The possibility of buying a dual-core AMD Phenom II X2 processor and somehow unlocking the other cores on the processor is an intriguing idea. It's almost like getting something for nothing, as some of the X2 and X3 chips are actually Phenom II X4 processors with one or more cores disabled due either to stability issues or to meet market demand. Enthusiasts used to rely on AMD's Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) technology to unlock the 'hidden' cores. With the release of the latest 890GX chipset, the ACC technology has been removed, so just how are we to accomplish the unlocking task using the latest boards?
OCC just reviewed the ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 890GX motherboard and one of the extras tested was the Core Unlocker feature. Our reviewer was able to use this capability to automatically unlock the other two cores on a Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition processor. The board uses a hardware switch that, when engaged, intelligently scans the installed processor to determine which cores and cache can be unlocked. Of course, your results will vary based on the processor but this is a feature unique to the ASUS board and shouldn't be overlooked as an easy way to boost your system's performance.
We've already seen a couple of users have success with this feature and you can discuss this in our forums here.