New Sandy Bridge CPUs upgradeable via software

Intel has released new details on a series of Sandy Bridge CPUs that will be upgradeable via software. Three models are eligible. On the desktop, the Core i3-2102 and Pentium G622 can be transformed into the i3-2153 and G693, respectively. Notebook users with a Core i3-2312M will be able to turn it into an i3-2393M. 

Intel indicates that upgrading the two desktop CPUs will give users a clock speed boost, while the notebook chip gets a higher clock speed and additional cache. There are no specifics on the magnitude of those changes, though. Instead of revealing the specifications of the upgraded CPUs, Intel has instead released a series of benchmark results illustrating performance gains across multiple benchmarks and applications. The numbers show performance improving by 10-23%, so we’re talking about more than just a few MHz.

The cost of each upgrade hasn’t been released, but the FAQ includes a few notable details. Windows 7 is the only operating system that’s supported, and only "select" systems will be allowed to participate. It looks like the upgrades will be tied to a system’s motherboard, too. The FAQ mentions that upgrades will have to be reactivated if there’s a mobo swap.

Although some folks seem to take offense at the notion that Intel could be selling "crippled" CPUs operating at less than their full potential, the fact is that the practice has been going on for ages. All the quad-core CPUs in the Sandy Bridge lineup use the same silicon, for example. Intel sets clock speeds, unlocks multipliers, and enables features like Hyper-Threading at the factory. Allowing similar upgrades to be performed via software only provides additional flexibility to end users. I’m curious to see how many take advantage.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    If AMD lets Intel do this alone, it could win them applause from customers who see this move by Intel as just another attempt at making a fool out of customers.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, but it doesn’t win them profits (which is what they need more)

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    And even Intel starts going after micro-transactions. Wonder how long it’ll be till we can start unlocking individual parts of our processors that will then be locked by default, not just core speed. Bunch of BS.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    And yet converting a x2 or x3 AMD into a x4 was free and done at a BIOS level. I guess it’s business as usual.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah. Like I unlocked my X3 720’s 4th core, effectively turning it into an X4 925.

      Core 2 Quad Q9300-level performance for a price that’s less than a Core 2 Duo E8400.

      I’m in love.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    This move is just a marketing experiment.

    I doubt it will get far.

    Most people simply don’t care about upgrading the CPUs on their systems. They simply get a newer system when the old system is too slow for their needs.

    It will most likely get cracked by hardware geeks, until Intel figures out a way to hard-wire the firmware on their chips.

    • j1o2h3n4
    • 8 years ago

    That’s what monopoly does, they can just say, “If you don’t like, don’t buy”, coz they know we don’t hv a choice, never did, never will. If AMD still can’t rise up, I don’t believe we will see huge improvement chips with reasonable price.

    • colinstu
    • 8 years ago

    Why is this in the news everywhere? Engadget covered this a YEAR ago [url<]http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/18/intel-wants-to-charge-50-to-unlock-stuff-your-cpu-can-already-d/[/url<]

      • Peldor
      • 8 years ago

      Intel has taken what was a very small marketing test and expanded it. Intel apparently feels the gambit has legs. That’s news.

    • Peldor
    • 8 years ago

    This would really be an interesting strategy if it could be pushed farther. Intel could trim their consumer SKUs down to a handful of parts, say a dual, a quad, and a hex-core line. The entry prices would be $50, $100, and $150 respectively at very modest clock speeds and limited feature-sets. If you want something faster/more capable, you just hop over to intel.com and buy your upgrade(s).

    I can’t help but think the Windows Experience Index will soon detect when you could boost your system by buying these upgrades.

    • DavidC1
    • 8 years ago

    It’s called business. They don’t exist for giving away free stuff like charity(even charities need “income” like donations to keep afloat). If you looked at total revenue vs. net income for AMD, Intel, Nvidia, the latter is a fraction of the former. 10-20% lower total revenue would result in zero net income or worse, negative. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

    About locking multipliers: They started locking multipliers because people took the unlocked chips, clock them higher and SOLD them at the higher price.

    No, I don’t think this should be a widespread practice because there will be a backlash wish half-ignorant consumers. However its nowhere bad as people make it out to be.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]10-20% lower total revenue would result in zero net income or worse, negative.[/quote<] Not really, at least not for Intel. But overall I agree with you.

