Pentium G6951 - the first upgradeable Intel processor
Many computer enthusiasts are familiar with locked features on AMD Athlon II and Phenom II microprocessors, that is when a CPU is manufactured with a standard set of features, but certain features, like extra cores or L3 cache, are "turned off" due to internal defects or other reasons. Buying one of these processors and using well known method of unlocking the features gives people a chance to "upgrade" their CPU for free. Intel decided to take this approach to a new level, where a processor is released with locked features, that can be unlocked for a price. The first such processor is Pentium G6951.
Pentium G6951 has the same specifications as Pentium G6950. Based on 32 nm Clarkdale core, the CPU has two cores clocked at 2.8 GHz, includes 3 MB shared L3 cache and supports all basic Westmere technologies, plus Virtualization. Previously we speculated that the G6951 may have higher-clocked graphics controller, but at this point we're not sure if this is true. Some time ago we found on Intel website that Pentium G6951 is a part of "Intel Upgrade Service" program. The "Intel Upgrade Service" was introduced more than a year ago, and it was initially used to add manageability and accessibility features, such as Access monitoring, Automatic remote alerts, Active Management Technology and others, to Intel hardware. This year Intel started a pilot program, based on Pentium G6951 CPU coupled with Intel DH55TC or DH55PJ motherboard, which for the first time allows customers to upgrade their CPUs without replacing them. According to Intel website, the upgrade procedure is straightforward:
We were not sure what kind of performance upgrade Intel talked about, until earlier today hardware.info posted detailed article about the G6951 microprocessor. According to the article, the processor can have HyperThreading feature enabled, and the size of L3 cache can be increased from 3 MB to 4 MB. Upgraded processor is identified as Pentium G6952. Upgrades to Pentium G6952 have part number G6951CPUUPGRD, and they are already available in online stores for as low as $55. If this pilot program goes well, like the pilot program with the Pentium E6500K microprocessor, then we may see more upgradeable Intel CPUs in the future.