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Intel Upgrade Service to Allow Unlocking of Disabled Processors

Category: CPU's
Posted: 12:36PM

Intel and AMD have some similarities when it comes to making cheaper processors. Usually one company will take a processor and disable certain features of it to make it better fit within a particular budget. AMD usually disables a core or two and maybe some cache while Intel will remove Hyper Threading, Turbo, and even cache. On the AMD side, if you get a processor that had a core or even cache disabled, you usually run a pretty good chance to unlock it albeit with higher voltage or power consumption. Intel does not allow that on its chips but now it may. Intel is going to start a trial run of its new Intel Upgrade Service which will allow someone with a processor that has had features disabled to unlock them. However, unlike AMD which allows you to do that for free and at your own risk, Intel is going to charge for the service and will pretty much guarantee it will work. The upgrading will be done via an Upgrade Card that you can purchase which has a PIN number on it. Enter the PIN in some software on your PC and suddenly your processor will have new features. The first Upgrade Cards are going to be targeted at the Pentium G6951 and will cost $50. So yes, you are essentially paying half the cost of the processor to unlock new features on it. Once you have the Upgrade Card and unlock the features, the Pentium G suddenly becomes a Core i3 processor with a lower clock speed.

This service will be run as a trial in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain. It could prove useful for businesses who can just get the Upgrade Cards as a cheaper means of buying new components, but then this raises the question of whether or not Intel should have disabled so much on the processors and then charge a fee to unlock them. In any case, at least it is a first step in unlocking Intel processors. How do you feel about it? Sound off here or in the forums.

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RHKCommander959 on September 19, 2010 01:54PM
If it is software I wonder if the card is reusable in the event that the CPU is pulled or what their plan is for that.
joel.monteiro on September 19, 2010 02:16PM
Sounds like a money making plan for intel,pin thing is just bull crap some hackers will be able to hack and get better performance.
BizaroStormy on September 19, 2010 02:18PM
This is really sleazy IMO. The whole point of binning chips is to sell imperfect chips that would otherwise be thrown away because they don't meet specs. This saves the manufacturer $$ and allows people to buy lower priced chips. Here they are selling chips with nothing wrong with them and purposely crippling them to attempt to get extra $$ out of people. So basically they are trying to get extra $$ for something that is actually there to begin with and should not have been shut off in the first place. This just show how lack of competition affects large companies, AMD needs to step up their game with their new chips. If AMD had stronger chips then Intel would not be able to afford to cripple their chips as it would make their product look week. I really hope for all our sakes that AMD never goes under.
BillyBuerger on September 19, 2010 02:31PM
My first impression was that this sounds kind of crap on Intel to charge money for this... But then I thought this is actually an interesting idea. If the manufacturer (Intel) can produce enough high-end chips to satisfy the market for them, they could disable parts and sell it as a cheaper chip. So instead of buying a $200 CPU, you could buy a trimmed down version for $100. Maybe you can only afford the $100 version at the time. You find later that you need the extra resourses. Instead of having to buy another new $200 CPU and speed $300 in the process, you could maybe spend $150 to "upgrade" your chip to it's full potential and spend only $250. It sounds like intel is maybe looking to just pull a little extra money out of people but it could actually be a good strategy for both Intel and the consumer in some regards.
Locutus on September 19, 2010 03:48PM
5 bucks says that someone out there will figure out exactly what this does, and find a way to do it for free.
CowKing on September 19, 2010 06:07PM
It's just microcode that disables these features otherwise it would be absolutely useless if it only worked in W7. Hackers will find a way around the activation code and we can get our money's worth
slick2500 on September 19, 2010 11:24PM
I agree with some hackers cracking the software.
Guest comment
Rhyzard on September 22, 2010 11:11AM
...And then when hackers find a way around it, Intel will blame poor chip sales on them, calling them 'pirates.' Taking cues from software makers, Intel then starts implementing various DRM schemes on their chips, turning to rootkits, serials, and online activation for them to work properly.
mattyamdfanboi on September 22, 2010 10:35PM
this makes me hate intel even more than i already do.. bunch of wankers

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