Monday, September 20th 2010

Intel Wants $50 for Software Unlock of CPU Features

The Pentium G6951 dual-core LGA1156 processor may not have made any headlines when it was known to be almost identical to the Pentium G6950, until now. Intel designed the G6951 to support "hardware feature upgrades" by purchasing them and enabling them using a software, so users with this processor installed can upgrade their systems by enabling that are otherwise locked for the SKU. The $50 upgrade fetches support for HyperThreading Technology, enabling four threads on the processor; and unlocks the disabled 1 MB of the L3 cache (Clarkdale has 4 MB of L3 cache, of which 1 MB is disabled on the Pentium SKUs).

There isn't much value in buying a $99 Pentium G6951 and the $50 Upgrade Card upfront, but later down the line, companies can opt to mass-upgrade system performance without touching any of the hardware inside. The service works by the purchase of an upgrade key that the user has to feed into the software, which is then verified by Intel's activation server, following successful verification, the software unlocks the processor's features. This is a one-time process, portable between software reinstallations.
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160 Comments on Intel Wants $50 for Software Unlock of CPU Features

#1
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Many Thanks to DanishDevil for the tip, in a parallel universe.
Posted on Reply
#2
OnBoard
$50 for unlocked multiplier would be more fun :) Would be no need to release those "K" processors, enthusiasts would just do this for their current CPU.
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#3
Wile E
Power User
How long before it's cracked?
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#4
mdsx1950
by: Wile E
How long before it's cracked?
Won't be long. ;) :D
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#5
animal007uk
Stupid idea i for one wont be buying this CPU. $50 for an unlock of something is a bloody rip of if its already built into the cpu. Hope someone cracks it soon lol.
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#6
arroyo
I don't think this is stupid idea. Graphics cards use this all the time (Radeon 9500@9500 pro, Geforce 6800LE@6800GT, Radeon X800, .....).

It's like in applications. Most of applications have their full function build in. You buy registration code for unlocking all functionality.
If you would not pay, you would get trial or demo version.
If you pay less you would get full version.
If you pay more you would get ultimate version.

Maybe there is more potential in Intel CPU's. Like in AMD all Intel CPU's may be 6 core, just waiting to unlock. That would be COOL!
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#7
RejZoR
arroyo, it's not the same. Those graphic cards were degraded on purpose because texture units or shaders were not working properly or were damaged during manufacturing process.
Some of course worked, with others you got the nice chess pattern... there was no guarantee.
In Intel's case, every and each such CPU has to unlock perfectly. And Intel has to guarnate that to the customer, while no one had to do that with possibly unlockable graphic cards.
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#8
caleb
This is a good solution for intel so they can make a single CPU just lock out the potential but what it means for us ? Well soon you'll have to logon to INTEL to BOOT :)
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#9
arroyo
RejZor you have right, but look at this case like that:

You are developing something that cost 150$. People with 150$ dollars in the pocket would buy it, but people with 100$ would't. They will buy cheaper model. If they get 50$ they would be glad to upgrade their stuff.

It would be nice to know that your CPU has unlockable potential. I would be so happy to know, that for 50$ my Q9550 could have turbo technology or 2 more cores. It's just about creating right products for low budget by locking features of better products. Everyone does it. Even on cars. I bought Seat Ibiza (2000 year model) with 75 horses. The only difference between my model and 100 HP model is firmware !!! If I had some cash I would go to Seat dealer and buy that 25 horses for my ride.
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#10
Octopuss
I don't see the point. so Intel would produce identical CPUs, but sell some of them intentionally degraded, losing money? Huh?
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#11
arroyo
NO. Lot losing money. They making products for different price ranges.
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#12
Wiselnvestor
by: arroyo
I don't think this is stupid idea. Graphics cards use this all the time (Radeon 9500@9500 pro, Geforce 6800LE@6800GT, Radeon X800, .....).

It's like in applications. Most of applications have their full function build in. You buy registration code for unlocking all functionality.
If you would not pay, you would get trial or demo version.
If you pay less you would get full version.
If you pay more you would get ultimate version.

Maybe there is more potential in Intel CPU's. Like in AMD all Intel CPU's may be 6 core, just waiting to unlock. That would be COOL!
Ummmm.... You're paying 50$ extra to turn a 100$ CPU into a 120$ CPU...

Still think this is a good idea?
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#13
Wile E
Power User
by: Wiselnvestor
Ummmm.... You're paying 50$ extra to turn a 100$ CPU into a 120$ CPU...

Still think this is a good idea?
Yep, especially when the crack comes out and you get it for free. :D
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#14
mdsx1950
by: Wile E
Yep, especially when the crack comes out and you get it for free. :D
Well said! :D
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#15
pantherx12
What a waste of resources, putting out disabled yet fully working chips is just rubbish to be honest.

You pay for hardware you should have access to the hardware.
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#16
laszlo
good idea only if can't be cracked but 2 expensive
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#17
DaedalusHelios
I predict college kids with thumb drives "upgrading" laptops for a charge with a cracking program.
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#18
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: pantherx12
What a waste of resources, putting out disabled yet fully working chips is just rubbish to be honest.

You pay for hardware you should have access to the hardware.
OEM's been doing this for years in motherboards and so on. I can see why they're doing it, but I for one would not buy it.
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#19
Nick89
will be easily hacked.
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#20
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
This idea of Intel's is going to flop harder than a dying whale. If the CPU die is good enough to run those specs from day one, why isn't it?
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#21
RejZoR
by: arroyo
RejZor you have right, but look at this case like that:

You are developing something that cost 150$. People with 150$ dollars in the pocket would buy it, but people with 100$ would't. They will buy cheaper model. If they get 50$ they would be glad to upgrade their stuff.

It would be nice to know that your CPU has unlockable potential. I would be so happy to know, that for 50$ my Q9550 could have turbo technology or 2 more cores. It's just about creating right products for low budget by locking features of better products. Everyone does it. Even on cars. I bought Seat Ibiza (2000 year model) with 75 horses. The only difference between my model and 100 HP model is firmware !!! If I had some cash I would go to Seat dealer and buy that 25 horses for my ride.
That's why stores offer delayed payment in monthly payments. Or credit cards. If you can't afford it now, you pay it in several parts or delay the payment with a credit card.

As for the car, the analogy is not exactly right. We are comparing between 2 products, where one costs $120 and another $12.000... Plus, you can't buy those extra 25 HP even if there is only difference in ECU software. Official dealers just don't do that. Tuner shop can hack it for you, but you'll lose warranty if the car still has it (if we're talking about new cars).
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#22
Hayder_Master
by: Wile E
How long before it's cracked?
we going say to them, thanx for tips to let us now this cpu can be hacked :nutkick:
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#23
Munki
ugh. yay Intel, lets make something else that is gonna go downhill quick, fast, and innna hurry. In less than a year after the software is hacked, they will be loosing money, because at $50 a CPU, and how many people use cracked software? yeahh..... they are gonna be wishin' they just didn't try this mess anyway. I mean seriously? Guess that's just my two cents.
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#24
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
This doesn't feel right to me and I wouldn't be keen to buy such a CPU. As Wiselnvestor said, would you like to pay $50 for a $20 upgrade. I reckon it's going to be one big ripp-off.

And it's likely to be hacked in no time, as Wile E said also. What then? Will the long arm of Intel then reach into your CPU over the internet and switch it off? Kinda Big Brother to me...

No thanks. :shadedshu
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#25
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
As Arroyo said, the GC vendors have been disabling portions of their GPUs for years.
Why the hate on Intel but not them?
Posted on Reply
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