It was about this time last year that Intel decided to try out software CPU upgrades – with a card that you could buy at many electronics stores, a software program could unlock clock speeds, cache and more. It seems that the program was a success, too – this week, Intel announced the program’s return.
The chipmaker won’t be rolling the service out to the high-end of the market; instead, you can expect budget desktops all over to be approved for the upgrades. After spending $50 and picking a card up at the checkout (just like last year!) you’ll be able to punch in a code and once more, improve the processor’s frequency and/or cache level.
Users with a Core i3-2312M can win an i3-2393M out of it, the Core i3-2102 goes to the Core i3-2153, and the Pentium G622 can be upgraded to the Pentium G693 processor. Gains won’t be mind-blowing, but in certain tasks, they’ll certainly be noticeable; Intel is promising gains of between ten and twenty percent, depending on which CPU and which task you’re trying to accomplish.
It may seem criminal for Intel to nickel and dime its users to unlock functionality on a product they already own, but the program can allow the company to offer a product to customers and OEMs that might not be able to afford it otherwise. If they want to gain the additional benefits later on, they can pick up an upgrade card. Check out a full list of benefits at Intel’s Retail Upgrade Service website.