Intel has just launched an auto-overclocking tool dubbed the Intel Performance Maximizer (IPM). This free to download (1.5GB) application is designed to provide 'one-click' optimisation of your 9th gen unlocked multiplier Intel processor. Running IPM will provide a quick and easy way to implement an "added speed boost to gain a gaming edge or maximize your creativity," reckons Intel.
Some PC novices may be understandably a little nervous, considering the costs of components, as they seek to overclock a processor for the first time. IPM promises to deliver meaningful overclocking performance, for free, and with the confidence of using an official Intel developed software tool. In its PR blurb, Intel describes the software as a "hyper-intelligent automated processor overclocking tool". Furthermore, the tool "examines your processor's individual performance DNA and programs personalized settings for custom overclocking made simple".
Before we go any further it is worth mentioning the small subset of Intel hardware that can use IPM for overclocking. Only the newest Intel Core processors with K suffixes (9th gen iX-9XXXKX processors) can be used. Additionally you need a motherboard with a Z390 chipset, at least 8GB of RAM, 16GB of available space on an internal drive, and Windows 10 1809 or newer. If you have a qualifying permutation of the above kit and you are a novice with regard to overclocking then the IPM might appeal to you.
So how well does it work? PCPer got a pre-release copy of IPM from Intel and gave it a review using an Intel Core i9-9900K-based PC system. The site observed that: "IPM automatically increases clock speeds in small steps, testing after each change to ensure stability. It repeats this process until there's a crash or error, at which point it drops back down to the previous clock or multiplier setting, tests for stability again, and then starts to tweak other factors such as voltage." The process repeats until the tool establishes a maximum safe overclock which may take up an hour or more.
Intel has taken this opportunity to revamp its Performance Tuning Protection Plan. For a one-off fee of $19.99 you can, for the processor's standard warranty period, be covered for up to one hardware failure "due to catastrophic end-user overclocking".
Moving on to PCPer's benchmarks - it completed many tests with the 9900K running at stock, optimised with IPM, and manually overclocked. After the tests the conclusion was that IPM was limited in its scope (it only overclocks the processor) and even a "simple" manual overclock with tuned memory and undervolted processor can do better - while saving energy.