    • kroker
    • 8 years ago

    This is like selling me a house with a locked room, and telling me that I have to pay another 10-20% of the total price of the house to sell me the key. I already payed a price the covers the building costs for the whole house including the room + some profit to them, so I would only be paying for the key to give them even more profit. I could stretch this analogy further but it’s pointless…

      • Firestarter
      • 8 years ago

      Did the price you pay also cover the research and engineering cost and the up-front cost of building factories that are a factor million more expensive than the house?

      Some of the smartest people in the world work on making our CPUs faster, cheaper and more economical. Many of those people deserve a lot more than they get paid.

        • kroker
        • 8 years ago

        Those factories make millions and millions of processors, not one. The price of one processor already factors in those costs + profit. They’re not selling that processor at a loss if I’m not buying the software to upgrade it.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        your argument is totally broken. intel makes HUGE profits every quarter. i don’t think you know what you’re talking about

          • bitcat70
          • 8 years ago

          Yep, it’s a non-argument. I’m sure they won’t be selling those chips at a loss. If someone will want to “upgrade” the chip that will mean even more profit. The only thing to see is what the pricing structure will be. Will it cost more to buy the low-end chip and upgrade it to certain spec than to get one with that certain spec from the get-go? I bet it will.

        • bitcat70
        • 8 years ago

        And what makes you think this will pay the engineers? I hope you didn’t mean the CEOs and such.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Many of those people deserve a lot more than they get paid.[/quote<] I don't know... I think people who clean toilets, haul garbage, wash your dishes in a restaurant etc... [i<]those[/i<] people deserve more than they're getting. Hardware engineers already make too much in the grand scheme of things.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]I could stretch this analogy further but it's pointless...[/quote<] Exactly, because your analogy is pointless in itself. Intel has the freedom to charge whatever they want for whatever they offer. You have the freedom to buy or not buy. That's it. Whining about this just shows that you don't understand business.

    • SoulSlave
    • 8 years ago

    Pay-per-hertz…

    Next year it will be illegal to operate your cpu above the specs…

    The year after that you`ll no longer buy a CPU, you`ll buy a license for it`s use, and you`ll only be able to activate said cpu three times…

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      If you don’t like it, buy from the other guy.

        • SoulSlave
        • 8 years ago

        As a matter of fact…

        most of the times I DO…

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Good for you. I prefer buying the best CPUs instead.

      • xeridea
      • 8 years ago

      Reminds me of Pay-Per-View, which is insanely overpriced, just like everything cable companies do.

    • DPete27
    • 8 years ago

    If I can try and generalize here…Those that are upset are upset at the fact that Intel has found a way to capitalize on overclocking. They have taken what has traditionally been a free endeavor for “gifted enthusiasts” and effectively locked everyone out (for the time being). Now they can make money off of a previously free benefit/ability. The truth stings, but you have to applaud Intel for their ingenuity. Now its time to rise to the occasion. Software can be hacked, workarounds can be found, and I predict it wont take long for the enthusiast crowd to do so.

      • Game_boy
      • 8 years ago

      Overclocking takes advantage of the difference in risk tolerance between you and Intel. Intel has to guarantee that (say) 99.99% of CPUs will run for 10 years 24/7 at 3GHz, but the customer who overclocks is willing to take a mere (say) 99% chance it will run for 5 years at 12 hours a day use at their 3.5GHz OC. Very different.

      In these cases Intel is guaranteeing the CPU will work to their tolerances at the higher speed, but is selling to you at the lower speed purely for marketing reasons, nothing to do with physical yield curves. That’s the objectionable – but not illegal – part.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        You’re totally pulling those numbers out of your rear end. :p

          • Game_boy
          • 8 years ago

          They are close, but yes.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]...is selling to you at the lower speed purely for marketing reasons, nothing to do with physical yield curves. That's the objectionable - but not illegal - part.[/quote<] Objectionable for nerds that are used to getting stuff without paying for it... If you want a faster CPU, buy a faster CPU. Just be happy that Intel is offering slower, cheaper CPUs. Blocking overclocking protects the cheap-CPU market without affecting Intel's margins in the high end. I could pull out the old "overclockers are criminals, stealing from Intel" troll, but I'm actually having a pretty good day, so I don't feel like it

          • bitcat70
          • 8 years ago

          Hmm, I see…. So I shouldn’t be able to do anything I want with something that I own? What’s next? Is it gonna be a crime? Who’s gonna enforce it? 1984?

