intel upgrade Intel expands its software upgradable OEM CPU lineup

We can't say that we're big fans of where Intel is heading with its software upgradable CPUs, although currently only available for its OEM partners, it's clearly a sign of things to come. It almost seems like Intel is run by its accountants these days, as the company is clearly looking at ways of charging for its CPUs more than once.

We can't say that we're big fans of where Intel is heading with its software upgradable CPUs, although currently only available for its OEM partners, it's clearly a sign of things to come. It almost seems like Intel is run by its accountants these days, as the company is clearly looking at ways of charging for its CPUs more than once.

At the moment Intel is only enabling the software upgrades for three fairly entry level CPUs, two desktop models and one mobile, but imagine where things could go. Late last year the first model appeared in the shape of the Pentium G6951 which gained Hyper Threading and 1MB of extra cache as it morphed into the Pentium G6952, a seemingly small change, but this time around Intel has taken things to the next level.

First up we have the Pentium G622 which is a dual core 2.6GHz part with 3MB of L3 cache, throw in a scratch card and you have a Pentium G693 which is a 3.2GHz CPU. That's a pretty hefty performance boost and Intel claims an improvement of between 15 to 23 percent depending on the benchmark metric. The Pentium G622 is priced at around US$65 (similar the Pentium G620 pricing) according to Anandtech and if the price for the scratch card remains the same as for the good old Pentium G6951, then you're looking at US$50, but we have a feeling that Intel might've considered a tiered cost for the new scratch cards to keep things interesting. That said, the Pentium G693 looks set to outperform the Pentium G800 models with the most expensive model coming in at US$86, so we have a feeling that the scratch card will be reassuringly expensive.

intel upgrade Intel expands its software upgradable OEM CPU lineup

Next up we have the Core i3-2102, a 3.1GHz dual core model with Hyper Threading and 3MB L3 cache. Once again we see a significant clock speed increase to 3.6GHz when it's unlocked to become the Core i3-2153. This time around we're apparently only looking at a 12 to 15 percent performance increase, according to Intel's own tests. With the Core i3-2100 being priced at US$117, the pricing for the Core i3-2102 should end up in about the same region.

Finally we have something new, an upgradable notebook CPU in the shape of the Core i3-2312M, another dual core 2.1GHz CPU with 3MB of L3 cache and Hyper Threading. This time around the Mega Hertz increase is smaller; as it's transformed into the Core i3-2393 it only gains 400MHz. However, this model has another trick up its sleeve, just like the good old Pentium G6951, the Core i3-2312M gains an extra 1MB of L3 cache. As such we're looking at a 10 to 19 percent performance increase according to Intel.

This is an interesting way for Intel to get paid twice for each of its CPUs, especially as we're talking fairly low cost models here. Of course, until we know how much the scratch cards will cost this time around, it's a little bit too early to have a go at Intel for charging consumers over the top for a fairly minor upgrade. We can't but wonder if Intel will expand this sort of thing across its entire range of CPUs sooner or later, with a selection of options for you to unlock depending on your needs.

Imagine a scratch card for extra cache, one for better graphics, another one for unlocked multipliers and so on. It's a scary thought, but it's something Intel could make a reality. As for the current models, well, they're intended for systems from the big box shifters and as far as upsides to this setup is concerned, well, it's an easy way to get some extra performance out of your CPU with any of the hassle otherwise involved. We just wish Intel would see the error in its way and stop chipping away at the features, as there are many of us out there that are sick and tired of getting a CPU that's missing one or two features, just because.

Source: Intel Upgrade Service