Have you been to a Best Buy recently? We haven't either. If you do happen to make that sad stroll into the price tagged store and venture your way over to the PC section (it's that tiny aisle behind the 17 foot Apple wall) you'll see a $50 prepaid Intel card. Intel calls it the Processor Performance Upgrade Card. We call it EA Has Infiltrated Our Beloved PC Manufacturers' Heads and Brainwashed Them.
What ever could this card be for? Hit the break to find out.
This card, as Intel's website confirms, allows you to download software to unlock extra threads and cache on the new Pentium G6951 processor. You can upgrade the chip to 1MB of L3 cache plus HyperThreading support.
We've seen this all the time in hardware manufacturers, however. A company will sell hardware-locked chips in a process known as binning, but for a good reason. Binned chips are sold with cores or cache locked because those parts of the silicon ended up being defective after they were made.
This move, though, is going along the route of EA and other video game developers that have you "download" more weapons and extra features that you already had on the disc that you paid for. It's interesting to say the least.
It should be known that Intel is just testing this program on this low-end processor in a few select markets for now. I, for one, hope they don't choose to stick with it, unless they sell the processor locked for a much lower price and make the upgrades worth while.