As part of a pilot program available in just a few countries, chipmaker Intel is testing whether customers are willing to buy a computer with one level of performance, then paying extra money down the road to unlock increased performance.
Unlike many shareware programs over the years – few, if any, of which have ever worked – the Intel Upgrade Service can make a noticeable difference in performance. Built around (for now) the Pentium G6951 CPU, the Upgrade Service unlocks the full 1MB of L3 cache and enables HyperThreading on the low-end processor.
While unlocking vendor-locked hardware features is not a new concept – after all, people have been unlocking AMD’s cores for a long time – this is the first a company like Intel has tried to charge for it.
The above example is part of the trial, which enables the previously-mentioned features on the Gateway SX2841 slim desktop.
While extra performance, especially when it’s so easy to get, it always welcome, it doesn’t come cheap. Intel expects customers to spend fifty bucks for this example, with the possibility of more or less being charged in the future, depending on the level of performance unlocked.
The possibility of extra revenue streams is undoubtedly attractive to system builders and larger vendors, but customers who already feel nicked-and-dimed might resist the idea.
Sound out in the comments – would you be interested in a service like this?