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            So, when you buy a Windows installation disk, should you be allowed to install it in 100 computers? You own the disk, right? You feel entirely entitled to downloading a crack so you can get past those pesky product key checks, don’t you…?

            • bitcat70
            • 8 years ago

            you troll, you… try installing that chip in 100 computers. If you can I’ll buy you a beer.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Make it an Imperial IPA, and we have a deal

            • bitcat70
            • 8 years ago

            Show me the pictures first

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            I gotta buy photoshop… that I’ll also install on those 100 computers.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            <cite>you be allowed to install it in 100 computers</cite>

            Sure why not? As long as it’s only on one computer at a time.

            • flip-mode
            • 8 years ago

            I support you doing anything you want with what you own, but Intel can do anything they want with what they own too – and they own the CPU before it gets sold. If you don’t like it, buy the unlocked 2500K or 2600K. But still, there’s nothing stopping you from buying one of these crippled ones and attempting to physically mod it or find some way to soft-mod it.

            And you’re going to have to whip out criticism of nearly every corporation that has product differentiation now. Microsoft, Autodesk, Honda, Ford. Too bad I can’t unlock and overclock my health insurance.

          • SoulSlave
          • 8 years ago

          This is just silly…

          If I buy a car, tweak tighten the relation between torque and rpm, it will perform better, all it takes is some advanced knowledge in car mechanics. GM does not prevent me from tweaking with my car. They just make it crystal clear that said modifications may potentially damage it, and as such it will void the warranty.

          If I want to modify it in any way I see fit, it`s my right to do so.

          As for the whole “software” parallel you’re trying to pull-of…

          Well, it doesn’t apply.

          When you buy Windows, you’re not buying THE windows, or the cd. You’re buying a license to use that software.

          Also, I would like to point out that (in my opinion) I should be able to Install My copy of windows in as much computers as I want, as long as all of them are my personal possessions. But that is a mostly Ideological point of view…

            • xeridea
            • 8 years ago

            Cars are not factory tuned to have 100% of engine capability because if they was the MPG would be crappy, and depending on the settings could cause accelerated wear on certain engine parts. This doesn’t make sense for CPUs though. Car manufactures don’t disable 1 cylinder then offer to reenable it for $500.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]If I want to modify it in any way I see fit, it`s my right to do so.[/quote<] It's not your right; it's your privilege, within the terms and conditions of your deal with GM. Let's say GM offers you a $2000 discount on a car if you sign a contract saying that you will not 'tweak' the car later... would you take the deal? Would you still feel like it's your right to tweak the car anyways? Would you think it would be fair for GM to sue you for breach of contract and require a $10,000 fee (determined to be a fair value of the extra performance you got by their lawyers)? [quote<]When you buy Windows, you're not buying THE windows, or the cd. You're buying a license to use that software.[/quote<] When you're buying a CPU, you're actually just buying some sand in a cool package, but you also get a license to use the CPU in ways the manufacturer sees fit. [quote<]Also, I would like to point out that (in my opinion) I should be able to Install My copy of windows in as much computers as I want, as long as all of them are my personal possessions. But that is a mostly Ideological point of view...[/quote<] Would you be willing to pay $1000 for a license with unlimited installations on your personal possessions?

        • DPete27
        • 8 years ago

        I would imagine its extremely uneconomical for amd and intel to manufacture separate chips for each processor model, hence throttling, locking, disabling, etc. Would it be better if everyone was forced to buy a 2600K or 1100T? (just an example) AMD and Intel do this to save the customer money and create variety. If someone is against this, they should do some research and just buy the best processor of a given reference chip. (hence guaranteeing that your processor is running at its maximum ability)

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Actually, even before this thing Intel and AMD were already capitalizing on overclocking with their K-Series and Black Edition chips, charging you for something (unlocked multiplier) that’s always been enabled with CPUs from the very start anyway, something which they took away at some point and brought back for a price.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      This isn’t overclocking, it’s crippling a product then letting someone unlock the crippled product for a fee.

    • WillBach
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder what the cost of buying an OEM system and then upgrading vs paying the OEM for the faster processor is? I know all the major players charge “cost of the RAM you want, plus the cost of the RAM that’s default, times two” or something ridiculous. I wonder if Intel offering a way around OEMs for faster processors will alienate the OEMs?

