Thursday, February 26th 2009

Phenom II X3 from Week 51 Batch Successfully Unlocks Fourth Core, AMD Steps In

The ability of AMD's Phenom II X3 processors dole out an additional core thanks to flaws in BIOS programming, has been one of the most interesting events in the computer enthusiast industry this month. A simple toggle of an option would unlock the disabled core, appreciating the value of the processor. It was earlier known that only chips belonging to 0904 (fourth week of 2009) batch of the processors would be able to respond to the mod successfully, but now, a fresh finding by German website Hartware.net suggests that even chips made in the 51st week of 2008 batch responded to the mod, and the fourth core could be enabled. Hartware.net used Biostar's TA790GX A2+ motherboard for the feat.

Meanwhile, the only entity that stands to lose due to this rather bizarre "phenomenon" has stepped in. AMD has reportedly requested motherboard manufacturers to not to release motherboards with the "buggy" BIOS, and to devise a fix for the issue immediately. Manufacturers are requested to release fixed BIOS updates. Evidently Phenom II X3 could cannibalize higher quad-core chips by the firm. The company is yet to release an DDR3-supportive quad-core chip based on the Deneb core with the entire 6 MB cache enabled.

Sources: Hartware.net, OCWorkbench
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24 Comments on Phenom II X3 from Week 51 Batch Successfully Unlocks Fourth Core, AMD Steps In

#2
DaedalusHelios
They should just accept it and fix the future X3's to be disabled through laser. Its not that hard to do and its there fault in the first place. Its just like the way creative moaned about the custom drivers that enabled extra features.
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#4
jbunch07
OH come on AMD that no fun!

It's not like people wont be able to flash to the bios that enables this to happen so why bother even trying to fix it.
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#5
OnBoard
by: btarunr
AMD has reportedly requested motherboard manufacturers to not to release motherboards with the "buggy" BIOS, and to devise a fix for the issue immediately. Manufacturers are requested to release fixed BIOS updates. Evidently Phenom II X3 could cannibalize higher quad-core chips by the firm.
Why do they get their panties so twisted? It's just couple batches, how long can those processors last? This is great advertising for them and makes people buy one just to test it if it could be unlockable. How is it bad for business?

Their response makes me think that this will work for newer batches as well ;)

(edit: wohoo 1,500th post!)
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#6
DaedalusHelios
by: OnBoard
Why do they get their panties so twisted? It's just couple patches, how long can those processors last? This is great advertising for them and makes people buy one just to test it if it could be unlockable. How is it bad for business?

Their response makes me think that this will work for newer patches as well ;)

(edit: wohoo 1,500th post!)
You mean batches right?
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#7
OnBoard
by: DaedalusHelios
You mean batches right?
Heh, spell checker doesn't fix wrong words written right :)
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#8
DaedalusHelios
by: OnBoard
Heh, spell checker doesn't fix wrong words written right :)
Hey you know english better than I know Finnish. :toast:
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#9
BarbaricSoul
I really find it funny that AMD started selling thier defective quad-cores as triple-cores and now it's biting them in the ass because people have figured out a way to get the so called defective core working. Live with it AMD, you screwed up.
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#10
mtosev
Why didn't they sue ASRock? ASRock mobos supported Turion S754 cpus on desktop mobos
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#13
Beertintedgoggles
I don't see why anyone here would be pissy with AMD, this is how you want them to react. No trying to retract any of those batches from consumer channels or bringing legal action against any of the board makers. And guess what, if you get a mb with the newer bios you can always flash back to the old bios to see if your X3 can be unlocked.
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#14
DOM
oh yeah stop them if somes got it ppl are not going to update there bios lol

and if they need it ppl are going to pass it around

thats what they get for being lazy who needs a tri-core
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#15
AddSub
I've been following this story for a while now. There are really two things that I concluded from all this. First, I seriously doubt this was an accidental problem, where buggy immature BIOS's and certain batches of CPU's resulted in extra core being unlocked. Instead I think this is a propaganda/marketing campaign by AMD to kick-up the stagnating chip sales. Think about it, people will be buying and trading for these three core CPU's and looking for "that special" CPU batch. (What else is there to conclude, that AMD is incompetent and they didn't focus enough? That is even worse!) Second, I think it is somewhat sad that people are excited by all this. I mean, if you can fork over up to $150 for a tri-core then you can certainly fork over another $50 for another core and get a real quad. I know that AMD's chips are becoming the "budgeteers" CPU of choice, but this sort of stuff seems kind of pitiful.
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#16
iStink
Give me a break people! They are a business out to make money just as any business is. Get over it. Yeah, they F'd up, but for them not to react by forcing their motherboard manufactures to update their bios code would be an even bigger F up.
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#17
iStink
by: AddSub
I seriously doubt this was an accidental problem, where buggy immature BIOS's and certain batches of CPU's resulted in extra core being unlocked. Instead I think this is a propaganda/marketing campaign by AMD to kick-up the stagnating chip sales.
Very good point, I've had this idea about other similar situations in the past. For instance, perhaps when HIS had the X1800GTO released, they bought up a bunch of X1800XL's knowing that the buzz would bring in more attention to their cards. (For anyone who doesn't remember, flashing an HIS X1800GTO with an X1800XL bios had like a 99.99% success rate. The result was a card running initially at 500/500 with 12 pipes, suddenly being able to successfully run at 700/700 with 16 pipes.)
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#18
Clutch442
by: AddSub
I've been following this story for a while now. There are really two things that I concluded from all this. First, I seriously doubt this was an accidental problem, where buggy immature BIOS's and certain batches of CPU's resulted in extra core being unlocked. Instead I think this is a propaganda/marketing campaign by AMD to kick-up the stagnating chip sales. Think about it, people will be buying and trading for these three core CPU's and looking for "that special" CPU batch. (What else is there to conclude, that AMD is incompetent and they didn't focus enough? That is even worse!) Second, I think it is somewhat sad that people are excited by all this. I mean, if you can fork over up to $150 for a tri-core then you can certainly fork over another $50 for another core and get a real quad. I know that AMD's chips are becoming the "budgeteers" CPU of choice, but this sort of stuff seems kind of pitiful.
So, you think the Korean dude who discovered this thing was in on the scheme?
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#19
devguy
by: Clutch442
So, you think the Korean dude who discovered this thing was in on the scheme?
Doubt it. He was probably just trying to overclock his Heka faster and thought maybe enabling ACC would help, like it did on Phenom I. Then, he got into windows and said, "Well, would you look at that?", in some Krazy Korean accent.
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#20
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I wouldnt call their taking defective or disabled quad cores and selling them as tri cores as a screwup. Id call them trying to fix it to save face with their share holders as the screw up. A later article posted shows a huge increase in demand for the tri core am3 chips.
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#21
eidairaman1
by: mtosev
Why didn't they sue ASRock? ASRock mobos supported Turion S754 cpus on desktop mobos
just like Asus Supported the Core Duo on Desktop.
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#22
Sc1mitar
Heh, AMD is doing the right thing here, they screwed up,they know that they cant do anything about it, so they request the mobo manufacturers to release a bios update, makes them look good to ther shareholders and everyone is happy.

Completely different from the Creative Labs issue, as in AMD hasnt forced lawsuits on anyone.
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#23
Hayder_Master
so now AMD there is no reason to release new X3 , everyone no this from beginning now become official
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#24
erocker
My PII 720 is on the way, hopefully I will get lucky. AMD should make more "accidents" like this, it would be very good for sales.
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