Intel Upgrade Service to Allow Unlocking of Disabled Processors

bp9801 - September 19, 2010 12:36PM in CPU's

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.