The next step in overclocking: the SSD

Yes, you read that right, our solid state drives are set to be the next battleground in the world of overclocking. It has been announced that, as part of an overclocking seminar at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) today, that Intel will go into detail, and demonstrate, overclocking SSD technology. Intel are trying to woo back the enthusiast crowd with new extreme CPUs running on the existing X79 platform - stay tuned for that one, folks - now they're also looking at other areas they can use to inspire serial tweakers.

Intel themselves haven't made any announcements as to what they are doing with SSD overclocking, apart from sticking it in the schedule for IDF, but online storage experts, Myce , have dug around in their Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) and uncovered some code that has yet to be enabled. It shows that, via the XTU app, it will be possible to overclock the base frequency of both the memory controller chip and even the NAND chips themselves. There will also be options to adjust the power limits of the drive.

Quite what benefits these new SSD overclocking options will give you I'm not entirely sure, but I doubt it will make a huge difference in their real-world performance outside of benchmark numbers. On the Myce article they claim beefing up the clocks on the controller is unlikely to have any untoward side-effects for a minimal speed boost, but that messing with the NAND clocks could get nasty.

With most of us running SSDs - if we have them at all - as our primary boot drive, the risk of corrupting our system data for a negligible speed bump could be foolish in the extreme. It also seems to be only for own-brand Intel SSDs too. To be fair, in the context of current SSD technology, their drives could really do with a boost if they are to get competitive again with the likes of Samsung and Crucial.

I'll be out in San Francisco for IDF, so I'll be booking my seat at the overclocking session to find out exactly what the deal is. If you've got anything you guys want me to ask the techie Intel bods about while I'm out there let me know - either via the comments here, email ( ) or Twitter (@Not_the_GK) - and I'll see what I can get out of them for you.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.