Weekend tech reading: Intel selling $50 'upgrade' cards to unlock built-in CPU features

By Matthew ยท 26 replies
Sep 19, 2010
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  1. Intel wants to charge $50 to unlock stuff your CPU can already do 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. Engadget

    Read the whole story
  2. dustin_ds3000

    dustin_ds3000 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 887   +19

    The RIAA website is still down while the MPAA is up and running
  3. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    Looks like 4chan's back end is also down.. maybe retaliatory DDoS? No new posts are showing up and I received an error when trying to post as well.
  4. Cueto_99

    Cueto_99 TS Booster Posts: 248   +12

    Personally I wouldn't like that Intel business model where, after you pay for a CPU, you can add more money to unlock features that are already there... I prefer to overclock at my own risk in order to add more power to my pc...
  5. Alster37

    Alster37 TS Maniac Posts: 290

    Ha to everyone who says intel are better than AMD :)
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    This reminds me of a business practice used in the industry I was in. The customers knew that they were paying finance charges somewhere, but only became outraged if it was listed as a line item. CPU's GPU's have shaders,cache, and other features fused and deactivated all the time. An E8400 is a dumb down down E8600 and a x4 955 is dumb down down X4 965. The only difference is they don't make you buy a card. AMD does the same thing in reverse. Somewhere in their books (the retail price) is an accounting for all those 'FREE' cores being unlocked. This is a colossally bonehead PR move by Intel (if its true) and I bet it goes quietly away in a hurry.
  7. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Aww AMD fanboy tries to justify his love of a company going downhill.
  8. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I wonder what the actual unlocking mechanism is, and how quickly will it be broken by independent parties.

    Are they taking plays out of the Nvidia handbook?

    Don't mess with hardware. Since most hardware becomes obsolete before it breaks, you're better off at building brand loyalty than trying to squeeze every nickel out of your customers. We already get screwed when a new chipset is introduced rendering our prior system un-upgradeable.
  9. Supertec

    Supertec TS Rookie

    This isn't new. The 386SX was a dumbed down 386 processor that was a couple hundred dollars cheaper. If you needed more power back (like to do long-division), you added a math co-processor.

    The average dork would rather save $50 by buying a crippled processor he'll never miss because it's faster that last years and cheaper too.
  10. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Thats a good point...
  11. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 820   +344

    It'll be a bios tweak, more than likely
  12. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    All CPU manufacturers make the same silicon wafer for an entire family of cpu's and then just disable some features to sell them for the value market. It's much to expensive to reconfigure the assembly line/process for each different model of CPU in a series of chips.

    What Intel is doing here is actually great because instead of leaving the turned off features disabled for good they now will allow you to just pay a small extra for the upgrade rather than forcing you to buy a NEW cpu and lose the money for the old one.

    Get a clue and do some research before you just run your mouth about what a evil monster Intel is.
  13. Zilliak

    Zilliak TS Booster Posts: 164

    lolz AMD will always be around its like walmart.
  14. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Thats what I said, but this was not the way to execute it. I read the boards at the link and most had the mentality that they bought a Taurus, and are ENTITLED be upgraded to a Aston Martin. like it or not, its a business and the publics perception (and where they put there dollars) is reality.
  15. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Intel own goal.
    You could say that it's a case of double dipping. I'm sure Intel would have you believe that it is buying a performance upgrade on a credit plan...buy the cheap CPU now and add features as you can afford them. Either way, the perception is likely to be that this is rather cold-blooded of Intel.
    This differs fundamentally from the binning process where clockspeed, Vcore, and in AMD's case, core count are calculated to maintain stability and make the best use of an imprecise fabrication process. These (perfectly functioning) processors have in effect had a governor applied to maintain market segmentation, so while the CPU in question shouldn't rate much (if any) attention, it does raise the question whether multipliers can be raised/unlocked or low-power TDP (as examples) can be achieved though the same software/firmware scenario in future...if not at the present time...

    Intel might have been better advised to keep this sales technique under it's hat until it offered the service/s for CPU's at launch -not midway (or later) in the products lifecycle.

    Aston Martin ? I was going to say that any Taurus owner who expected a V8/V12 under the hood would be in need of therapy....but then I thought about the act of signing ownership papers on a cookie-cutter car...so I can see your point.
  16. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Except Walmart makes money every quarter, while AMD does not.
  17. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    I know i came on a bit strong, I read about 20 posts on the endgadget site that just made my blood boil with frustration.

    Honestly everyone thinks the world owes them one and if anyone/anything makes lots of money they must be evil and owe them a cut. Not to mention the enormous mass of people that know absolutely nothing about hardware that badmouth this move. Actually endgadget should be taking some blame for putting a negative spin on a positive story.
  18. seronx

    seronx TS Rookie Posts: 26

    AMD gets tons of profits every quarter

    It's the ATi portion that's lacking
  19. DokkRokken

    DokkRokken TS Rookie Posts: 267

    I don't see Intel's idea taking off. Fifty bucks is quite a bit for Joe Q. Public when he'll be perusing the aisles of Best Buy. Chances are, he'll spot another PC that'll cost only forty more, and have a higher speed or extra core. Salespeople are going to have a heck of a time trying to convince Mr. Public to swing an extra fifty for 'Hyperthreading' or 'cache,' things that he wouldn't have a clue nor a care about.
  20. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Exactly the kind of warfare I thought will be happening between these two camps, oh well, we can sit back, relax and watch some fireworks ;)

    I am unsure how you come up with this, but anyway, I don't think AMD will be much in black right now if it weren't for their graphic card division.

    For (AMD) quarter ending June 2010:

    Microprocessor average selling price (ASP) was flat sequentially and increased year-over-year.

    Graphics segment revenue increased 8 percent sequentially and 87 percent year-over-year. The sequential increase was driven by record GPU unit shipments, partially offset by a decrease in ASP. The year-over-year increase was driven by an increase in GPU shipments and ASP.

    In just three quarters, AMD has shipped more than 16 million Microsoft DirectX 11-capable GPUs.

    I quoted these just for your information. Regards
  21. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,146   +911

  22. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    This is a bad move on intels part. If I bought a car then had to buy a additional card to unlock better gas mileage through there computer chip I would be pissed. If anything it costs them more to make the chips by stifling them during production and adding a unlock feature to them.

    Iv owned amd for the last year with no problems, it was the best bang for the buck at the time for what I wanted to spend. This news makes me never want to even consider buying anything from intel.
  23. no ones forcing u to pay extra for the cpu upgrades, You buy the cpu with the feature u know it has.
    Then latter on pay more for the features u couldnt afford in the first place, or just buy the more expensive one in the first place.
  24. And u can by a chip to get better MPG out of your car just not from the manufacturer.
  25. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    Car + aftermarket mods = better car.
    CPU + aftermarket mobs = better CPU.


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