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      Since it doesn’t enable turbo boost, it’s guaranteed to be a waste of money compared to just buying a laptop with an i5 instead of i3, which is generally a $50 difference.

    • Thresher
    • 8 years ago

    Seems more like a kidnapping. Give us the $50 and we let you use the full capacity of the chip. No one needs to get hurt.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      If you don’t want to feel so violated, buy a higher-end CPU.

        • Thresher
        • 8 years ago

        Would you buy a car that would only go its full top speed if you paid an extra $250? It’s the same engine, they’re just letting you use its full capacity for additional money.

        Seems kind of crappy to me.

          • axeman
          • 8 years ago

          The top speed on just about every vehicle except supercars at one end and crapboxes at the other is electronically limited, so once again the car metaphor fails. If you were referring to electronically limiting how much power the engine makes, then, oops, they do that too. 😛 This does leave a bad taste in my mouth, though. We’ve known forever Intel doesn’t do much in the way of speed binning, they just lock most of them down to justify the higher prices of the high-end parts. But this, this is just waving it your face.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            There are many sedans and sports cars you can guy that will go as fast as the engine and transmission lets them. It’s no where close to almost every vehicle. At least in the US.

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    This actually bugs me significantly *less* than the way they arbitrarily withhold features to segment their product line. Want ECC RAM support? Gotta buy a server CPU and a motherboard with a server chipset. Or the way they used to randomly disable virtualization and/or 64-bit support across their desktop product line.

    Having what amounts to an overclocking switch that you need to pay money for may be annoying to some, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not particularly bad, and not even close to being evil.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    Hopefully this won’t be ridiculously expensive like the windows anytime upgrade. I was looking to get home premium from my starter edition, but they wanted something like $100. I might as well buy a retail copy that I can use properly for that price.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Speed binning has always been around, but it was Intel in the first place who started locking multipliers and making overclocking more difficult than it needs to be so we have to shell out more if we wanted more performance. They can argue that locking chips prevents anyone from remarking chips but that argument is weak considering today’s processors have laser-etched markings that are pretty difficult to remark without spending a ton on equipment or labor and losing what you’re earning from the extra speed bump.

    And it looks like they’re not contented with that, someone really business-smart from inside decided to allow us to overclock (yes, it’s effectively overclocking) the chips for a fee. This is practically true for K-Series Intel and Black Edition AMD chips because you add a few bucks for the unlocked multiplier (and I admit that’s sly of them too), but with those chips the manufacturers don’t deliberately control how high you clock your chip. With this new ‘feature’ Intel is starting, not only do they want you to pay for overclocking, but pay according to how much you wanna overclock your chip. Yeah. What a sly bunch of ba$$$tards. It’s getting worse every CPU generation.

    Someone is rubbing his greedy little hands inside Intel, that’s for sure. AMD, please AMD, do not follow suit.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]so we have to shell out more if we wanted more performance.[/quote<] OMG!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!! [/sarcasm]

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        Obviously, I’m talking about them removing the possibility of overclocking to force you to give them more money if you wanted more performance.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Yes – and they have every right to do that. It seems silly to think that you would have a right to get more performance for nothing.

            • ronch
            • 8 years ago

            Don’t be such a killjoy. We’ve had unlocked CPUs for decades. And if you wanna be one of those clueless (or silly) people who think this is a good/ok thing then you can happily hand your cash over to Intel. We, however, are not happy with this, no matter what ‘right’ Intel has to charge for something that used to be ‘free’ for so long just because they can’t get enough of the green stuff.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Things change. Have you noticed that the new locked CPUs are cheaper and faster than your unlocked+overclocked CPU?

            It’s a good thing for Intel, a bad thing for consumers, but an expected and understandable thing overall.

            • ronch
            • 8 years ago

            I probably paid more for my Pentium 4 2.8C than I would do now for an i5-2500K. But that’s the way it is. Computing power gets cheaper and cheaper. But Intel’s revenues also get higher and higher. It’s just the way things are. Companies had better grow or they get left behind by inflation, and Intel and AMD had better produce processors that keep getting faster or they get left behind by the other vendor. You can’t compare a P4 and an i5 and say we’re having a real hayday because that’s just the way it is, not just with processors, but with cars, TVs… everything. And I accept that. I’m happy I could get an i5-2500K for about the same cash as my P4.

