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Want to overclock your notebook CPU? Intel will let you by the end of the year

Enthusiasts love to overclock processors, gaining “free” performance with just a few tweaks, but it’s traditionally been restricted to desktops (and considered one of that platform’s advantages). That will soon change, however, if Intel keeps its promise to bring an unlocked “K” series chip to mobile.

The announcement was made somewhat quietly at Gamescom, and generally overlooked in the noise of the more prominent desktop processor announcements.

Not much information is available. An official blog post by Intel PR manager Dan Snyder says only that Intel “announced plans to deliver an unlocked 6th Gen Intel Core processor “K” SKU for enthusiast notebooks later this year. This will be the first unlocked “K” SKU form mobile.”

Related: Check out our full review of the Intel Core i7-6700K

Its arrival later this year at least indicates a limited timeframe. We won’t have to wait a year for this processor to come out. And while everything else is left up to speculation, to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s a good bet the chip will be a quad-core with a high base clock speed and plenty of cache.

Whatever the details, Intel’s decision to bring over-clocking to mobile is interesting, especially in light of the recent drama over Nvidia’s decision to disable overclocking in some laptops. The company said in a statement that “by overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects.”

Intel apparently doesn’t have similar concerns, though to be fair, it likely has more say in how notebooks are designed than Nvidia. Personally, from recent experience with notebooks, I think that issuing a “K” series mobile chip makes sense. Some modern gaming laptops, like the Asus Republic of Gamers G751 are surprisingly quiet and cool at full processor load, suggesting headroom for even greater performance.

Of course, being able to afford a laptop so equipped may be an issue. An unlocked “K” series mobile quad would not come cheap. Intel hasn’t said a word about pricing, though, so we can continue to hope for a holiday miracle — and maybe a new, overclockable laptop under the tree.