan
  Price
Intel Core i7 3960X $35
Intel Core i7 3930K $35
Intel Core i7 2700K $25
Intel Core i7 2600K $25
Intel Core i5 2500K $20

These plans are only available on retail, boxed CPUs. The plans can be transferred between owners if you sell your CPU and you're allowed to own multiple plans, just not on the same CPU. Finally, you can't request a replacement CPU in the first 30 days of purchasing the plan. 

This is very much a trial for Intel. Intel will only offer the PTPP for the next 6 months, at which point it will likely regroup and measure the effectiveness of the program. Intel also reserves the right to change the terms of the plan or discontinue it at its own leisure. Presumably if you purchase one of the plans however you'll be covered until your warranty runs out. 

Most end users (including enthusiast overclockers) will likely not benefit from this additional coverage. It's really for the competitive overclockers and the folks who are truly pushing the limits of what Intel's silicon can do. I can definitely see the value for the hardcore overclocking community.

Source: Intel

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  • formulav8 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Talk about being stinking money hungry. Reply
  • Hector2 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    You expect everything handed to you free on a silver platter ? The only people who will buy this insurance are those who overclock and are much more likely to blow up their CPU up. You can buy the insurance or not. It's called free will. Reply
  • Hector2 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I was at Fry's Electronics last year browsing through their motherboards and CPUs. I overheard a salesperson tell a buyer to just overclock it to the max it lets him and if it dies, just send in the CPU and get another one free-of-charge.

    If you want Intel to keep this feature in future CPUs, don't abuse it. They're not stupid. If too many CPUs come back blown up because some idiot wanted to squeeze another 10% out of his PC, they'll just stop doing it. I suspect that Intel is putting this insurance option out there to re-coup some of the losses they incur by those who abuse overclocking, then expect a free replacement.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I've had a Micro Center employee tell me the same almost verbatim when I bought a board/CPU combo from them. Honestly I think its encouraged from the top down all the way up to Intel to get the sale on higher end components over cheaper ones (or AMD). Intel has had much better overclocking headroom than the competition for years now, why not leverage that advantage?

    But Intel isn't dumb as you've said, and I'm sure they're keenly aware of what people are doing with their CPUs regardless, so they probably figure why not monetize it. Indeed, this is the 2nd time in recent history they've monetized their OC capabilities (1st time was introducing K parts and locked normal parts).

    I think the limited trial edition of this is more to see if its worth it from a revenue/profit and bookkeeping aspect. All of this effort is going to take quite a bit of customer service and backend tracking. Its not like Intel has some robust frontend, end-user portal to make this all simple, like EVGA. If anything their frontend is terrible as we saw when end-user demands for support ramped up during the early X-25M SSD days.
    Reply
  • ZekkPacus - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    "Its not like Intel has some robust frontend, end-user portal to make this all simple, like EVGA. If anything their frontend is terrible as we saw when end-user demands for support ramped up during the early X-25M SSD days."

    But they DO have a really solid and robust returns portal for their resellers, or 'technology providers'. Intel are bigger than EVGA by several orders of magnitude, I'm sure they actually want people to be returning items through the channel, not direct to them. Their policies on returns and warranty is fairly clear cut and always says 'return to place of purchase'. Resellers are told the same, and generally have to accept a return.

    The thing about this is, aside from telling Intel that the CPU has been overclocked, there's really no way for them to find out aside from extreme OC jobs where stuff is actually visibly burnt out/damaged from exposure to LN2. Your average joe's i5-2500k running at 4.3Ghz probably won't show visible damage, and it's just not worth it to Intel to break down that chip and examine it if he says it's broken. Hence why big (US) resellers just tell people to bring it back.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Why did you bother to quote the portion and not even read it? This program is being offered to the END-USER directly, that's the whole point. You don't need to go through the reseller, you go through Intel directly, which is why I referenced the fact they don't have a robust end-user portal to make all of this easy.

    In the example I gave, EVGA, you register for an account, which you need to do anyways to receive the lifetime warranty. From there, you enter the product serial # and after that, anything you want to do with that product is tracked and managed through your account. Everything from Step-Up, RMA, game codes, advanced RMA, buying new parts, you name it.

    The whole point of this program is to allow Intel to make even more money on what they already know people are doing with their CPUs and recoup some of the expense of replacing CPUs they were already replacing. If they didn't know, they wouldn't have bothered to charge the premium to begin with on their K and X products.
    Reply
  • ZekkPacus - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    The program is being offered through resellers as well as directly from Intel and no doubt resellers will have to buy into the program in order to resell it. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the program's terms and conditions include having to return to your original place of purchase. Reply
  • chizow - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I guess you didn't bother to click the embedded link in Anand's post:

    http://click.intel.com/tuningplan/

    Its an end-user portal and warranty program, you only need to buy a retail cpu or through an approved reseller.

    But that link is case and point, a multi-bazillion company like Intel, "leaders of tomorrow", using PAYPAL of all things to handle their end-user transactions.

    Honestly, its probably some guy in marketings experiment to help fund their annual company picnic or holiday party. Maybe they'll have rocketship rides to the moon for the kids this year.
    Reply
  • fidgewinkle - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I think there is a fair chance that Intel is interested in looking at how their chips fail under stresses that they haven't thought to do in their labs. The key point is that they need to be able to tear the packages open. This means that they need to get owners to give them their burned out CPUs. This requires an exchange such as this. In a way, it can be seen as enthusiasts paying $20 to do Intel's stress testing for them.

    It also doesn't really harm their bottom line. This is because it costs them pretty much the same amount to produce an i7 as an i3 and they really aren't out a whole lot and they aren't putting new processors out there that will bring down demand. Further, they get good will from the performance community, which is at least somewhat involved in writing the benchmarking articles and otherwise touting what the best processors are.

    This leads me to believe that Intel doesn't plan for this program to be an ongoing endeavor. They will do it until they stop getting useful information and/or they see it as being too expensive to run.
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Funny. No, Intel doesn't need burnt out parts from customers for their stress testing. They do that already in their labs under controlled conditions. Reply

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