Like AMD, Intel speed-bins its CPUs meaning many cheaper models have features of more expensive models which have been disabled.
Intel has announced it is to offer a software upgrade for some of its CPUs that will unlock previously inaccessible features.
reported this morning that selected LGA1155 CPUs in the Core i3 and Pentium G range are in line for the upgrades, called the Retail Upgrade Service, which include unlocking additional amounts of cache and frequency boosts.
Owners of the CPUs will need to purchase a scratch card equipped with a pin number, and download software which will enable the unlock. At the moment, Intel will offer the upgrades for the Core i3-2312M, Core i3-2102 and Pentium G622.
All feature locked multipliers out of the box - sadly this won't change, but applying the unlock to the Core i3-2102 will see a frequency boost from 3.1GHz to 3.6GHz and the Pentium G622 will see its default clock speed of 2.6GHz rise to 3.2GHz. The Core i3-2312M will see a 400MHz frequency boost, but will also gain 1MB cache.
Seeing as the CPUs also lack Turbo Boost, this could be a welcome upgrade, but is currently unconfirmed.
According to the article, Intel offered a similar service last year for its Pentium G6951, which cost $50. We have yet to hear anything about the service being offered in the UK, but with the CPUs typically finding their way in to PCs whose owners probably know nothing about overclocking, never mind CPU unlocking, it's debatable how popular the service will be.
Would Intel's Retail Upgrade Service be useful to you? Do you think it should offer similar unlocks for more CPUs? Let us know in the forum