Intel Corp. (INTC) is yet again repeating the "upgrade card" strategy,
which it first
employed with the Nehalem G6952 CPU.
Intel has announced [press release] new $50
upgrades for three Sandy
Bridge series processors -- the 2.6 GHz 2 core/2 thread G622, the 3.1 GHz 2
core/4 thread i3-2102, and the 2.1 GHz 2 core/4 thread i3-2312.
The upgrades buy you an undisclosed increase in
clock speeds (and in the i3-2312's case, increased cache as well). In
all, this nets you somewhere around a 15 percent average performance bump.
As AnandTech points
out, this is a rather tough sell as the G622 sells for around $65 USD a
pop, so you're talking about a 77 percent premium for a small performance bump
most won't notice. However, the upgrade may be useful to some users of
OEM machines who wish to avoid voiding their warranty with DIY processor
One has to wonder how long Intel's secret
unlocking procedure will stay unbroken, given that similar "crippled"
hardware models on Advanced Micro
Devices, Inc. (AMD) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) have been perpetually
defeated. Currently the process is quite straightforward -- you just
download an upgrade utility, punch in the product key during the installation
process, and enjoy your faster CPU. How long it takes for that processor
to become "enjoy your faster CPU for free" remains to be seen.
The upgrade does not appear to be available yet on Newegg or Amazon.com.
Intel did not indicate when it would be available.