Intel releases update to disable Skylake non-K CPU overclocking

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Late last year, several motherboard manufacturers including ASRock released updates to their boards that allowed users to overclock locked Intel ‘Skylake’ CPUs. This meant that some of Intel’s lower-priced SKUs suddenly became great value, as overclocking them delivered performance in the range of more expensive parts.

Naturally, Intel wasn’t happy that some motherboard vendors were exploiting loopholes that allowed overclocking of locked CPUs. The company typically restricts overclocking to K-series parts, which they say are ‘designed’ to be pushed beyond their normal limits. In their eyes, overclocking non-K parts is “not recommended” and users basically shouldn’t do it.

To prevent non-K CPU overclocking, Intel has released a microcode update to motherboard partners that closes the loophole. As is normally the case, the partners will now integrate the update into a motherboard BIOS update, which users will then have to voluntarily install on their systems.

The good news is that if you want to keep overclocking your non-K Skylake CPU, you can easily do so by simply not updating your motherboard’s BIOS. You will miss out on any new features or bug fixes released in this or any future updates, but that will most likely be worth it if you want to continue to overclock.

There is the possibility that vendors will remove the previous BIOS update that allowed non-K overclocking from their websites in the coming days, so if you’re interested in trying it out, now is the time to do so. Also, don’t be surprised if new motherboards released to stores in the coming months come with the non-K overclock-killing BIOS update pre-installed.

Intel says move to 10-nanometer chips still on track for 2017

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Intel posted a job listing on its website last month in which it mentioned that mass production of products using its 10-nanometer manufacturing technology would begin approximately two years from the date the listing was posted (January 21, 2016).

This caught the attention of The Motley Fool’s Ashraf Eassa who wrote a column on the matter. It was of particular interested because in mid-2015, Intel admitted that difficulties in the move to 10-nanometer had pushed the first round of consumer products based on the advanced manufacturing process back to the second half of 2017.

Initially, 10-nanometer products were to arrive in the marketplace this year.

If the job listing was indeed accurate, that meant Intel was pretty far behind in its move to 10-nanometer. As it turns out, however, the job listing wasn’t accurate.

Intel’s public relations team reached out to the publication and said the job listing contained “errors” and that it would soon be taken down. Sure enough, the listing in question has since been pulled. The PR team clarified that its first 10-nanometer products were still on track to arrive sometime in the second half of 2017.

Moving to a smaller manufacturing process has numerous benefits including (but not limited to) lower power consumption (which leads to better battery life) and improved performance as more transistors can fit on a single chip.

AT&T and Intel are testing the viability of using existing LTE networks to control aerial drones

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AT&T’s Internet of Things team and the AT&T Foundry innovation center are partneringwith Intel to explore alternative methods to handle increased drone traffic. Specifically, they aim to determine if AT&T’s existing LTE network is up to the task of handling data transmission between aerial drones and their operators on the ground.

Today’s consumer drones are hamstrung by short-range signals (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and radio waves) as well as various government regulations. Once things are sorted out as far as legal guidelines go, drones used for commercial purposes likely (hopefully) won’t be limited to line-of-sight operation which is where AT&T comes in.

The nation’s second largest wireless carrier is working with Intel to evaluate the performance of the LTE network as it pertains to handling drone communications. How the network copes with data transmission at high altitudes, for example, will certainly be telling. The telecom said connecting drones over its network may also address safety and security concerns as well as limit potential interference with manned aircraft.

Chris Penrose, senior vice president, IoT Solutions at AT&T, said their LTE network is uniquely positioned to connect industries like delivery, agriculture, construction and insurance. Anil Nanduri, vice president of the New Technology Group and general manager of New Markets within the Perceptual Computing Group at Intel, echoed those sentiments, saying his company believes UAVs have great potential, from inspections and precision agriculture to deliveries of consumer goods and providing emergency disaster relief.

Intel will be showing off its Yuneec Typhoon H drone (which uses its RealSense Technology) at Mobile World Congress this week.