Monday, February 23rd 2009

Phenom II X3 Can be Unlocked to Phenom II X4?

It is a well-known fact that AMD has been carving out triple-core and dual-core Phenom/Phenom II series processors out of complete Agena/Deneb dice with one or two cores disabled. In a fresh revelation, a Korean enthusiast claims to have discovered that it is rather easy to unlock the disabled core on Phenom II X3 processors, provided the motherboard supports the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) feature that is meant to enhance overclocking using AMD's Overdrive software. The enthusiast claims the soft-mod to have worked in his/her case, where a Phenom II X3 710 was paired with a Biostar TA790GX 128M motherboard. The CPU was overclocked to 3.12 GHz, with a vCore setting of 1.37 V.

The method employed: Set the appropriate BIOS setting for the Advanced Clock Calibration feature to "Auto", save settings and restart. The system will be able to deal with the disabled core, and off load some work to it. The processor with the "additional" core was tested to be Prime95 stable and was able to boost 3DMark06 CPU score by as much as 1,000 points. Let the screenshots below speak for themselves:
The method:

The Result:

Sources:Playwares, VR-Zone
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99 Comments on Phenom II X3 Can be Unlocked to Phenom II X4?

#1
Rexter
Very interesting, BUT i dont think this will work with EVERY X3, since it could be like with graphics card with disabled shaders. Some work, some wont, because X3 or most likely made from X4's that has a "bad" core, then relabled and sold as X3 to save money.

Though, the "hack" sounds almost TOO easy....
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
I was thinking the same, also that ACC setting in the BIOS setup should be "Auto" by default, right?
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#3
TheMailMan78
Big Member
I have a tri-core. Ill try this tonight. However I'm not so sure this will work. Its a tri-core for a reason.

Edit: I just checked my bios and its set to auto. No forth core. Ether I have a dud for that Korean is full of BS.
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#4
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: TheMailMan78
I have a tri-core. Ill try this tonight. However I'm not so sure this will work. Its a tri-core for a reason.

Edit: I just checked my bios and its set to auto. No forth core. Ether I have a dud for that Korean is full of BS.
You don't have a Phenom II X3 from what your specs tell.
Posted on Reply
#5
OnBoard
Pretty cool, but wasn't there a new revision coming. Somehow I think AMD will block this the same time.

If triple cores are selling better than quad, there might be some perfectly fine samples going around, like there was with the 6800GT/6800LE.
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#6
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: btarunr
You don't have a Phenom II X3 from what your specs tell.
Your right......Nevermind :o
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#7
VulkanBros
by: btarunr
I was thinking the same, also that ACC setting in the BIOS setup should be "Auto" by default, right?
On the ASUS M3A79T-Deluxe ACC is set auto ... so if the article is correct, then a X3 should
be shown as a X4 from the first boot.....that is, if all 4 cores are working or???
Posted on Reply
#8
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
Maybe they arn't all bad cores, maybe amd deliberately disabled a good core so they can sell it as a tri core although that isn't the most efficient way of doing it but maybe they never had many quads with bad cores.
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#9
OnBoard
by: DrPepper
Maybe they arn't all bad cores, maybe amd deliberately disabled a good core so they can sell it as a tri core although that isn't the most efficient way of doing it but maybe they never had many quads with bad cores.
Or the core is just fine, but cache is not. What would happen if 0.5MB of the cache was bad? Is the CPU smart enough not to use it or it will cause problems when a lot of cache is needed. edit: oh it's L2, not L3.
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#10
TheMailMan78
Big Member
I'm sure there is some QC Standard for CPUs in AMD. Maybe some of the 4th cores are not 99.9% good and to maintain quality they disable them. Just because this guy got the 4th core to run doesn't mean its very stable or even maintainable.

Even if I could do this I am not so sure I would.
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#11
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: OnBoard
Or the core is just fine, but cache is not. What would happen if 1.5MB of the shared cache was bad? Is the CPU smart enough not to use it or it will cause problems when a lot of cache is needed.
512 KB. That's all the cache that's lost when disabling a core from Deneb. The L3 size for P II X3 710 is 6 MB, + 1.5 MB L2 (3x 512 KB). Typically a CPU should work with the cache disabled though with a performance penalty. There is a BIOS option "CPU external cache" that enables/disables L2 cache, although for Phenom(II), that setting toggles L2 for all the cores.
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#12
Wile E
Power User
Manufacturers that use the same core for lesser products, but partially disabled, will actually take a fully functioning core and disable parts of it if the demand for the lesser product is high.
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#13
Dark_Webster
Too easy. I think the core is laser-cutted, they aren't so stupid.




Well, you could flash a 2900Pro to a 2900XT, they had 100€ of difference.
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#14
OzzmanFloyd120
Very interesting...
The egg has a combo deal with a 720 and the case I want. Maybe I should get it?
I'll have an eye on this thread to see if anybody else here can do the same, because it doesn't seem like it would be something anybody with a X3 wouldn't notice.
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#15
jagass
I think you're right...
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#16
csendesmark
I though the 4th core has a hardvare lock... but this is cool
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#17
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
by: Wile E
Manufacturers that use the same core for lesser products, but partially disabled, will actually take a fully functioning core and disable parts of it if the demand for the lesser product is high.
Thats exactly what I was trying to say and failed :p

by: Dark_Webster
Too easy. I think the core is laser-cutted, they aren't so stupid.




Well, you could flash a 2900Pro to a 2900XT, they had 100€ of difference.
I think if this is true it is very deliberate that they never laser cut it. AMD have always been able to modify something and get extra performance out of it. Well not always but they have in the past.
Posted on Reply
#18

When I see a picture of the actual CPU, then I shall believe in it. I mean, who ever said he just didn't put in an other cpu..
#19
Tatty_One
Super Moderator
by: TheMailMan78
I have a tri-core. Ill try this tonight. However I'm not so sure this will work. Its a tri-core for a reason.

Edit: I just checked my bios and its set to auto. No forth core. Ether I have a dud for that Korean is full of BS.
Exactly, because the 4th core is knackered supposidly. Same as with the 810 AM3 but in that case, the L3 cache is disabled because it's knackers.....again, supposidly.
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#20
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
I believe it when more people confirm, this just seems to easy, and as others have said the option is set that way by default. Which means a lot of people would automatically get a Quad-Core when they bought a Tri-Core. And I find it hard to believe that in all the reviews done on this processor, not a single reviewer put it in an ACC capable board or noticed that it was running with 4 cores.
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#21
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: TechnicalFreak
When I see a picture of the actual CPU, then I shall believe in it. I mean, who ever said he just didn't put in an other cpu..


Posted on Reply
#22
HossHuge
I'll believe it when more people confirm.

But how did he get CPU-Z to say it was a X3 710 running 4 cores?
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#23
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: HossHuge
I'll believe it when more people confirm.

But how did he get CPU-Z to say it was a X3 710 running 4 cores?
CPU-Z shows the name string as shown by the CPUID, and the CPU it recognizes. So in one field, it's an X3 710, but in the other as an "X4 10". Look at what 3DMark06 is detecting the CPU as: the same string the BIOS is displaying during POST.
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#24
SeanG
Maybe something is wrong with his motherboard?
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#25
craigwhiteside
by: SeanG
Maybe something is wrong with his motherboard?
More like something is right, with his motherboard :laugh: :toast:

Edit: would this make the cpu essentially a X4 810?
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