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Sandy bridge-E core unlockability?

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November 21, 2011 12:34:58 PM

Hi!
I have recently seen the picture of sandy bridge-e's die, and it seems based upon the xeon sandy bridge-ep 8-core chip.
This is the first time intel cuts out some cores on its processors, so i wonder, would it in the future be possible (with special motherboards and custom BIOSes) to unlock the two remaining cores and maybe the cache, too; just like with AMD, where in some processors you can "turn on" the fourth core (on tri-core processors) and 5th and 6th cores (on a quad core one)?
Because that would turn into a 1500$+ xeon...
a c 102 à CPUs
November 21, 2011 12:52:52 PM

I don't think Intel have ever had unlockable cores on any CPU ever. I think (total guess) that any chips with 1 or 2 defective cores end up with OEMs as Celerons with boards with no options to tinker with at all.
November 21, 2011 12:53:12 PM

I don't think Intel would be cheap on it's method of disabling cores. Most probably they're laser cut.
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November 21, 2011 1:09:40 PM

simon12 said:
I don't think Intel have ever had unlockable cores on any CPU ever. I think (total guess) that any chips with 1 or 2 defective cores end up with OEMs as Celerons with boards with no options to tinker with at all.

It's probable, but since this is an unlocked core i7 there could be some possibility...
November 21, 2011 1:10:51 PM

Filiprino said:
I don't think Intel would be cheap on it's method of disabling cores. Most probably they're laser cut.

Yes but to my information so are AMD's, and that's the reason why the unlocking method only works on a tot. of processors in a batch, not on all of them...
a b à CPUs
November 21, 2011 1:21:47 PM

No, the 2 other cores are fused off. It's very very unlikely that you will be able to simply unlock it. Even if you could, it would severely hinder the overclockability of the CPU, so it won't be any better really.
a c 80 à CPUs
November 21, 2011 1:28:26 PM

pogodrummer said:
It's probable, but since this is an unlocked core i7 there could be some possibility...

intel defines unlocking in a bit different way. their version of unlocked processor means that the user is allowed to tinker with the cpu within the limits intel sets.
November 21, 2011 3:11:48 PM

i think the only reason amd's were unlocked were they were to cheap to laser the cores off properly thinking noone would ever find out, although once this stared driving alot of sales to their cheap processors, they continued the practice
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November 21, 2011 4:07:19 PM

I have read that cores 7 and 8 on the die for the Intel® Core™ i7-3960X Extreme Edition processors have been laser cut. I think that it is safe to assume that we have no intension of making them able to be "unlocked".

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
November 21, 2011 4:48:30 PM

de5_Roy said:
intel defines unlocking in a bit different way. their version of unlocked processor means that the user is allowed to tinker with the cpu within the limits intel sets.

Yes of course i know intel defines limits, who doesn't?
The point i have is that being unlocked could mean that it has some degree of freedom, and one day maybe a modified bios could use that freedom to somehow gain access to core 6 and 7
November 21, 2011 4:49:30 PM

we1shcake said:
i think the only reason amd's were unlocked were they were to cheap to laser the cores off properly thinking noone would ever find out, although once this stared driving alot of sales to their cheap processors, they continued the practice

i thought laser cutting a chip was the same for all manufacturers...
November 21, 2011 4:53:04 PM

IntelEnthusiast said:
I have read that cores 7 and 8 on the die for the Intel® Core™ i7-3960X Extreme Edition processors have been laser cut. I think that it is safe to assume that we have no intension of making them able to be "unlocked".

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team

Thank you Christian for replying :) 
But the intention was the same with AMD, they laser cut some cores to create a cheaper chip, so in theory, if the laser cutting was not perfect (it is said that this was the problem with AMD chips, unappropriate laser cutting), the cores could somehow be unlocked...
However you are an intel intern and i have zero information on this, so you're the BAWS here :p 
a b à CPUs
November 21, 2011 4:57:37 PM

He's right, if you read Tom's Harware's review on this chip it says they were laser cut out.
!