            But that’s where it ends. These new ‘upgrade cards’ or whatchamacallits sound dubious. And I know as heck that people will find this the same way I do. People will fork over $100 for something they can actually touch and feel and be sure that there’s something heavy inside the box. But charging them $100 so they can get a piece of cardboard which has some serial number on it that allows them to make something they [u<]already[/u<] own do something which, it turns out, it could already do in the first place (and has been the normal practice for decades until Intel started locking their chips so they can do this) without additional cost is something of an underhanded tactic for most folks.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]But charging them $100 so they can get a piece of cardboard which has some serial number on it that allows them to make something they [u<]already[/u<] own do something which, it turns out, it could already do in the first place.... without additional cost is something of an underhanded tactic for most folks.[/quote<] Then those folks should take a red pill and step into the real world. Things change. You still fail to see the relationship between locking multipliers/base clocks, upgrades and the ever-decreasing prices of the lowest-end chips. If every feature would be available in every CPU, they would all be priced higher. This allows Intel (and AMD in the future when they get their CPU act together with BD) to offer low-end chips cheap without cannibalizing high-end sales and prices. Finally, "owning" something is a relative term. Already you don't own the software you're buying. Some folks here were jokingly/sarcastically saying that soon we'll be buying hardware licenses. I don't see that being so far fetched... if it brings lower priced options without eating into profit margins too much, it's a definite possibility.

            • ronch
            • 8 years ago

            You’re beginning to sound like a prophet for the ‘things change’ campaign. Frankly, it’s getting corny and you’re starting to look red around the gills.

            I understand your point regarding trade-offs companies make in order to price their chips differently. Merely pricing slow/under-featured models low while pricing fast/full-featured models high is enough to protect each market segment. That kind of segmentation has always been around, with all sorts of things. You get what you pay for, after all. However, the practice of ‘getting something for free’ with processors in the form of overclocking has always been around and has been what’s socially accepted by those in the know. It’s kinda like buying a lock with the key included for ‘free’ instead of the company explicitly charging you extra for the key (yeah, Yale has the right to do that, but I bet even you would get wide-eyed over it). It’s enough that Intel and AMD started locking their chips to protect the high end segment from vendors who remark chips and overclockers, but this new ‘upgrading’ scheme won’t fool too many consumers. Sure, Intel may stick to it, but it will open the door of opportunity to others, particularly AMD. Remember when AMD started flogging Black Eds? Suddenly, old is new again.

            You also fail to understand that it doesn’t matter what a company thinks is right or wrong for it to do. The customer is always right, and that’s a rule that will never change. I guess that’s why this looks like an experiment Intel is conducting to see if customers will bite or not. They themselves know this is BS. Nobody needs to be reminded that things change. All sorts of things happen in the industry; some are ok, some not so ok, and some are downright BS. This is one of those BS changes. And if the majority of customers think so, Intel knows it had better change course rather than open the door for AMD.

    • Hattig
    • 8 years ago

    I guess overall it is better that there is an option to ‘upgrade’ the CPU if you find you need to do it. But I’m rather unimpressed overall with having such things, and I don’t expect the upgrade cost to be far short of buying a whole new CPU either – e.g., $80 CPU + $80 upgrade = $100 CPU.

    If it unlocked things that are disabled on the CPUs, e.g., I/O virtualisation, then that could be useful.

    • maxxcool
    • 8 years ago

    Not news. This was confirmed almost a year ago if i remember right….

      • torquer
      • 8 years ago

      It was just in a trial phase before, now its gone retail.

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    Since it’s impractical to physically upgrade CPUs in laptops, I guess this was the obvious step.

    Marketing this feature on the original sale seems a little tricky (“pay us more for a CPU now so that you can pay us more later to make it faster”) but I can certainly see everybody from the small computer repair shops to the Geek Squad licking their lips at the thought of charging an additional premium to “make your computer faster.” The real problem is that for the most part consumer machines are not CPU-bound to begin with… and when they are, it’s because of all the crapware installed on them.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      “Since it’s impractical to physically upgrade CPUs in laptops”

      It’s reasonably straightforward at least in most Dell laptops as they put the service manual online so you get a step by step guide. I’ve swapped CPUs in a number of Dells but the time involved varies a lot depending on the design. With some it’s simply a matter of removing the bottom cover and the heatsink and away you go. With others you have to strip them down a lot which is much more time consuming.

