This is not a usual thing, but Intel is offering software upgrades for modern Core i3 and Pentium CPUs to boost their performance.
As Intel calims:
With these upgrades, customers will enjoy:
- Better performance for photo, video, and music tasks.
- Better responsiveness for everyday PC activities.
- Better responsiveness for PC productivity at work or at home.
Wait a minute, how is that even possible?
Truth be told, the hardware was already capable of doing more but looks like it was not unlocked out of the box. Intel had disabled HyperThreading technology, more L3 cache for applications on some of the Core i3 processors, and Intel Pentiums, which will be unlocked via this software upgrade. Intel is selling these as $50 upgrade cards.
Pentium 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.
Intel® Core™ i3-2102 Processor Intel® Pentium® G622 Processor Intel® Core™ i3-2312M Processor Intel® Pentium® G6951 Processor
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.