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Intel Testing Coded Processor Upgrades

by Sean P. Aune | September 20, 2010September 20, 2010 12:00 pm PST

For those of us who play video games, we know all about the “enter a code, get something that’s hiding on the game anyway” gimmick. And even with Windows 7 you really have every version of the operating system on your computer, it’s just a matter of which code that is entered which sets which features you have access to. However, we’ve never seen anyone do this with hardware before, but Intel seems to think it’s a good idea.

Engadget received a reader tip this weekend that the card you see pictured below was found at a Best Buy and it pretty much says it all.  You buy a certain processor and later decide you need more power, you buy this card for $50, enter the  code and unlock more features of your chip.

Intel Upgrade Card

It’s definitely real as it’s discussed on the Intel site, but for now it just appears to be a test on certain chips, and even then it may only be regional for the time being.

The initial reaction has been pretty negative across the blogosphere, but there is one upside I can see to it. How many times have you bought something in the low or mid-range and then decided after a few weeks you messed up by not going for more power?  This is certainly a better option than buying a whole new chip.  It makes it a bit more palatable, but it still isn’t that great of a situation.

If this expands to a national situation it should be interesting if it is with all Intel chips, or if it will be limited to only certain levels of processors, such as the bargain kind found in Walmart Black Friday special deals, or is it will expand to chips of all budget levels.

I’ve still got some mixed feelings on the idea, but in general I’m not in love with it.

What say you?  If you had one of these chips would you feel cheated by not having all the features unlocked right away?

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...