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        I knew I was going to get in trouble with using that word (though I thought it was better than some of the others I considered). From the standpoint of most consumers (and even most repair techs, who don’t want to be on the hook for something like that) it’s not really a viable option… especially when you consider the larger universe of non-Dell machines (want to try that on a Vaio?)

          • smilingcrow
          • 8 years ago

          Do other manufacturers publish their service manuals online?
          It’s one of the things I like about Dell as well as the fact that you can transfer the warranty to a third party online also.

            • UberGerbil
            • 8 years ago

            HP was doing it before Dell. Lenovo too, if you count back to when they were IBM.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. They did it back with the Core2Duos I believe too. Turning PDCs into C2D’s.

    • trackerben
    • 8 years ago

    “…The FAQ mentions that upgrades will have to be reactivated if there’s a mobo swap…”

    Great. What is upgraded can be downgraded, apparently upon triggering some condition of Intel’s choosing.

    Intel Genuine Upgrade Advantage

    • jrr
    • 8 years ago

    ‘The FAQ mentions that upgrades will have to be reactivated if there’s a mobo swap.’

    Doing it wrong! This really needs to be some kind of permanent toggle inside the chip.

      • stdRaichu
      • 8 years ago

      Doing so would mean there’d need to be writable memory on the chip; chances are this is done by uploading a special microcode that flips a few bits in the BIOS, as they say that a specific BIOS is needed.

    • grantmeaname
    • 8 years ago

    Once you unlock it, is it unlocked for good? Or only in that one windows installation?

    • cybot_x1024
    • 8 years ago

    I wont be shocked to see something in the line of “Skidrow to start making cracks for intel CPUs too?”

    • juampa_valve_rde
    • 8 years ago

    Hope to see soon “Convert your G850 into a fully fledged 2600K” that would be hilarious.

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    inb4 ****storm

    • ew
    • 8 years ago

    This is an anti-feature if ever there was one.

    • Game_boy
    • 8 years ago

    It is fair to disable cache and cores, and lower clock, for yield purposes.

    The part that should make consumers angry is the disabling of features like HT, 64-bit, VT, Vpro and Turbo. The features are fully working on every CPU Intel is selling, there’s no excuse. Often it isn’t even for segmentation as more expensive products have fewer features and it’s not easy to check which without investing hours. All it does is reduce the adoption of forward-looking technologies like 64-bit and VT by making them non-universal even in modern CPUs.

    I’m not saying it is illegal but their current pattern of feature enabling doesn’t even make sense.

      • grantmeaname
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html[/url<] Seconds, not hours.

        • Game_boy
        • 8 years ago

        Yes, and as an enthusiast you know what the features mean, that they are different on different models and to use that database to find out how. Now imagine you’re part of the 95% that just go to dell.com and pick one of the listed options based on clock speed.

        I mean hours to research the needlessly complicated matrix of features and what each part of a CPU is supposed to do, when really people should just be able to know that more expensive = better which was true in the past.

      • shank15217
      • 8 years ago

      Yea I have to agree here, even things like VT-D which is supposed to be a server feature can be useful on desktops too.

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        VT-D may become a fully mainstream feature if Microsoft carries through with some of their sandboxing and cross-ISA (ARM/x86) ideas. It would be a shame if spotty implementation among the installed base forced them to curtail that.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      “It is fair to disable cache and cores, and lower clock, for yield purposes.”

      What do you do once your yields become so good that you can’t make “low end” chips anymore? If demand stays high for low end chips, then their price will go up. At some point low end chips would become more expensive than high end chips. That makes no sense.

      Look at ATI/AMD. The 6950/70 GPUs had such good yields, because of the extremely mature 40nm process, that nearly all 6950 GPUs could clock to a 6970. So what did the user base do? Most of us purchased 6950s and “hacked” the bios to re-enable the extra shaders and increase the clock speed. Something like 90% of reported 6950s successfully unlocked their disabled shaders.

      In this case, ATI/AMD used software/firmware to artificially neuter the chips. They needed a mid grade card that was slower than their top end card, but their yields were so good, they didn’t have almost any defective chips.

      How did AMD respond to all these users unlocking the extra shaders? They now laser cut all of their 6950 GPUs to physically break the shaders.. on purpose. This costs them money to ruin the card, but they need a mid-grade card.

      This practice is quite standard. Just look at the triple core AMD cpus. Most of them were fully working quads with one core disabled.

