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AMD Hardware Hacking Upgrades Hardware

Hidden Cores On Phenom CPUs Can Be Unlocked 251

An anonymous reader writes "One of the major ways a semiconductor manufacturer manages to make the most of its chips is through binning. Chips able to cope with high clock speeds with all cores running end up as premium product lines, while others end up as models rated at lower speed grades, or with fewer cores. In the case of AMD's Phenom CPUs, dual and triple core models are quad cores with some disabled, while some newer quad core CPUs are actually six core models with two disabled. To this end both ASUS and MSI have announced that they have modified versions of AMD 890FX- and 890GX-based motherboards to unlock these hidden cores. Much like overclocking, there is no guarantee that you will gain anything by unlocking the hidden cores — everything depends on just why your CPU ended up in a certain product line."
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Hidden Cores On Phenom CPUs Can Be Unlocked

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  • First? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:56AM (#31911390)
    I would have gotten first post here, but AMD disabled two of my CPU's cores :/
  • by Tenek ( 738297 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:00PM (#31911474)
    Now all they need to do is stop selling the processors with all cores guaranteed to work and watch sales skyrocket as people buy half a dozen dual-cores in the hopes of getting one that wasn't damaged. And whoever buys the most CPU's every day gets a working one for free...
  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:05PM (#31911572) Journal

    I think they use one of those ion Cannons from Empire Strikes Back.

  • Re:Yield... (Score:5, Funny)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:06PM (#31911588) Homepage
    I don't know about you, but I would not want to be willingly running a system with a known-bad CPU core

    You underestimate the combination of paranoia and lack of sense that a lot of overclockers have, who are convinced the CPU manufacturers intentionally disable their chips in order to make more money somehow by selling them at a lower price.
  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:17PM (#31911760) Journal

    A Canadian Man was seen running away from his burning home shouting "beware of the Beowulf" before being arrested for questioning and charged with arson. Firefighters have found over a hundred computers, one of which they believe is the source of the fire.

  • by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:21PM (#31911804)

    I think they use one of those ion Cannons from Empire Strikes Back.

    No. They ruin the core's self esteem. They tell it, "You're not good enough to work with the others. Just turn off and sit there and stay out of everybody else's way."

    Then one day, a gamer comes by and turns it on. But the core is thinking, I can't do this! This is graphics processing! It's intense! I can't keep up with the other cores!

    But the gamer, having faith in the little core, turns him on. And low a behold, the little core can do it, but not without being picked on by the other cores. No! They still tell the little core that he's just not good enough. He can't keep up. But the little core hangs in there to fulfill his duty to the gamer - feeling less than every one else.

    One day, the gamer upgrades, and the other cores are scared. They can't keep up. The clock is mad now. He screams, "Come on cores you need to keep up!" The little core comes in and takes up the slack, showing the other cores that he indeed can keep up. The other cores shout, "You did it! You can do it! Come and join our click!"

    The little core responds, "No, I'm having lunch with the master clock and by the way, he's promoting me to be your boss. You're my bitches now!"

    That's how it happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:40PM (#31912100)

    Indeed. 66% of the time, it works perfectly every time....

  • by indi0144 ( 1264518 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:12PM (#31912552) Journal
    You are clearly cheating in the e-Penis tests, everybody knows you have to spend more money in order to brag about your kickass hardware, otherwise, you will be labeled as a smart consumer which is not compatible with the 1337woopassHardwarez0wnzorzx label. :)
  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:23PM (#31912744) Homepage Journal

    Good work! I plan to do something similar soon, though the cost savings of getting a $100 2-core Ph2 and unlocking it to a $160 4-core Ph2 isn't so great :/

    I'll share my pseudo-failure story, though. I bought a Tyan Tiger MPX about 10 years ago to run dual SMP 1Ghz Durons. About 5 years later I upgraded the CPUs to 2.0 Ghz mobile Athlon XP. My motherboard couldn't control the mobile chips, so I think they only ran at 1.2Ghz or something for a time, then I got brave and whipped out the xacto knife and cut some bridges to clock them up to 1.8Ghz. After I migrated to a new server, I got even more brave and whipped out the pencil as well and linked some more bridges to get them up to ~2.2Ghz for the past few years. It's still my primary gaming machine (yeah, I'm too cheap to budget any real money towards entertainment, but it still runs most games better than my wife's 1-year old laptop, as long as they don't require 64-bit or DX10).

    Of course, it's quite a bit flaky now, I think due to the penciled bridges and probably old noisy cooling fans. It crashes when I kick the case, and if it gets too warm in the room, it just plain doesn't boot (motherboard gives out 5 beeps and it just sits there). But once it starts running a game for more than a few minutes it tends to continue to be OK

    Still, I'm plotting to migrate my current server to a low-power, low profile Zotac Zbox with some sort of external eSATA RAID, so I can free up my current hardware for gaming before it gets too outdated :-P

  • Re:Yield... (Score:3, Funny)

    by psbrogna ( 611644 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:24PM (#31912748)
    Yes, but the sand is on the beach. Moving the sand to the fab facility and filtering out all the seagull poop can't be cheap.
  • by ae1294 ( 1547521 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:35PM (#31912944) Journal

    linux zombies can likely transmit very quick to the "zombie" cores

    Woah sweet! I've been having major problems dealing with zombie processes on my 6.4Ghz AMD rig of late. I didn't know I had the option of herding them all over to their own zombie cores! Sort-of like a botnet but for zombies right?

    Can I do this in the kde or do I gotta use that text window thingy? Is there a one-click thingy you can kermit me?

  • Car analogy (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:40PM (#31913034)

    Whoa! a car analogy from someone with real first hand experience in the analogue.

    What is /. coming to!?!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:57PM (#31913316)

    I don't have a clue what your acronyms mean -- can't even infer -- but I'll just read over them.

    TFS - you've heard of RTFA? This is referring to the summary.

    Parent post - one above. GP one above that. You had OP already, you could have inferred that!

  • by mestar ( 121800 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @03:53PM (#31914664)

    ...stress the fpu...

    Yes, but only if you search for primes with nonzero decimal part.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.