View Full Version : Intel wants to charge $50 to unlock stuff your CPU can already do

09-19-10, 11:54 AM
Hold onto your hyperthreaded horses, because this is liable to whip up an angry mob -- Intel's asking customers to pay extra if they want the full power of their store-bought silicon. An eagle-eyed Engadget reader was surfing the Best Buy shelves when he noticed this $50 card -- and sure enough, Intel websites confirm -- that lets you download software to unlock extra threads and cache on the new Pentium G6951 processor. Hardware.info got their hands on an early sample of the chip and discovered it's actually a full 1MB of L3 cache that's enabled plus HyperThreading support, which translates to a modest but noticeable upgrade. This isn't exactly an unprecedented move, as chip companies routinely sell hardware-locked chips all the time in a process known as binning, but there they have a simpler excuse -- binned chips are typically sold with cores or cache locked because that part of their silicon turned out defective after printing. This new idea is more akin to video games that let you "download" extra weapons and features, when those features were on the disc all along. Still, it's an intriguing business model, and before you unleash your rage in comments, you should know that Intel's just testing it out on this low-end processor in a few select markets for now.


09-19-10, 01:13 PM
Great let me pay more for something I already have.

09-19-10, 02:23 PM
This isn't unprecedented. Apple did the same thing to iPod touch users with the 3.0 update back when it was released. iPod touch users had to fork over $10 for the 3.0 firmware that unlocked bluetooth functionality on their devices. iPod touch users had to pay $10 to unlock hardware they already owned........

09-20-10, 12:07 PM
The definition they use for binning is rather misleading.

Let's take an easy example: AMD and the Phenom2. The reason lots of people love those chips is that a lot of those can have a core or more cache unlocked by BIOS. They are basically doing the same thing as Intel, but for free.

Binning is done for 2 major reason:
- silicon unit failure to reach a certain level (could be higher power consumption or real functional error)
- answering the market's demands. Some products are created early in a product cycle by selecting defective chips (think X3 Phenom2), but as production matures, quality and yields improve, limiting the number of defects. If you want to keep the product alive (for market placement reasons), you need to down-bin good chips (sell them as defective when they are fully functional, hence the free unlock).

Intel is just going one step further and allowing an in-system upgrade for a nominal fee, the same way MS does it now for windows7 (which ALSO has all features on 1 disk, but is limited by your license).

I think it will more lead to hacking for most of the enthusiast crowd, than additional revenues.

09-20-10, 12:12 PM
It's like DLC for your processor. :|

09-20-10, 01:20 PM
Couldn't this just be done with a BIOS update?

09-20-10, 04:53 PM
How high end can this go?

Are they going to sell hobbled extreme edition cpu's for $80 and hope the user decides to upgrade?, That would be a lot of wasted silicone.

Maybe they have a surplus :)

09-20-10, 05:22 PM
Hopefully AMD will take advantage of the greed!

09-20-10, 07:06 PM
This wouldn't be a problem if the upgrade price made sense.


So what does the scratch card get you? Well, it unlocks Hyper Threading and 1MB of extra cache and the CPU name is changed to Pentium G6952 while the clock speed remains at 2.8GHz. In reality the CPU is actually turned into a Core i3 processor, although it seems like Intel wasn’t willing to go this far. Considering that a Pentium G6950 retail for about $100 there’s no other way to put this but to call it a scam as the actual value of the upgrade is worth less than $10 as the Core i3 530 – which is a faster CPU at 2.93GHz – is only a mere $15 more in retail whereas $50 would get you a Core i3 550 which is a 3.2GHz processor.

That's pure crap IMO.

09-21-10, 05:25 AM
Intel you can't show tits so GTFO!

I'm really mad about pricing of intels processors. Not to mention the socket scam to charge too much for mobos.

Mr Bigman
09-24-10, 09:45 PM
Its all about what i been saying all along, Greed and INtel doesn't have enough money so they feel we need to give them more for stuff we have.

Typical american business as usuall now you buy burgers and pay for addins to make them better like Intel.

I have a 980x and thats the last chip im buying from these clowns.

09-25-10, 08:25 PM
Intel you can't show tits so GTFO!

I'm really mad about pricing of intels processors. Not to mention the socket scam to charge too much for mobos.

It's simple, don't buy intel.