Intel release CPU upgrade cards

Written by Paul Goodhead

September 20, 2010 | 13:31

Tags: #core #cpu #hardware #pentium

Companies: #intel

Intel today announced a bizarre move to sell $50 'Processor Performance Upgrade Cards' which users will be able to buy to improve the performance of their Intel CPU's. The cards will unlock additional CPU features that are physically present on the CPU die but are disabled in its default state.

CPU World explain that the Intel Pentium G6951, which ships with 3MB of L3 cache and hyperthreading disabled, can have its full 4MB of L3 cache and hyperthreading enabled through use of an upgrade card. Intel however have yet to confirm if any other processors will be included in the scheme and whether upgrade card costs will be the same across the board or scale with the features they unlock.

The magic process is apparently performed through the use of a downloaded software program into which users enter the pin number from their upgrade card. The only caveat is that you'll have to be running a Windows 7 based system however.

Intel claim the upgrade will be useful for consumers that are looking to do a lot of multitasking, photo rendering or HD video editing and we'd be inclined to agree. Extra cores are always welcome in CPU intensive tasks, even if they are theoretical hyperthreaded cores.

We cant help thinking how long it'll take the internet to develop a work around. Unlocking a bunch of extra performance in a budget chip is a pretty big carrot and we know from experience that locking things through key codes isn't exactly the most effective method of security.

Do you think the idea has got legs or are you worried this could simply lead to more confusion for the consumer? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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