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Sempron 140 Gets Second Core Unlocked

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments

Now more (hard)core.

We love getting more chip for our money. That's why we're into overclocking. But an even more interesting way to get more performance for free than overclocking is to unlocking extra cores.

We've seen core unlocking from the AMD Phenom II X2 and X3, but now it seems someone has figured out that the Sempron 140 can also be unlocked to restore it an Athlon II X2 state. Both chips are based on the same silicon, but the Sempron has one of its cores disabled.

If this feat is easily replicated, this could be the cheapest and most full-featured dua core processor for $40. Even better if you can overclock it too (which that same modder did, going from 2.7 GHz to 3.7 GHz).

Read more at Tech Report.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    hellwig , August 13, 2009 3:11 PM
    As with anything, don't count on this working with your sempron.

    However, according to the site, they used a 790GX with ACC. I would think you could get a cheaper motherboard, and buy a Athlon X2 you know will work properly with both cores enabled. Seriously, who's going to spend money on a 790GX but buy a $40 Sempron and hope they can get both cores working?
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    Jerky_san , August 13, 2009 3:07 PM
    If you can do that and keep the power envelope the same that would be amazing..
  • 0 Hide
    Prescott_666 , August 13, 2009 3:09 PM
    Which motherboards can unlock the second core on a Sempron 140? Any of the AM3 785s?
  • Display all 31 comments.
  • 21 Hide
    hellwig , August 13, 2009 3:11 PM
    As with anything, don't count on this working with your sempron.

    However, according to the site, they used a 790GX with ACC. I would think you could get a cheaper motherboard, and buy a Athlon X2 you know will work properly with both cores enabled. Seriously, who's going to spend money on a 790GX but buy a $40 Sempron and hope they can get both cores working?
  • -2 Hide
    ahslan , August 13, 2009 3:30 PM
    ^that is true...if you could do this with a cheap board, that would be awesome...not sure if cheap boards have this feature...
  • 4 Hide
    mtyermom , August 13, 2009 3:33 PM
    Like Hellwig said, it's nice as a proof of concept, but for the same money you can get guaranteed and reliable dual core performance for the same money.
  • -4 Hide
    hillarymakesmecry , August 13, 2009 3:53 PM
    Can I unlock/overlock the sempron in my craptacular cheapo HP laptop?
  • -7 Hide
    anamaniac , August 13, 2009 3:54 PM
    Or you could say, screw saving money, Iz want a i7 please!
  • 3 Hide
    theholylancer , August 13, 2009 3:59 PM
    some one needs to try it with the cheapo SB 710 boards.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 13, 2009 4:01 PM
    Reliable? Wouldn't be surprised if some of the Sempron's were binned out because of a defective core...even a core that might "mostly work", but fail some more obscure test case. I wouldn't use this on a PC where reliability is a consideration.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , August 13, 2009 4:09 PM
    hellwigAs with anything, don't count on this working with your sempron.However, according to the site, they used a 790GX with ACC. I would think you could get a cheaper motherboard, and buy a Athlon X2 you know will work properly with both cores enabled. Seriously, who's going to spend money on a 790GX but buy a $40 Sempron and hope they can get both cores working?

    Agreed. It does seem a bit pointless to spend all that money on a board and then just drop a $40 CPU to it. However, if it's just for the experience (and bragging rights) then this makes sense.
  • 0 Hide
    raabscuttle , August 13, 2009 4:31 PM
    bob1942Reliable? Wouldn't be surprised if some of the Sempron's were binned out because of a defective core...even a core that might "mostly work", but fail some more obscure test case. I wouldn't use this on a PC where reliability is a consideration.

