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Intel Upgrades Hardware

Intel To Offer CPU Upgrades Via Software 499

derGoldstein writes "Intel will again offer CPU upgrades through software. In the past, the upgrades gave you HyperThreading and more L3 cache. This time upgrades will actually increase CPU frequency: 'Intel Upgrade Service offers three different upgrades on second generation Core processors: Intel Core i3-2312M processor, Intel Core i3-2102 processor, and Intel Pentium G622 processor.' The page provides benchmarks of the 3 upgrade options."
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Intel To Offer CPU Upgrades Via Software

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  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by v1x ( 528604 ) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:26PM (#37086264) Homepage
    The software download itself is free, although upon running the tool, it brings up the following message on one of the dialog screens, "During the upgrade process, you will enter the PIN number from the upgrade card you purchased," which suggests that they are charging for it. Sadly, my computer is not upgradeable by this method.
  • Quite sometime (Score:3, Informative)

    by PixetaledPikachu ( 1007305 ) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:32PM (#37086318)
    This has been going on for quite sometime in enterprise world, well sort of. Although not quite the same, Citrix's NetScaler box can be "upgraded" via license purchase. This usually increases throughput and the number of allowed SSL sessions. IBM also sells their P-series server in quite similar manner. They will ship the box with all sockets filled with processors, but only enable the ones that you purchase. If you require additional processors, you will have to pay IBM to enable more processor. In the end, you still get what your money worth. I never consider an overclockability as a feature, I treat it more like a bonus. And if Intel or AMD decides to stop giving bonus, that's fine for me
  • Re:Preposterous. (Score:5, Informative)

    by simm_s ( 11519 ) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:53PM (#37086470) Homepage

    That is called binning. []
    It is standard industry practice. Doing so saves *you* money because it gives customers the option to buy underperforming or semi-functional yields at a lower cost. It is good for the environment because it reduces manufacturing waste. Higher sellable yields improves profits for manufacturers and reduce costs for you. It is a win-win situation!

  • by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:09PM (#37086638)

    Hurray, now we can buy crippled CPUs and unlock them later.

    I think you don't understand what's going on. Intel is giving everyone more options. There's no way this can make you worse off. You probably don't realize that Intel doesn't make separate "1.8 GHz" and "2.0 GHz" chips. What they do is make many of the same chip, test each chip, and then set the clock frequency depending on how well each chip handles things. Now imagine many people would rather buy a 1.8GHz chip (it's cheaper and they don't need the extra speed), but the manufacturing process is good and makes mostly 2.0Ghz chips. Intel now has three choices:

    1. Keep things as they are. This makes 1.8GHz chips more expensive (supply is less than demand at the current price), and forces people to buy 2.0GHz chips they don't want.
    2. Lower prices on 2.0GHz chips. This will increase sales, but means giving up on the money of those people who really need (or think they need) the extra speed and are willing to pay for it.
    3. Take some chips that could run at 2.0GHz, mark them "1.8GHz" and sell them for a lower price.

    Under the last scenario Intel is happier (they got the money of the people who want cheaper parts and got to charge a premium from the people who want faster parts). The consumers are also happier (they got the processor speed they want at the price they want). Why should the people who wanted 1.8GHz speed care that the part they got could in theory run at 2.0GHz? that's not the speed they wanted in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:23PM (#37086774)

    You misunderstand. They can, and do, sell faster processors as "crippled" slower processors. Their testing just identifies the maximum standard speed, and then the chips can be packaged and sold as any slower chip they need.

    What's interesting here is that Intel is saying that all chips of these types are capable of running at a faster speed.

  • Re:Preposterous. (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @03:30PM (#37087962) Homepage

    Intel has been doing that forever, from the 486SX, which just had a broken FPU

    Some people here on Slashdot seem really upset about this software upgrade thing. But I was upset about the 487SX, and I still grimace when I think about it.

    Before the 486, you had the 386 CPU chip, and the 387 FPU chip. A 386 motherboard would have a second socket for the FPU; probably the socket was empty when you bought a 386 system, but you could buy a 387 for a speed boost.

    The 486 was the first Intel CPU with an integrated FPU. So, the 486SX was a way for Intel to sell a cheaper part, and to sell 486 chips whose FPU was defective. I get that. I'm cool with that.

    The real 486 was called the "486DX". SX == no FPU, DX == FPU.

    The 486SX and the 486DX were pin-compatible. If you wanted to upgrade a 486SX system, you could simply pull the 486SX out and pop in a 486DX.

    But Intel tried to push a motherboard design where there were two sockets: the 486SX socket, and the 487SX socket. Instead of unplugging the 486SX and putting in a 486DX, you were supposed to leave the 486SX in place, and buy a 487SX, which was just a 486DX with an incompatible pinout (including one extra pin). You couldn't put a 487SX in a 486DX socket. When you put in a 487SX, the motherboard would disable the 486SX and it would just sit there, with the 487SX doing all the work, as it really was just a 486DX. (And an integrated FPU sharing cache with the rest of the CPU is better for performance.)

    I found the whole 486SX/487SX thing to be breathtakingly obnoxious. It's one thing to provide multiple price points and find a way to sell CPUs with a defective FPU. It's quite another thing to engineer up a whole system that was cynically designed to lock up a perfectly good 486SX chip and trick a user into buying a special 487SX chip instead of just getting a 486 as an upgrade.

    To make it even stupider, the 487SX cost more than a 486, because the 486 was being mass-produced. I found a Google Books scanned copy of InfoWorld [] that said the 487SX was 30% more expensive than an equivalent 486 chip! ($799 vs. $588 for a 25 MHz part) And a 25 MHz 486SX must have cost $258 because the cost of leaving the 486SX in place and adding a 487SX was $1057, vs. $588 for the 25 MHz 486DX plus having a spare 486SX you could sell or give away.

    Nobody I knew ever bought a 487SX, and I don't think many companies even built computers with a 487SX socket. Even Intel can't push that kind of cynical "solution" and have wide success with it.


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