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Sandy Bridge cpu question

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May 12, 2011 12:38:14 AM

Does anyone out there know if there is any truth to the idea that a Core i5 (1155) is really just a hobbled version of a Core i7 (1155)? In other words Intel creates a flagship version, in this case the 1155 Core i7 and then simply disables some features to create Core i5s, Core i3s and soon sandy bridge versions of Pentiums and even Celerons.

I tried "chatting" with intel technical support and got nowhere. ( I wonder why???)

Any thoughts?

I'm not necessarily seeking an "exact answer," but the field above can't be changed.

More about : sandy bridge cpu question

May 12, 2011 11:14:30 AM

ghnader hsmithot said:
You should first understand product binning.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_binning
when manufactured, not all the wafers are of the same quality, and when tested some features might not pass Quality testing.


I have heard of this concept, but find it rather hard to believe. I think of tiny errors in data files which make them completely unusable or minor bugs in computer programs that would make them crash nearly immediately. How can it be that "errors" in something as complex as a cpu would affect only, say hyperthreading, but not turbo-boost or L3 cache, in any way, seems unbelieveable to me. And how would you obtain large, reliable quantities of such "bad" chips to meet demand?

I was just reading an article stating that intel is testing an "upgradeable cpu" concept in certain world markets. The idea is this. A person buys a system with a certain intel cpu and chipset. After a period of time, they determine that they would like to "upgrade" the performance of their cpu. This person buys a "product key" from intel from a third party and then downloads a small program onto their computer. Upon running the program and entering the key, the additional features are then "unlocked." This process may turn on hyperthreading, or make additional L3 cache available or whatever. Obviously, in this case, these features must perform properly whether the customer "buys" them or not, since they could potentially buy them at any time or never. I would be willing to bet this is going on more often then we are being told.
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May 12, 2011 11:19:25 AM

One speck of dust can damage thousands and thousands of wafers.The clean rooms in which cpus are manufactured are 10000times more cleaner than hospitals and for every cubic square meter only one atom of dust exist.The real die size of the cpu is actually smaller than a dime.
Its much harder than most people think to get high yields from cpus.
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May 12, 2011 11:27:31 AM

I believe the need for cleanliness that exists to create cpus. However, how would these "specks of dust" cause problems only in hyperthreading, across all cores, but not in "turbo-boost?" Or another speck of dust kills L3 cache, but not hyperthreading. These would have to be mighty selectively distructive specks of dust to make such highly precise errors that would destroy one area of the cpu and no others.
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May 12, 2011 11:44:00 AM

wafer quality..This would be a long subject.
I myself am learning about cpus.
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May 12, 2011 12:49:01 PM

I guess my core question remains. Isn't it possible that Intel simply (well, not simply in the easy sense) but rather creates fully functioning core i7s and then takes a percentage of these "good" cpus and disables certain features on a microcode level, using some "motherboard" that none of us mere mortals have access to, in order to make core i5s and core i3s and so on???

And, with the revelation of these new "upgradable" pentiums coming into being, wouldn't that support my argument even more?
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May 12, 2011 4:01:54 PM

John Fruehe of AMD:
Quote:
Often, if you are yeilding higher than normal, you end up down binning. Let's say your normal distribution was 15% on top bin. Then you do some process improvements, and you get to 35% top bin. And maybe N-1 is up to 85%, and by N-2 you are at 100% yield. Well, every chip coming off the line is capable of at least N-2 speed at that point, but you need a bunch of N-3 and N-4 because your demand is coming in for those speeds. You end up down binning the N-2 material to N-3 or N-4. They overclock well because they could easily be rated at N-2 or better.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2037172
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May 12, 2011 11:23:55 PM

Okay, so let's suppose for the moment that all this is true. What about this new issue of "upgradable cpus?" If Intel is going to sell chips that are intentionally hobbled and that can, at some unknown future date, be "unlocked," then that implies that they are capable of making such chips with a great deal of precision and regularity. It means simply that they can create a fully functioning chip and "hobble" it and then present the end user with the option of paying extra money to unlock features.

Therefore, if this can be done, it probably is being done, at least to some degree.

But let me ask the question in another way...

Has anyone been able to "look" at a core i7 and a core i5 under appropriate magnification to determine if they may indeed be the "same" chip fundamentally?
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May 13, 2011 12:24:32 AM

kfitzenreiter said:
I guess my core question remains. Isn't it possible that Intel simply (well, not simply in the easy sense) but rather creates fully functioning core i7s and then takes a percentage of these "good" cpus and disables certain features on a microcode level, using some "motherboard" that none of us mere mortals have access to, in order to make core i5s and core i3s and so on???

