intels used to unlock ES samples. now they lock the ES samples and unlock the retail. *shrugs* idk what is up with that now. the cherry pick myth cannot be confirmed or denied. as for them being inferior to retail will be an argument till the end of days. its before they got all the bugs with the instruction set worked out, so it may or may not be compatible. from what i have seen, it typically isnt a problem unless you go update your bios whenever a new revision comes out. as for them costing more, your mileage may vary GREATLY. sometimes you can find an ES sample on ebay for super cheap, and other times it costs way more. and as with any ES sample, its advised to tweak the performance the way you see fit. if you are looking to pop it in and go, might not be for you. but if you like saving some bucks but end up having to spend time on it, it might be up your alley. ES samples have 0 warranty of any type. Also it should be noted ES samples are illegal to own, yadda yadda yadda, intel confidential police will raid your home, yadda yadda yadda, its not ethical to purchase one, yadda yadda yadda, if you buy one you kill puppies and kittens.