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  #1  
Old 09-22-2010, 03:00 PM
Hooch Tan
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Default Yes, That Software Really Can Upgrade Your CPU

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/18/intel-wants-to-charge-50-to-unlock-stuff-your-cpu-can-already-d/' target='_blank'>http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/18/...-can-already-d/</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"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."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1285114224.usr20447.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>I am of two minds about this whole concept.&nbsp; On the surface, I can see why a lot of people are upset over this, many promising that AMD will now be their CPU of choice.&nbsp; On the other hand, it does make business sense, and for the typical consumer, especially one on a budget.&nbsp; I guess I have to side with Intel on this one.&nbsp; I cannot see how it would affect the hardcore geek, who would either avoid this CPU altogether, or buy one and "upgrade" it through various means.&nbsp; For your everyman, it means that they can get something on budget, and later, when they have more money they can simply "upgrade" their CPU without having to pay an expert to open up your computer and swap CPUs or the more likely option, just buy a new computer when the old one is too slow, spending way more money than is needed.&nbsp; I just wish that the upgrade they performed was more substantial than what it does with a bit more cache and hyper-threading.&nbsp; I personally do not see myself ever buying a CPU based on this concept, but know some who could benefit.&nbsp; Anyone else?</p>
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:46 PM
Stinger
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Expect to see a similar scheme in cars soon too.
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:15 PM
gdoerr56
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If this allows Intel to offer a less capable CPU at a lower price point and be able to unlock the additional cores/threads later if you decide you need them, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

I can totaly see Intel's strategy here. Build the EXACT same CPU, disable certain features in software and sell it at a lower price point. It allows them to achive certain economies of scale in manufacturing, packaging and distribution which all make sense.

The only way this would stink at all is if you bought a four core, hyperthreaded, 3 GHz CPU and then found out that you had to pay money to unlock any of the features that you bought. If, on the other hand, this chip had the ability to become an 8 core CPU by simply downloading a file, I'd be happy.

I don't see that Intel is doing anything slight of hand at all here. Just your typical blogoshpere reading something half-way and then over-reacting.
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:25 PM
Hooch Tan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdoerr56 View Post
The only way this would stink at all is if you bought a four core, hyperthreaded, 3 GHz CPU and then found out that you had to pay money to unlock any of the features that you bought. If, on the other hand, this chip had the ability to become an 8 core CPU by simply downloading a file, I'd be happy
Well, that would be a very important point, where they would have to be clear about what you're getting, and what you could upgrade to, and for how much.

Advertise it as a dual core system with 1MB cache, with a *cough* Anytime Upgrade to a quad core system with a 2MB cache for $50. It would make upgrades a lot easier for consumers as well. But they really would have to be upfront about everything and offer something that gives an appreciable upgrade. Just adding something like HyperThreading, as far as I'm concerned, doesn't do much.
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:38 PM
gdoerr56
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Quite frankly I see the larger issue being with the advertising by the computer vendor or store being clear and honest. Since this is clearly not aimed at the enthusiast market, the opportunities for mis-representation are significant.

Regardless how you feel personally about the offer I don't think you can make any case that what Intel is doing is either wrong or dishonest, which is my point.

We also have to remember that the only difference between a 2.6 GHz CPU and a 3.6 GHz CPU of the same family is batch testing, there are no physical differences between the silicon at all yet the lower speed version is being sold for less simply because that's all the vendor guarantees it will run at.

I wouldn't be surprised to see clock speed unlocks in the future as the device yields improve. Just makes sense as the next logical step.
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:03 PM
Hooch Tan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdoerr56 View Post
We also have to remember that the only difference between a 2.6 GHz CPU and a 3.6 GHz CPU of the same family is batch testing, there are no physical differences between the silicon at all yet the lower speed version is being sold for less simply because that's all the vendor guarantees it will run at.

I wouldn't be surprised to see clock speed unlocks in the future as the device yields improve. Just makes sense as the next logical step.
We have already seen hints of this in the past. There's the process of binning, and even without outlandish configurations, there have been some Intel CPUs that have been madly overclockable in the past.

Look at the video card market. Manufacturers even sell intentionally overclocked video cards for better performance. I also remember ATI used to include software that would test your GPU to see if it could be oc'd and by how much. Some people might appreciate such a feature at a guaranteed boost. But like you said, it would have to be clearly spelled out at the retail level.
 
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