And, with the revelation of these new "upgradable" pentiums coming into being, wouldn't that support my argument even more?


Yes, that is how they do it. Intel have created their product tiers that work for them and they will do what they need to supply the correct product, more likely though the binning process doesn't yield well enough where they are disabling things on a lot of chips just to serve the lower end.

Another thing you might be interested in is that Xeon 5600s come in 4 and 6 core versions. The 4-core versions are 6-core chips with 2 disabled but with the same L3 cache as the 6-core models.

This isn't really a revelation though, its been known. This is just how Intel create their product. I know some people feel that if they buy a processor that was created with more features and they have since been disabled that they are some how being wronged by the chip maker, but that isn't really how it is. Intel do it this way because it is cheaper, so the alternative is people pay more or get less for their money.
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May 13, 2011 3:53:42 AM

I doubt Intel or anyone else for that matter gives a dam% what I think, but it seems to me this practice is unethical.

If I purchase a General Motors automobile, and I choose a Buick, it isn't a "hobbled" Cadillac. I could just see it now. GM makes all Cadillacs, but smashes out the glass on some to make it a Buick or they unhook the fuel lines to two cylinders to make a Chevy. Of course this would be ridiculous.

Buyers of premium processors should be purchasing something that is special to their unit, not just something that is on all the units but was subsequently broken. Why not just let everyone have a core i7 for the same price.
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May 13, 2011 5:12:46 AM

Ok kfitz stop thinking of them "disabling" anything and instead think of them shipping you something better then what you purchased.

As example, (just theoretical)
$300 A = 3.0 GHZ 6 Core CPU
$220 B = 2.6 GHZ 6 Core CPU
$150 C = 2.6 GHZ 4 Core CPU

You decide to purchase a "B" CPU. They currently don't have any "B" CPUs available as their process has improved to the point where they don't make enough errors to create "B" CPU's. Instead they ship you an "A" CPU that has been down-clocked to make it the same as the "B" CPU you purchased. Or they might have a "B" CPU available and just ship it to you. In either case you end up with exactly what you pay for.

Basically when you order a "B" CPU one of two things might happen, you get a "B" CPU or you get an "A" clocked like a "B" CPU. If your good you should be able to clock the "A" CPU to be closer to the "A" level, but remember you didn't buy an "A" CPU you bought a "B" CPU. The other alternative is they could simply tell you "there is no more B CPU, you must give us another $80 so we can ship you an A CPU".

As for Intel making "unlockable" CPU's, there is nothing ethically wrong with that. If the user buys an "A" CPU at the same price as a "C" CPU, then later wants to upgrade it to an "A" CPU, that is fine. You get what you pay for. There is no free lunch. Intel nor any other company isn't "taking" anything away from you, you are getting ~exactly~ what you purchased. If your product is more capable then what you payed for, then its a bonus.
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May 13, 2011 8:11:49 AM

+1

These companies exist to make a profit not to provide processor goodness to everyone, so if they can sell a little of something faster and a lot of something slower vs just a little of something faster then they'll do it. No profit = no development = stuck at P3.
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May 13, 2011 10:11:35 PM

I guess my problem with it isn't that they are giving me what I "paid" for, but rather they are taking something away from me that gives them nothing.

Why hobble the processor? Why not just clock it as a "c" grade processor and then let me, if I have the technical skill, go in and raise the multiplier and/or fsb speed or whatever. They've already designed the processor. They've already diffused the die. All the materials are already there. Intel gains nothing by denying me the better processor.

If I buy a car without air conditioning, for example, it isn't a car with a/c where some mechanic drained the freon out and destroyed the compressor. The components simply ARE NOT THERE at all. If I buy a 1/2 ct diamond from a jeweler, the jeweler doesn't take a 1 ct stone and cover up 1/2 of it and call it a 1/2 ct. The other 1/2 ct ISN'T THERE AT ALL. That is the difference.
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May 13, 2011 10:46:57 PM

kfitzenreiter said:
I guess my problem with it isn't that they are giving me what I "paid" for, but rather they are taking something away from me that gives them nothing.

Why hobble the processor? Why not just clock it as a "c" grade processor and then let me, if I have the technical skill, go in and raise the multiplier and/or fsb speed or whatever. They've already designed the processor. They've already diffused the die. All the materials are already there. Intel gains nothing by denying me the better processor.

