As odd as it may or may not sound, Intel has begun to sell upgrade cards for one of its processors, the Pentium G6951 to be exact, which unlocks HyperThreading support and 1MB of L3 cache memory, guaranteeing an instant performance boost.
Though CPUs can usually place all of their resources at their masters' disposal, some come with features that are locked for some reason or another.
Unlocking said features usually correlates to an instant increase in performance, giving said CPU the potential to match or even exceed more expensive parts upon being properly unlocked or overclocked.
Some motherboards have their own technologies that carry out such tasks, such as high-end boards that unlock dual-core or triple-core units into quad-cores.
Intel's Pentium G6951 also has certain unlockable features, namely a certain amount of cache memory and HyperThreading support.
Thus, its maker has begun a pilot program, known as Processor Performance Upgrade, which consists of selling a so-called 'Upgrade Card'.
Simply put, the upgrade card carries with it a code that enables HyperThreading on this particular chip and also unlocks the spare 1MB of L3 cache memory.
Unlocking is accomplished through a Windows app where the code is inserted and this procedure is guaranteed to instantly increase the prowess of the processor and the system as a whole, though there is, of course, a catch.
Simply put, the card is expensive. While the CPU itself, or a non-upgradeable 32nm-based version, sells for about $87, the card is priced at $50.
This may cause those interested to wonder if the price is actually worth it, and the answer to this will most likely affect Intel's final decision on whether or not to actually set up a real program like this for other chips as well.
Those interested in this pilot program need only visit this page.