Intel Offers Performance Tuning Protection Plan
Typically, when you buy electronic parts and equipment they are only guaranteed to work according to published specs. If you overclock a part of your computer (usually the CPU, memory and/or graphics card) and it burns out you are not covered by the standard warranty. Most companies offer a limited warranty, which doesn't cover damage done by overclocking (classed as misuse), although some companies offer more flexible replacement terms as long as a non-working part cannot be seen to have been modified. Intel are now offering an added level of warranty protection, at a price, for those who wish to overclock their recent, high-end unlocked desktop SKUs.
If you purchase an unlocked Sandy Bridge or Sandy Bridge-E CPU in retail packaging, you are eligible to purchase the new protection plan. This protection plan offers you a single replacement (for each product purchased) if your chip dies within the period covered. This gives users more flexibility when overclocking, which has always voided standard warranties. Users who have bought an unlocked processor often want to overclock it, but in many cases that overclock will be limited by the individuals ability to replace an expensive part if it's destroyed.
Only the processors listed above are covered by the new plan, and only if bought as retail products. A replacement processor will not be provided during the first 30 days after purchase of the plan, and the plan must be bought within one year of purchase of the processor. The plan is then valid for the duration of the warranty. If you sell a processor with the protection in place, you can transfer the protection plan to the new owner. Additionally, if you have purchased multiple eligible products, you can purchase cover for each of them.
There are a few exclusions to the terms of the plan, most of which are standard warranty exclusions. Modifications to the processor (including lapping it and removing all the original markings) and damage to other components caused by failure of the performance tuned processor are not covered. Costs involved in removal and replacement of the processor (for example if a processor is soldered onto a board - which doesn't apply to currently eligible products) are not covered, and other costs associated with computer downtime are also your own responsibility. Additionally, accidental damage (other than from overclocking), electrical failures or spikes, improper testing and a number of other causes of damage are excluded.
As processor specs and instructions do not include overclocking, I am surprised to note that Intel also state that "usage not in accordance with product instructions" is excluded. It seems like a contradiction (although I guess it also covers someone using their processor as a beer mat, or some of the other unimaginable things someone might do!).
On the whole, this is very good news for a lot of people who want to squeeze every last bit of performance out of their investment, especially those who are unsure what they are doing and are a little afraid of pushing their processor beyond the standard specs.
Related News (older articles):
Nov 14, 2011: Intel introduces Core i7-3930K and i7-3960X CPUs
Oct 23, 2011: Intel launches Core i7-2700K, drops prices on three CPUs
Jan 09, 2011: Intel launches new desktop and mobile CPUs