If I buy a car without air conditioning, for example, it isn't a car with a/c where some mechanic drained the freon out and destroyed the compressor. The components simply ARE NOT THERE at all. If I buy a 1/2 ct diamond from a jeweler, the jeweler doesn't take a 1 ct stone and cover up 1/2 of it and call it a 1/2 ct. The other 1/2 ct ISN'T THERE AT ALL. That is the difference.


It isn't a car or a diamond though, it is a processor. They are made differently. The markets are different. And so the business model is different. They do this because it is the most efficient way to manufacture them. Also people buying a single processor are of very little concern to a company like Intel. System vendors and retailers are their customers and they want a way to differentiate product and make larger margins for extra features and performance.
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May 13, 2011 11:13:42 PM

Umbongo said:
It isn't a car or a diamond though, it is a processor. They are made differently. The markets are different. And so the business model is different. They do this because it is the most efficient way to manufacture them. Also people buying a single processor are of very little concern to a company like Intel. System vendors and retailers are their customers and they want a way to differentiate product and make larger margins for extra features and performance.


I understand your reasoning. But the flip side is this. Since as you say, the vast majority of people never do anything but walk into a Best Buy or Office Depot or whereever and purchase an OEM machine from HP or Compaq or Dell and never, ever lay eyes on the CPU or even the heat sink and fan, why not allow "enthusiasts" such as ourselves to utilize features already there on the CPU. Make all "boxed" versions of CPU's "black editions" or unlocked versions. The work has already been done. The features are already there on the chip.

And with these new upcomming "upgradable" cpu's from intel (certain pentium and a certain chipset) you can bet the moment they are released, hackers are going to work into the wee hours trying to "unlock" the processors features without buying the upgrade card.
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May 14, 2011 12:09:39 AM

kfitzenreiter said:
I understand your reasoning. But the flip side is this. Since as you say, the vast majority of people never do anything but walk into a Best Buy or Office Depot or whereever and purchase an OEM machine from HP or Compaq or Dell and never, ever lay eyes on the CPU or even the heat sink and fan, why not allow "enthusiasts" such as ourselves to utilize features already there on the CPU. Make all "boxed" versions of CPU's "black editions" or unlocked versions. The work has already been done. The features are already there on the chip.

And with these new upcomming "upgradable" cpu's from intel (certain pentium and a certain chipset) you can bet the moment they are released, hackers are going to work into the wee hours trying to "unlock" the processors features without buying the upgrade card.


Because they can get another $100 out of you for that same product, why would they give you it for free?
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May 14, 2011 1:19:58 AM

kfitzenreiter said:
I understand your reasoning. But the flip side is this. Since as you say, the vast majority of people never do anything but walk into a Best Buy or Office Depot or whereever and purchase an OEM machine from HP or Compaq or Dell and never, ever lay eyes on the CPU or even the heat sink and fan, why not allow "enthusiasts" such as ourselves to utilize features already there on the CPU. Make all "boxed" versions of CPU's "black editions" or unlocked versions. The work has already been done. The features are already there on the chip.

And with these new upcomming "upgradable" cpu's from intel (certain pentium and a certain chipset) you can bet the moment they are released, hackers are going to work into the wee hours trying to "unlock" the processors features without buying the upgrade card.


a 2500k isnt a cadi with its back window broken its just an i5. think of it like this, maybe your thinking of it backwards, a 2600k is just the same cadi but supercharged its still the same guts but has an added supercharger.

the reason intel does what they do is because not everyone needs hyperthreading or a quad core or a high clocked power drainer. not everyone has the same needs so they make what most of the people want in the most efficient way possible.
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May 14, 2011 4:44:39 AM

But it's not just an i5, it is an i7 with hyperthreading disabled.

That's my point. They intentionally hobble it to create this false economy of "cheaper" chips, but in reality they are increasing the power drain. Less efficient chips mean chips and computers which are on longer and use more electricity. People wasting more time waiting for applications to finish.

Let me choose to turn off hyperthreading or to downclock if I want to run a fanless low-power rig or something of that nature. The vast majority of users wouldn't know how to take advantage of an unlocked multiplier if you gave them instructions printed on a sheet of paper. And by all means, charge a bit more for each cpu if they must. Why sell 75% or so of your cpu's for $75 - $160 or so and 15 - 20% for $200 - 250 and then the final few percent for $300+?? If you bump up the price of the cheapest cpus $20 - $40 or so you could recoup all of your money and offer top performance, efficiency and energy saving to all.

And it would probably spell the end of AMD, which wouldn't be good in the big picture, but would be good for Intel.

