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Monday, 20 September 2010

Do you want to go large with that sir?

Normally you would have to open up the case of your PC and muck around with some chip removers and probably some messy work with a heatsink, but now Intel jhave changed all that by trialling a processor that can be upgraded if you cough up extra cash.
The chip is the little known Pentium G6951, currently being offered to a "limited number" system builders in the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Spain on a "pilot" basis.
It works like this: A PC maker sells "upgradeable" PC to a customerr, who can then buy an unlock code, download an app from Intel and enter the code into it to unleash the "processor performance upgrade", which enables HyperThreading on the Core i3-derived dual-core CPU and a larger L3 cache on the processor die, all for an extra $50.
There is nothing new in this. 30 years ago I was a summer student at a Swiss bank. We wanted an upgrade to the Tektronix display screen, but the engineer couldn't make it onsite, so he called in and talked us through the upgrade: "Where is the new board?", we asked. "There is no upgrade board. Open the cabinet. You see that big board with the jumper in the middle? Pull the jumper."
There are 2 problems with this:

  1. The customers will know they have bought the hardware for the more powerful system, so if the manufacturer can afford to sell it for the price of the lower value system, they will resent paying the higher price.
  2. Give it 2 weeks and some 15 year old hacker will be selling upgrade keys and software on eBay.

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