Intel Comet Lake CPUs could make overclocking possible with cheaper motherboards

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel might just be offering the ability to overclock its incoming next-gen Comet Lake desktop processors on mid-range B460 motherboards, which is normally an ability reserved for the firm’s top-of-the-range Z series boards.

First off, we should bear in mind that this is just speculation, based on some images highlighted by Videocardz showing a Maxsun B460 iCraft Gaming Endless motherboard.

This B460 model sports a trio of buttons marked with an ‘L’ and ‘C’ as well as a lightning bolt symbol, and the marketing blurb for the iCraft Gaming Endless indicates that it has the ability to speed up the CPU with just a click, as Tom’s Hardware points out.

Maxsun B460 iCraft Gaming Endless

(Image credit: Videocardz)

So in theory, these buttons could facilitate some kind of basic overclocking functionality outside of the more expensive Z490 chipset. Again, bear in mind that this is just a theory, and there are certainly arguments against it.

Firstly, it would be pretty surprising to see Intel make this move, and no previous rumors – and there’s been plenty of leakage around Comet Lake thus far – have indicated any overclocking possibility with mid-range boards. 

But then again, from the perspective of Intel needing to be more competitive with AMD given the success of Ryzen 3000, there’s a counterargument that Intel might feel the need to match its rival (which offers overclocking chops with mid-range chipsets as well as premium boards).

Build quality

The other important consideration is that if you’re going to engage in overclocking, the motherboard needs to have a good enough build quality – plus capable and reliable enough power delivery, and cooling – to achieve this without any dangers to your system stability (or even worse prospects than that).

But that said, the Maxsun model does look like it’s pretty solidly built at first glance, and those buttons surely do something.

However, even if this speculation does turn out to be correct, and there is some form of overclocking functionality coming with some B460 motherboards, it’s likely to be limited in comparison to the Z490 boards. After all, Intel will still need to give punters a reason to plump for the top dog models (and indeed top dollar products – there’s also a rumor of some major price hikes in store for Z490 boards).

As ever, time will tell, but this is certainly an interesting hint that Intel may just be planning to enable overclocking outside of premium boards as part of the greater struggle to help keep 10th-gen processors competitive with AMD Ryzen 3000.

We may not have long to wait to find out anyway, because Intel is expected to launch next-gen Comet Lake desktop CPUs in just a couple of days at the end of April, or that’s the word from the processor grapevine.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).