I just purchased a core i5 2400 (3.1 ghz, 3.4 ghz turbo boost) I paid about $200.00 U.S. for the cpu and it seems very good so far. For about another $100 currently through newegg I could buy a core i7 2600 (3.4 ghz, 3.8 ghz turbo boost) For close to $100 less I could buy a core i3 2100 (3.1 ghz, no turbo)

Now you can't tell me that the increase in performance of the core i7 from the core i5 is equivalent to the value of the total core i3 2100!!! In other words they charge $100 more for the core i7, presumably because it has hyperthreading and 2 megbytes more of l3 cache. For that same $100 you could (almost) buy another whole (damn decent) cpu, the core i3 2100!!!

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May 14, 2011 4:50:03 AM

Umbongo said:
Because they can get another $100 out of you for that same product, why would they give you it for free?



But they are already "giving it to me." The chip infrastructure, so to speak is already there, it has not been stripped out. I just can't use it because they switched it off at the microcode level. If some eager enough computer geek out there with too much time on his hands determined that if you run this code on this chipset it reactivates the disabled features, I once again could use it. Many AMD processors allow you to take a crack at it. A dual core becomes a stable tri-core or quad core and so on.
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May 14, 2011 12:46:06 PM

kfitzenreiter said:
Now you can't tell me that the increase in performance of the core i7 from the core i5 is equivalent to the value of the total core i3 2100!!! In other words they charge $100 more for the core i7, presumably because it has hyperthreading and 2 megbytes more of l3 cache. For that same $100 you could (almost) buy another whole (damn decent) cpu, the core i3 2100!!!


Yet people buy 2600s and 2600Ks so obviously it does have value. The only reason you are feeling cheated is because of the way they create it because it isn't the same as other manufacturing processes you have come to accept, but the alternative is that you pay more for less than you get already.
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May 14, 2011 12:57:58 PM

Umbongo is working for Intel.
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May 14, 2011 4:36:15 PM

This may be a plausable answer.

I guess at the end of the day, I am philisophically oppossed to intentionally "breaking" something in an effort to create what I call a "false economy." It would be as if I operated a small, imaginery lemonade stand in my neighborhood, fully licensed by the proper state and local agencies, of course (LOL). And then I create high-quality, full bodied lemonade in my commercial kitchen to sell at my lemonade stand.

But instead of giving more to the highest paying customers, perhaps a real lemon wedge or extra sugar sprinkles or a special keepsake glass, I simply give them the lemonade.

What I also do is give "other" customers the same lemonade that has intentionally allowed to get stale or whatever. Not that I have extra, but I want to sell them something lesser, so I do this....You get the idea.

It isn't just intel. I have been also looking at Phenom ii x2 for a system upgrade, but I decided against it because many of them are simply hobbled Phenom ii x4 or Phenom ii x3's. Now I understand that a percentage of these may actually be cpu's with defective cores, but the fact remains that many of them are, in fact, hobbled intentionally to create a false economy. To AMD's credit, at least with the right motherboard you have a shot at "unlocking" your x2 into and x3 or maybe even an x4. And that's kind of "cool" and then at least there is some gamble, some excitement to the whole process.

Instead, I opted for the Athlon ii x2 250. It seems to be very capable, has low thermals and works quite well. It doesn't seem to have anything to unlock and nothing hobbled. And I'm happy to report that on one of the "pi" speed/stability tests it trails the core i5 by only a second or so, at standard clock. (Just under 6.8 seonds compared to about 5.5 or so for the core i5) Not bad for a $60 cpu.
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May 14, 2011 4:42:29 PM

Umbongo said:
Yet people buy 2600s and 2600Ks so obviously it does have value. The only reason you are feeling cheated is because of the way they create it because it isn't the same as other manufacturing processes you have come to accept, but the alternative is that you pay more for less than you get already.


But the additional value isn't there. I can see charging a premium, but why cheat people especially when Intel is at the top of their game. It just shows where no competition would lead if AMD ever goes down for good, which I hope they don't.

Consider also the 775 cpus that they still sell. Why have these prices not come down? Certainly, these cpus are no longer the cutting-edge, top performers of yesteryear. And yet, Intel still sells them at prices comparable to and in some cases more than the new sandy bridge models. This is also a bit of a rip off.

Basic economics states that when better quality items come along the lesser ones are sold for less, but that doesn't seem to ever happen with cpus or Intel...
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May 14, 2011 4:58:55 PM

kfitzenreiter said:
But the additional value isn't there. I can see charging a premium, but why cheat people especially when Intel is at the top of their game. It just shows where no competition would lead if AMD ever goes down for good, which I hope they don't.

