Intel Releases 3 "Upgrade Cards" for Sandy Bridge

Less than a year ago, reports pointed to a scratch-off "upgrade card" Intel was selling that enabled additional features on the Pentium G6951 processor. For $50 USD, owners of that specific CPU could purchase the card at any participating retailer, download software straight from Intel, and then use the number printed underneath the scratch-off surface. This unlocked a full 1 MB of L3 cache and HyperThreading support.

Eleven months later, Intel has released three more scratch-off upgrade cards for second-generation Sandy Bridge processors including the Core i3-2312M processor, the Core i3-2102 processor and the Pentium G622 processor. All three receive increased-yet-unspecified clock speeds thanks to the upgrade, but the Core i3-2312M, its SKU changed to the i3-2393M after the upgrade, receives additional cache. Depending on the application, the revved i3-2312M will be 10 to 19-percent faster, the i3-2102 (or i3-2153) will be 11 to 15-percent faster, and the Pentium G622 (or Pentium G693) will be 15 to 23-percent faster.

Although Intel didn't provide actual upgrade numbers, AnandTech speculates that the i3-2312M, which ships clocked at 2.1 GHz with 3 MB of L3 cache, may be cranked up to 2.5 GHz and an extra 1 MB of L3 cache. The i3-2102 (3.1 GHz, 3 MB) could be 3.6 GHz after the upgrade and the Pentium G622 (2.6 GHz, 3 MB) could be 3.2 GHz after the upgrade. These numbers are based on the performance gains Intel reported in its press release.

Right now it's unclear how much these upgrade cards will cost although it's assumed to be $50 as before. But as pointed out, this may be a costly upgrade for Pentium G622 users who originally paid around $65 for the CPU. Then again, these upgrade cards may be ideal for those who purchased OEM PCs and can't physically upgrade the CPU without voiding the warranty.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
98 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • bak0n
    So if I'm understanding this correctly, Intel is selling a faster CPU that you have to pay extra to fully use?
    27
  • big_BDS
    This is the dumbest thing ever, will just go with AMD then I know what I'm paying for is what I'm getting.
    24
  • Anonymous
    You do realize that the lower end processors are just high end processors with certain features disabled?

    AMD does not make ANY triple core processors, they are quads with one core disabled...

    Pretty much every modern intel has the architecture to support hyperthreading, it's just disabled on certain models by the firmware.
    22
  • Other Comments
  • bak0n
    So if I'm understanding this correctly, Intel is selling a faster CPU that you have to pay extra to fully use?
    27
  • big_BDS
    This is the dumbest thing ever, will just go with AMD then I know what I'm paying for is what I'm getting.
    24
  • jblack
    Wouldn't it be great if Intel would tell you exactly what you were getting instead of "15% faster" with increases in Frequency/Cache?

    I've looked on Intel's site and they don't list the specs for the upgraded models anywhere.
    15