Intel patent could prevent overclocking

— 1:48 PM on March 25, 2003

I noticed over at The Inquirer that Intel has been granted a new patent that prevents systems from running out of spec by detecting overclocking and throttling back clock frequencies to compensate. Here's the patent's abstract:

An over-clock deterrent mechanism of a chipset which comprises an over-clock detection circuit for detecting over-clocking of a system (processor) clock signal based on comparison of ratio of the system (processor) clock signal which is likely to be over-clocked and a fixed, stable reference clock signal which is highly unlikely to be over-clocked, and an over-clock prevention (thwarting) circuit for deterring such an over-clocking by either disabling operations of a computer system or significantly undermining key operations of a computer system.
Intel hasn't announced plans to use the patent to thwart overclocking, but they could, especially if enterprising enthusiasts ever find a way to unlock the Pentium 4's elusive multiplier.
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