Consider also the 775 cpus that they still sell. Why have these prices not come down? Certainly, these cpus are no longer the cutting-edge, top performers of yesteryear. And yet, Intel still sells them at prices comparable to and in some cases more than the new sandy bridge models. This is also a bit of a rip off.

Basic economics states that when better quality items come along the lesser ones are sold for less, but that doesn't seem to ever happen with cpus or Intel...


But suppliers brought them at a price, so would you sell them cheaper than you brought them? And to not have stock the bigger sin in business as your customers will go elsewhere.

Its not cheating customers, its basic economics...
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May 14, 2011 5:06:14 PM

If you can afford i7, go and get it. you get what you pay for. look at my sig :-)
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May 14, 2011 5:22:08 PM

13thmonkey said:
But suppliers brought them at a price, so would you sell them cheaper than you brought them? And to not have stock the bigger sin in business as your customers will go elsewhere.

Its not cheating customers, its basic economics...


Yes, I understand that suppliers won't unilateraly lower their pricess, they are middle-men. I am talking about Intel. I am saying it is philisophically wrong to intentionally "hobble" a product to create a false economy and that this is exactly what Intel is doing.
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May 14, 2011 5:26:25 PM

ATi RaDEoN said:
If you can afford i7, go and get it. you get what you pay for. look at my sig :-)


Hello ATI,

Are you doing substantial gaming, video editing or heavy CAD processing?

If not, I wonder if you recieve substantially more performance than I do with my sandy bridge core i5 2400 @ 3.1 ghz (3.4 ghz turbo)??? The reason I say so is that turbo boost also "downclocks" (OMG say it isn't so....LOL) the cpu, in my case it frequently sits here, right now in fact at only 1.581 ghz, apparently saving heat and so on. If I open apps or start a pi calcuation or something it shoots immediately up to 3.4 ghz briefly and then goes back down. I chatted with intel and tech support said this was normal tubo boost behavior.

Just wondering.
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May 14, 2011 7:10:29 PM

kfitzenreiter said:
Hello ATI,

Are you doing substantial gaming, video editing or heavy CAD processing?

If not, I wonder if you recieve substantially more performance than I do with my sandy bridge core i5 2400 @ 3.1 ghz (3.4 ghz turbo)??? The reason I say so is that turbo boost also "downclocks" (OMG say it isn't so....LOL) the cpu, in my case it frequently sits here, right now in fact at only 1.581 ghz, apparently saving heat and so on. If I open apps or start a pi calcuation or something it shoots immediately up to 3.4 ghz briefly and then goes back down. I chatted with intel and tech support said this was normal tubo boost behavior.

Just wondering.

That's not 'Turbo Boost' it's 'Speedstep' and has been on Intel CPU's since the C2D's
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May 14, 2011 7:15:17 PM

Mousemonkey said:
That's not 'Turbo Boost' it's 'Speedstep' and has been on Intel CPU's since the C2D's


Hello mousemonkey,

Thanks for the info. Speedstep. I wonder why the intel tech support guy didn't mention it?

I'll have to investigate these setting in the BIOS.

I was in the dark because I sort of skipped the Core 2 Duo/Quad Era, er years. I went from a Pentium D (820) 2.8 ghz. to the core i5 2400.

Thanks.
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May 14, 2011 11:12:30 PM

kfitzenreiter said:
Yes, I understand that suppliers won't unilateraly lower their pricess, they are middle-men. I am talking about Intel. I am saying it is philisophically wrong to intentionally "hobble" a product to create a false economy and that this is exactly what Intel is doing.


bro chill out lol if you thought you were being cheated then why did you buy a 2400 instead of the un"hobbled" 2600k? I believe that your answer will be the reason intel does what they do.
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May 14, 2011 11:42:59 PM

The 486 sx was just a 486 dx with the co-processor disabled. This has been done forever and openly in the world of electronics (Even LED's are binned according to wavelength)

Again, this is done openly and not some dark secret. As you further develop your knowledge of microprocessors and their manufacture you will see why is it necessary.
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May 15, 2011 12:37:54 AM

cbrunnem said:
bro chill out lol if you thought you were being cheated then why did you buy a 2400 instead of the un"hobbled" 2600k? I believe that your answer will be the reason intel does what they do.


I recognize that it is always about the money. And yes, you are correct, I purchased the core i5 2400 instead of the 2600k because I didn't want to spend over $100 more just for hyperthreading and 2 megs of additional L3 cache. But as I said before, this additional cost which is nearly equal to the total price of the lowly core i3 2100 does not deliver the additional value of a whole other processor.

