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Turn a 3-Core AMD Phenom 2 into a 4-Core

We received word that a Korean hardware review site has managed to turn a triple-core Phenom II X3 710 into a 4 core CPU.

Apparently, the quick switcheroo requires a Biostar motherboard says the site, but customers boards that have the same BIOS options can try the same technique out. The BIOS option to enable the 4th core is called Advanced Clock Calibration, and when set to Auto, turns on the 4th core.

From our experience, when AMD or Intel ships a processor with a core disabled at manufacturing, it's because the disabled core isn't performing up to snuff with the other core(s). We'd be interested in knowing if users experience any bugs with the 4th core enabled.

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The processor shows up with 4 cores in Windows, and according to benchmarks posted by the site, the 4th core had a real impact on scores. Those with 3-core Phenom II's, try this out!

(Images courtesy of: playwares.com)

  • bustapr
    I first thought of gatting a budget core 2 quad but this really sounds like more bang for the buck. That is if it has minimal bugs.
    Reply
  • kyeana
    hmm interesting. I wonder how that effects stability and overclocking?
    Reply
  • scryer_360
    It worked! Just loaded a 710, and just like the article says, switching ACC to "Auto" on a biostar board now has me reading 4 cores on the bios loading screen.

    The thing is, in order to make the 3 core processor, AMD has to test a processor bad. With millions of the things running down the line, they are probably testing a few samples from a batch (this is industry practice right?). So if one is testing bad, they just take the whole batch down to three cores. That means others in a batch are still good. I wonder if the same isn't achievable with non-biostar boards?
    Reply
  • scryer_360
    Though, this has to happen to Intel as well. Why does AMD intentionally harm the bottom line by creating a product that fills no market, unless the product is priced way below the desired finish (that is, the only reason to buy a triple core is that it'd be cheaper than a four core, but AMD is making four cores into triple cores).
    Reply
  • jsloan
    like with video cards, because a manufacturer sells it with 3 cores actives does not mean the 4th won't work, it may and it may not.

    sometime they because of demand they are forced to ship what would have been 4 cores as 3 cores, but they don't want to lower their 4 core prices, but can't produce enough of them for the demand so they will quietly ship the good 4 core ones as 3 core ones. this happens.

    so people should try and then run extensive testing of the core. maybe it had a small flaw the results in periodic errors or errors only with certain operations. one just has to test, test, test.
    Reply
  • leo2kp
    scryer_360Though, this has to happen to Intel as well. Why does AMD intentionally harm the bottom line by creating a product that fills no market, unless the product is priced way below the desired finish (that is, the only reason to buy a triple core is that it'd be cheaper than a four core, but AMD is making four cores into triple cores).
    That would be true unless the 4th core is actually failing their tests. So instead of throwing the whole thing away, why not sell it as a 3-core for less? They end up making a lot more money that way because they're selling what they would otherwise call "garbage".
    Reply
  • AndyYankee17
    yeah, you take a $200 hunk of junk and salvage it for cheap, my bet is that they're taking a loss on the X3's
    Reply
  • scryer_360
    leo2kp is right though: if the 4 core doesn't work, what would otherwise be trash you can at least get some money out of as a 3 core. Still, in order to satisfy 3 core demand, AMD must be taking batches that had a small failure rate (and remember, if the few samples per batch have a fail, that doesn't mean all the processors in the batch do), they would have to canabalize good 4 cores to make some 3 core chips as nessecary. Unless sales of three core chips are low enough to just use "scraps."
    Reply
  • hellwig
    How do you take a loss on something that you would otherwise throw away? At a minimum, selling X3's recoups some of that loss, assuming they don't actually make a profit off it, which I'm sure they do.

    Its the same way the Radeon 4870 and 4850 are the same chip, but the 4870 is higher-clocked and uses much faster GDDR5 memory. Re-tooling the production line is where the cost in incurred. The more products you can make out of a single process, the better.

    Chip makers have for ages been using a single chip and making minor mods to create different products. The old Intel Celeron was just a Pentium with some cache disabled. A Core i7 920 and 975 Extreme are essentially the same chip, the 920 just has a small, locked multiplier while the much more expensive extreme just has an unlocked multiplier.

    Reply
  • Kent_Diego
    This is an obvious hoax. Enabling a disabled core from a motherboard setting is silly. You at least need to draw a pencil line on the chip substrate.
    Reply