Intel’s “upgradeable” CPU

Here we have yet another probable marketing debacle.  Intel’s latest Pentium CPU will be “upgradable” by end users who purchase a special code to unlock features that are physically present in the processor.  The code comes with a $50.00 price tag.

The Pentium G6951 is a low-end CPU intended for use in systems in the range of $500 or less. A $50.00 upgrade represents a 10% premium on the price of the entire system.

What if Lexus sold you a car with an engine that had eight cylinders but they configured the on-board electronics to disable two of the eight?  If you wanted the additional power you could bring your car in to the stealership (pun intended) and pay an additional $4,500 for them to unlock the two cylinders.  Alternately, if you felt comfortable enough doing it yourself, Lexus would send you a code to enter in to the car’s radio, or something like that, to enable the two cylinders.

Perhaps Sony and Samsung should start selling high definition televisions that only display a maximum resolution of 720p but if you send them a check for another $200 they will unlock the television to display full 1080p.

How ridiculous is that?

I don’t see this as an upgradable CPU at all.  They’ve taken a product, intentionally deactivated some of it’s features, and then repackaged it as upgradable.

All they are doing is give the world-wide teen hacker population an afternoon project to break the code and then make it freely available on the Web.  Let’s not forget DVD Jon was a 16 when DeCSS was released.  Even Blu-ray’s HDCP has been broken.

Does Intel believe they are impervious to such efforts?  How long do you think it will take for someone to release code that will unlock these CPUs for free?  I have a three byte code that will eliminate the Intel upgradable CPU issue completely:

0x41 0x4D 0x44

~ by Marc Hedish on September 22, 2010.

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