This illustrates why if we lose AMD what will happen to processor development. Progress will be stiffled and costs will skyrocket as Intel lines their pockets without providing much new technology.
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May 15, 2011 12:50:04 AM

etk said:
The 486 sx was just a 486 dx with the co-processor disabled. This has been done forever and openly in the world of electronics (Even LED's are binned according to wavelength)

Again, this is done openly and not some dark secret. As you further develop your knowledge of microprocessors and their manufacture you will see why is it necessary.


I understand WHY it is done, obviously it is intended to make more money for Intel. But why can't they take a cue from AMD and offer more "black editions" for a small premium.

The vast majority of pc's used in this country are by people who don't know a cpu from a stick of ram from a hard drive. They couldn't overclock their cpu if you put the instructions on paper taped to the side of the tower. So why does Intel feel the need to punish home brew pc builders? You can bet that Dell, HP, and all the major OEM manufacturers don't pay anywhere near the price for individual cpu's that home enthusiasts do. Why not just charge a bit more per chip from eveyone and unlock these things to gain maximum efficiency? They could even market the idea to say they were promoting efficiency and being "green" to reduce work time to reduce the time people spend in the office and so on. Less time in the office means less time with the lights on and so on and so forth.

Why break your own chips, intentionally?
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May 15, 2011 1:31:18 AM

1) The 2500k/2600k are available at a small premium, just like AMD BE's are available at a small premium on their higher end. It just so happens that Intel's higher end currently commands a higher price than AMD's-likely for the same reasons that you bought a 2400 and not a 965BE. You could have bough a 2500k for like $25 bucks more than your 2400.

2) OEM's don't get huge discounts on CPU's like they do for software. Ever notice how OEM's overclock GPU's and sell them at a premium? They would do the same thing if CPU chips were generally unlocked. Unlocked chips set up an arbitrage condition where a third party can test them and resell them at a higher price. This is what intel/amd avoid by locking most of their chips.

3) OEM's make up most of the market (especially for intel) , Intel will make whatever Dell and HP want. HP and Dell (for support reasons) do not want CPU's to be unlocked, thus they are not. Intel/AMD have both made CPU's for the enthusiast market that are unlocked, and reflective of the enthusiast market's appetite for higher end parts-the parts are all higher end. How many 2100k processors do you really think Intel would sell.
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May 15, 2011 1:57:25 AM

etk said:
1) The 2500k/2600k are available at a small premium, just like AMD BE's are available at a small premium on their higher end. It just so happens that Intel's higher end currently commands a higher price than AMD's-likely for the same reasons that you bought a 2400 and not a 965BE. You could have bough a 2500k for like $25 bucks more than your 2400.

2) OEM's don't get huge discounts on CPU's like they do for software. Ever notice how OEM's overclock GPU's and sell them at a premium? They would do the same thing if CPU chips were generally unlocked. Unlocked chips set up an arbitrage condition where a third party can test them and resell them at a higher price. This is what intel/amd avoid by locking most of their chips.

3) OEM's make up most of the market (especially for intel) , Intel will make whatever Dell and HP want. HP and Dell (for support reasons) do not want CPU's to be unlocked, thus they are not. Intel/AMD have both made CPU's for the enthusiast market that are unlocked, and reflective of the enthusiast market's appetite for higher end parts-the parts are all higher end. How many 2100k processors do you really think Intel would sell.


While it is true that I could have bought a 2500k or 2600k at a premium, $314 vs. $189 is not a "small premium." The extra value is NOT there.

I am quite certain that OEM's pay much less then you or I would at retail for the same cpu.

I agree that Dell and HP and other large scale pc manufacturers frequently dictate terms to Intel and AMD, which thus bolsters my argument that they are probably getting a better deal dollar wise than mere mortals like you or I. As for a 2100k cpu, if I had a reasonable shot at a fully unlockable 2100k that could become hyperthreaded and turbo boosted with 3 or 4 active cores, I'd say you'd sell a lot of these cpu's and you would create some excitement which is good advertising especially among the enthusiast crowd.
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May 15, 2011 2:07:08 AM

kfitzenreiter said:
While it is true that I could have bought a 2500k or 2600k at a premium, $314 vs. $189 is not a "small premium." The extra value is NOT there.

I am quite certain that OEM's pay much less then you or I would at retail for the same cpu.

