Intel has quietly rolled out a new scheme under which customers can unlock processor features by buying an Upgrade Card. Engadget reports they received a photo of an unlocking card that was found by a reader on a Best Buy shelve, for $50 this card lets you download software to unlock 1MB L3 cache and HyperThreading support on the Gateway SX2841-09E laptop with Intel's Pentium G6951 processor.
Hold onto your hyperthreaded horses, because this is liable to whip up an angry mob -- Intel's asking customers to pay extra if they want the full power of their store-bought silicon. An eagle-eyed Engadget reader was surfing the Best Buy shelves when he noticed this $50 card -- and sure enough, Intel websites confirm -- that lets you download software to unlock extra threads and cache on the new Pentium G6951 processor. Hardware.info got their hands on an early sample of the chip and discovered it's actually a full 1MB of L3 cache that's enabled plus HyperThreading support, which translates to a modest but noticeable upgrade.
It's not a widespread program though, it appears that for now, Intel is testing the service on some low-end processors in a few select markets.