It was just last week that we learned
that the Intel-backed HDCP DRM scheme for Blu-ray movies had
been cracked. Today, however, we learn of another Intel product
that is being used to "add features" to its latest line of
processors, and it sounds just a little bit like DRM.
According to Engadget, Intel is
selling a $50 "Processor Performance Upgrade Card" which
will unlock features that are already included on an Intel
Pentium G6951 processor, but are disabled from the factory. In the
case of the upgrade card detailed by Engadget, it is specific
to the Gateway SX2841-09e.
World notes that the 2.8GHz G6951 is sold with 3MB of L3 cache and has
HyperThreading disabled. By purchasing and activating the $50 upgrade
card, a full 4MB of L3 cache is enabled along with HyperThreading.
The processor enhancements are
performed by going to Intel's
website and downloading software to your Windows 7-based
computer. From there, you'll have to enter in your PIN from the
upgrade card in order to boost the performance of your CPU.
Intel says that the added L3 cache and
HyperThreading is useful
Intel also shows a benchmark chart
which shows a standard G6951 versus an unlocked G6951 (see figure at
As with all forms of DRM and software
unlocks, it's only a matter of time before modders/hackers find a way
to circumvent Intel's $50 upgrade card.