      What Intel is doing is just making it easier and cheap to eventually upgrade your chip. Instead of permanently disabling parts of the chip, they allow parts to become re-enabled.

      No, I don’t agree with what they’re doing, but it is actually *better* than when is currently going on.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]How did AMD respond to all these users unlocking the extra shaders? They now laser cut all of their 6950 GPUs to physically break the shaders.. on purpose. This costs them money to ruin the card, but they need a mid-grade card.[/quote<] This. Extra cost, everybody loses. People need to stop whining about this stuff. [b]You are not [u<]entitled[/u<] to overclocking your cards. You bought a slower card, and it was cheaper. Now you have a slower card. Deal with it.[/quote] Intel, AMD and every other company is perfectly entitled to do this if they so choose. As long as you know what you're buying, there is [i<]nothing[/i<] wrong with this.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      It makes sense. It’s called GREED.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    I didn’t need to read past the first line till “how long till this is hacked” came across my mind.

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      The first group to do it gets their ‘donate now’ button clicked on.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Good job supporting criminals. Whoever hacks this (and somebody will) should be thrown in jail, along with anyone who’s funding this cyberterrorism.

          • bitcat70
          • 8 years ago

          LOL

          • BloodSoul
          • 8 years ago

          Obvious troll is obvious….

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            If your immediate reaction is that my post was trolling, maybe you should consider looking in the mirror and wonder if you see a law-abiding citizen or not.

            • bitcat70
            • 8 years ago

            ROFLCOPTER

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          ROFL, why should Intel give a crap?

          It is just an experiment. I doubt it will get far.

          The only reason Intel/AMD even bother to crack down on locked multipliers is because of third-party system builders who knowingly sell overclocked systems to customers as higher-speced systems.

          • A_Pickle
          • 8 years ago

          Except not. I could really care less about the legal ramifications of such an action, as the law frequently [i<]doesn't[/i<] coincide with common sense or morality (See: Nazi Germany). The fact is, what Intel is doing is super dickish and [i<]deliberately avails their product to hackers[/i<]. It certainly isn't cyberterrorism (suggesting that it is is outright FUD), it's consumer vigilante justice.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            I guess you believe in violating patents and copyrights, too? It’s all just vigilante justice, meant to sidestep “questionable” rules that make your life more complicated than you think you deserve it to be.

            Saying violating someone’s rights is OK because they are being” dickish” is just idiotic. In fact, you saying that is dickish enough in my opinion that you shouldn’t have access to the internet from now on.

            And not caring for legal ramifications…? You deserve to be sued by MPAA/RIAA. You need to learn your place in the world.

            • willmore
            • 8 years ago

            EPIC troll.

          • willmore
          • 8 years ago

          I buy a chip, I own the chip. I wish to make modifications to the chip for my own benefit, I may.

          Unlike some people seem to think, nor submitting to someone business plan isn’t illegal. I just means that the business plan is flawed. Short version “Stupid idea is stupid.”

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Yup, exact same thing that I thought of. How long till this is pirated?

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 8 years ago

    How long until this moves to the high end and they lock down overclocking features. It seems to me that paying for a clock speed boost is simply paying to overclock the chip, so naturally they won’t want you to be able to do that for free for very long.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      That’s silly.

      This stuff only makes sense on the low end. Intel gets good yields, but still has to sell a low end product (where the [i<]real[/i<] revenue is made). So instead of charging more money initially, they get the product in the customer's hands and offer a separate transaction to speed up the machine months later. In tech blogs like this one, we often discount the girth of the low end computer market. $1000+ consumer CPU sales are a rounding error. Those $500 Walmart computers are much more important than we think.

        • riviera74
        • 8 years ago

        From a business standpoint, that is an unfortunate truth. Not many people buy high-end processors on their desktops or notebooks because they are price-sensitive, not performance-oriented.

        • shank15217
        • 8 years ago

        It makes sense on every end, haven’t you ever heard of tiered software licensing?

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      Welcome to 8 months ago.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    if it’s software, start counting till it’s pirated…

      • sirsoffrito
      • 8 years ago

      How long until Intel starts remotely using the kill switch on Sandy Bridge processors that used pirated software to unlock features?

        • Synchromesh
        • 8 years ago

        How long until a patch is released that will make pirated software look like genuine to any specific Intel checks? It’s been done before.

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