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

Matthew

TS Evangelist
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

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PanicX

TechSpot Ambassador
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.
 

Cueto_99

TS Booster
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...
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
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.
 

gwailo247

TechSpot Chancellor
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.
 

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.
 

lipe123

TS Evangelist
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.
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
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.
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.
 

dividebyzero

trainee n00b
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.

@red
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.
 

lipe123

TS Evangelist
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.
 

DokkRokken

TS Rookie
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.
 

Archean

TechSpot Paladin
4chan DDoS takes down MPAA and anti-piracy websites Following a call to arms yesterday.
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 ;)

It's the ATi portion that's lacking
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
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
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.
 
G

Guest

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.
 
G

Guest

And u can by a chip to get better MPG out of your car just not from the manufacturer.