I agree that Dell and HP and other large scale pc manufacturers frequently dictate terms to Intel and AMD, which thus bolsters my argument that they are probably getting a better deal dollar wise than mere mortals like you or I. As for a 2100k cpu, if I had a reasonable shot at a fully unlockable 2100k that could become hyperthreaded and turbo boosted with 3 or 4 active cores, I'd say you'd sell a lot of these cpu's and you would create some excitement which is good advertising especially among the enthusiast crowd.


if there was a 2100k it wouldnt be at the same price as it is now. but an i3 is just a dual core and not a disabled quad core. i dont think that a lot of dual core unlocked cpu's would be bought compared to a quad core and that is why they only sell quad core unlocked cpu's. also that unlocked dual core would probably be close to 150-200 dollars. worth it to you?
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May 15, 2011 5:50:40 AM

cbrunnem said:
if there was a 2100k it wouldnt be at the same price as it is now. but an i3 is just a dual core and not a disabled quad core. i dont think that a lot of dual core unlocked cpu's would be bought compared to a quad core and that is why they only sell quad core unlocked cpu's. also that unlocked dual core would probably be close to 150-200 dollars. worth it to you?


Once again my basic point is this: It wouldn't cost Intel anything to leave it unlocked. Let the enthusiast have a crack at overclocking the cpu. Why hobble your own chips when it doesn't gain Intel anything. What percentage of pc's out there are "white box" home brew pc's vs. dell, hp and so on??? Is it 10%? I doubt it is even that high. Why not let the home brew pc people "play with their toys" so to speak? I just wish they would quit hobbling their own chips creating a false economy of "broken" merchandise.
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May 15, 2011 6:21:54 AM

kfitzenreiter said:
Once again my basic point is this: It wouldn't cost Intel anything to leave it unlocked. Let the enthusiast have a crack at overclocking the cpu. Why hobble your own chips when it doesn't gain Intel anything. What percentage of pc's out there are "white box" home brew pc's vs. dell, hp and so on??? Is it 10%? I doubt it is even that high. Why not let the home brew pc people "play with their toys" so to speak? I just wish they would quit hobbling their own chips creating a false economy of "broken" merchandise.


i see what your saying but here is my opinion and you have been very easy to debate with. if intel did that then they would probably sell three to six cpu's an i3,i5,and i7 with maybe a low power consumption version of each. now that i7 will probably be about 330 dollars and the i5 around 230 dollars and the i3 around 150. why? because they are now the top in there range and therefor intel will charge top dollar for them but not everyone wants a decked out i5 or needs a high clocked one for that matter so intel lowers the specs for the people who dont need such a fast cpu and lowers the cost to other peoples price range.

basically their strategy is to have a cpu in everyones price range and within their needs.

now another reason that there are multiple cpu's within each series. this takes a front seat in laptops but a tad in desktops, power consumption. some companies want a lower power sucking monster for their pc's so intel gives them what they want.
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May 15, 2011 6:26:21 AM

I still think yields are an important part of selling cpus.Not all yields and wafer quality are the same.
I think this is the main principle behind it.Yes all the processors cost the same but yields are often not the same.Sometimes yields of higher end products would be more than lower end.Yet they cost the same vice versa.
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May 15, 2011 7:41:22 AM

companies like intel and hp would lose money backing up a cpu the amatuer could tweek. there are too many variables to fend off. heat, voltages and general settings could ruin an unprotected cpu. it's too easy for a rookie to ruin a new computer. therefore, they order chips with safety features (for them) built in. the settings aren't available in the bios, and cpu chips are locked.

it's simply too financially risky for a corporation.

my 2 cents.
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May 15, 2011 6:13:09 PM

Scouring the dark underbelly of the internet in the wee hours last night I happened upon a site that mentioned linux and microcode for various intel cpus. Apparently the linux kernel has the ability to access this information.

Now I for one will NOT be trying this out on my new PC. I'm NOT that studpid or adventurous. It is a tempting idea though.

In a related thread I was reading some gentlemen's post about trying to load the microcode for a better pentium than the one he had. This was the netburst series, but the idea was the same. Supposedly, linux can load the microcode for a "higher" grade a.k.a. "non hobbled" cpu. The idea is that the machine will be fooled into treating the cpu as a better version than it is or perhaps enabling features and so on.

Like I said before, I'm not going to chance "bricking" my new cpu in an effort to unlock hyperthreading and 2 megs of L3 cache, but it would be cool to try. I do have an older machine with a Pentium D (820) and I wonder if I could make it think it were an 830 or an 840. I probably don't have the technical mojo to make it work, but I'll bet someone out there could.

