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Asus Board Unlocks CPU Cores

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From ExtrmeTech:


On Tuesday, Asus launched the M4A89GTD PRO motherboard, with a novel feature: the ability to "unlock," or enable processor cores that a user hasn't paid for.


Specifically, the motherboard will try to power up cores that AMD itself has disabled; for example, the motherboard may try to power up a dual-core chip into a triple-core or quad-core processor, or a triple-core into a quad-core processor.


The M4A89GTD PRO takes advantage of the fact that on certain chips, what is marketed as a dual- or triple-core processor may actually have other cores present on the chip. In general, however, AMD disabled those cores to deliver optimal performance. Toggling a "Core Unlocker" switch on the motherboard, however, tries to turn them on again.


AMD representatives wouldn't commit to stating that using the Core Unlocker feature would void the AMD processor warranty, but representatives wouldn't endorse it, either. "AMD does not officially support this feature," said Adam Kozak, AMD's manager of product marketing, in a statement.


Even Asus adds a caveat: "Not all processors are supported nor will all supported processors operated [sic] correctly with unlocked cores," the company added in a statement. Asus did not say which processors the Core Unlocker feature would support.


The M4A89GTD PRO is based on the latest AMD 890GX chipset, also launched on Monday. It supports both the integrated graphics core as well as discrete GPUs. A "GPU Boost" utility will overclock the integrated graphics core via voltage and frequency adjustments.


From a connectivity standpoint, the motherboard adds a pair of external USB 3.0 ports (if the "/USB3" derivative is purchased), one of the first to do so. Asus also claimed that the board is the first to use a SATA 6-Gbps interface.


The M4A89GTD PRO includes the Turbo V EVO processor, designed to help tune the board to a stable frequency and voltage, including overclocking.


The M4A89GTD PRO is available for $155 (with USB 3.0 support) or for $145 (without it).

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Nothing really special about this other than Asus is now advertising that it can do it and added an auto function in the bios to do so. For the most part you have been able to unlock cores on CPU's that can be unlocked like this for a while now as long as the board had either the SB750 or SB710, with the ACC (Automatic Clock Control) option in the bios.


Still a crapshoot whether the CPU's like that (x2 or x3) can be unlocked and have 4 fully functional cores. Still better if you want a quad core to get a quad core.

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