    Yup, there's a reason that this got dumpped to being a "Sempron" rather than a Athlon II - these are usually the silicon that had unstability or "other issues". Sure you can do it, but exactly how reliable would that hyped up Sempron be?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 13, 2009 4:43 PM
    You can't say it's unreliable until you've actually tried it, obviously you wouldn't want to run something mission critical with it, but why not give it a try, if it crashes, just turn it off? You might wind up with a decent dual-core machine on the cheap, if not, as long as the Sempron can serve your needs, there is no problem.
  • 2 Hide
    JackNSally , August 13, 2009 5:12 PM
    If they are disabling the other core to meet demand then your chances are pretty high of unlocking the extra core. Now, if they are doing it to dump faulty chips then your chances are pretty low.
  • 2 Hide
    mtyermom , August 13, 2009 7:28 PM
    JackNSallyIf they are disabling the other core to meet demand then your chances are pretty high of unlocking the extra core. Now, if they are doing it to dump faulty chips then your chances are pretty low.


    I would imagine it's a combination of the two, depending on the yields at any given time.
  • -2 Hide
    Prescott_666 , August 13, 2009 9:00 PM
    I want to upgrade my system. Currently my main system is a Dell Precision 370 with a Pentium 4 530 3.0 MHz with Windows XP Pro. but I have an older system that I can reuse the case, floppy, DVD-RW and 300W PSU and I have a WDCWD3200AAJS SATA hard drive that I can use. I need a motherboard and processor and if I get an AM3 motherboard, DDR3 memory. Stuff like a new case, a better power supply, and more memory I can get one piece at a time

    I'm thinking of getting an AM3 785G or 790GX motherboard. If I get something like a Phenom 955 processor, that's pretty much it forever. I'm not going to pull and throw away a $200 processor. So when the 32mn processors come out next year, I'll look at them and read the specs, but I won't get one.

    But if I get the $40 Sempron, that's a different story. Then I can get a 32nm AM3 Phenom (Phenom III?) for a couple hundred bucks and throw the Sempron away.
  • -1 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , August 14, 2009 6:59 AM
    hellwigAs with anything, don't count on this working with your sempron.However, according to the site, they used a 790GX with ACC. I would think you could get a cheaper motherboard, and buy a Athlon X2 you know will work properly with both cores enabled. Seriously, who's going to spend money on a 790GX but buy a $40 Sempron and hope they can get both cores working?

    I get your point, but I bought one of those boards (msi) in april or may along with a cheap athlon 5050e - I don't remember what that processor was offered for, but I know it wasn't by any means the most expensive one.
  • -1 Hide
    amnotanoobie , August 14, 2009 9:52 AM
    neiroatopelccI get your point, but I bought one of those boards (msi) in april or may along with a cheap athlon 5050e - I don't remember what that processor was offered for, but I know it wasn't by any means the most expensive one.


    But buying a Sempron and unlocking a core would be a $40 gamble for your case. If you have extra $40 that you could spare, then you're welcome to try, though you need to make sure that the other disabled core was disabled due to demand rather than being faulty.
  • -1 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , August 14, 2009 10:14 AM
    amnotanoobieBut buying a Sempron and unlocking a core would be a $40 gamble for your case. If you have extra $40 that you could spare, then you're welcome to try, though you need to make sure that the other disabled core was disabled due to demand rather than being faulty.

    I've yet to hear about anyone breaking the cpu by trying to unlock a core. Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and you have to reset the bios and just live with hte performance you bought in the first place.
  • -1 Hide
    Prescott_666 , August 14, 2009 10:26 AM
    Which 790GX motherboards have ACC and have successfully unlocked the second core? ASRock M3A790GXH/128M AM3; MSI 790GX-G65 AM3; GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3; DFI LP JR 790GX-M3H5 AM3; ASUS M4A78T-E AM3; or others?
  • -1 Hide
    amnotanoobie , August 14, 2009 10:31 AM
    neiroatopelccI've yet to hear about anyone breaking the cpu by trying to unlock a core. Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and you have to reset the bios and just live with hte performance you bought in the first place.


    It was highlighted on the core unlocking article by Tom's. How do you validate that the core does fully work?

    It's not about breaking the cpu (which is near impossible for unlocking a core), but it's a gamble for the person. It might be a $40 well-spent or a $40 waste for the other guy (since he already has a better cpu).
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