Now what say you folks out there. Suppose, just for the sake of argument that I or someone else for that matter could make this work. Would this be unethical?
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May 15, 2011 7:12:37 PM

not all the additional features would have worked.
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May 15, 2011 7:34:53 PM

ghnader hsmithot said:
not all the additional features would have worked.


You may be right. It may not work at all. Supposedly, when you reboot, cold start, the cpu resets to the old microcode so I don't know if you could start windows from grub to gain access to the hacked microcode or not.

It is all theoretical, since I'm NOT going to try this, at least not on my new system. I may get around to trying to hack my old Pentium D, but maybe not. I'm not that good with Linux, well compared to the UeberNerds anyway.

I just thought it was cool...
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May 15, 2011 7:50:03 PM

i might get around to trying it.If you give PM me the link to the kernel i would like to have a go.
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May 16, 2011 1:10:13 PM

Remember the Phenom II X3's, you know, the X4 with a disabled core? Yep, thats binning in a nutshell. You "probably" can enable that 4th core, but its not a gurantee. Likewise, you can "probably" overclock a processor 200MHz, but you never know for sure...

Quality issues aside, its also far cheaper to just down-bin everything then to have seperate wafers for every CPU out there, hence why some chips [Q6600 anyone?] tend to be great overclockers, and why some aren't.
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May 17, 2011 1:44:12 AM

The more I read kfitzenreiter's posts I come to realize he just wants a free lunch. He wants to pay the price for a "C" class CPU but feels hurt that its not an "A" class CPU. Everything else is just crap throw into the mix for flavor.

This isn't a car, or a diamond, or whatever bad analogy you want to assign to it, its a CPU based on silicon and created in a multi-billion dollar facility. This process isn't perfect and its known that imperfections render certain parts of the die unusable. These would otherwise be perfectly fine CPU's provided the unusable functions are disabled. The manufacturer has two options, throw them away as they don't meet the product specifications, or down-clock / down-feature them and sell them at a lower price point. They chose option B. Eventually a significant market demand was created for the lower processors and with high yield rates there simply wasn't enough "bad" CPU's to meet the requirement, so the manufacturer just takes otherwise perfectly good CPU's and makes them into the lower grade ones to satisfy market demand.

This is in response to a market, its not creating a fake market. Intel doesn't hold a gun to people's heads and tell them to buy this CPU or they'll shoot. People choose to purchase a product, OEM's choose a model to put in their products, the manufacturer then provides what the market demands. If Intel abandoned this practice you'd pay MORE for a CPU not less. Supply / Demand being what it is, you'd end up paying the same for a 2400 as you do a 2500 or 2600, this wouldn't make sense. Basically your advocating for the manufacture to remove an option, that or give you a free CPU. I'm guessing your thinking of the later.
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May 17, 2011 3:37:12 AM

:D 
palladin9479 said:
The more I read kfitzenreiter's posts I come to realize he just wants a free lunch. He wants to pay the price for a "C" class CPU but feels hurt that its not an "A" class CPU. Everything else is just crap throw into the mix for flavor.

This isn't a car, or a diamond, or whatever bad analogy you want to assign to it, its a CPU based on silicon and created in a multi-billion dollar facility. This process isn't perfect and its known that imperfections render certain parts of the die unusable. These would otherwise be perfectly fine CPU's provided the unusable functions are disabled. The manufacturer has two options, throw them away as they don't meet the product specifications, or down-clock / down-feature them and sell them at a lower price point. They chose option B. Eventually a significant market demand was created for the lower processors and with high yield rates there simply wasn't enough "bad" CPU's to meet the requirement, so the manufacturer just takes otherwise perfectly good CPU's and makes them into the lower grade ones to satisfy market demand.

This is in response to a market, its not creating a fake market. Intel doesn't hold a gun to people's heads and tell them to buy this CPU or they'll shoot. People choose to purchase a product, OEM's choose a model to put in their products, the manufacturer then provides what the market demands. If Intel abandoned this practice you'd pay MORE for a CPU not less. Supply / Demand being what it is, you'd end up paying the same for a 2400 as you do a 2500 or 2600, this wouldn't make sense. Basically your advocating for the manufacture to remove an option, that or give you a free CPU. I'm guessing your thinking of the later.


I don't want the cpu for free. I'm just saying basically leave the damn thing unlocked. If they sell it as stable at 2.9 Ghz and I try to run it at 3.3 Ghz and it turns out that it is unstable at that speed well then that is my tough luck, but let me try. That's all I'm saying.
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