Intel’s Gift for Enthusiasts – Affordable Chips with Unlocked Multipliers Page: 1

Intel is gearing up to woo enthusiasts; plans are afoot by the tech major for the release of inexpensive CPUs with unlocked multipliers specifically for overclocking. If and when the release comes through, it would make life easier for overclockers as they would not have to spend big on personal computers.

Traditionally, neither Intel nor AMD were known for unlocking their CPUs for overclocking as they fear this might damage the chips. But the enthusiast market is notorious for pushing the clock-speeds of anything and everything they can get their hands on, so there isn’t much meaning in trying to keep it down. Over time, both AMD and Intel have started designing chips that have unlocked multipliers specifically for overclockers. AMD was the first to break the price barrier with its Black Edition chips back in 2007.

Now Intel seems to be ready to join the overclocking game. In an interview with Tweakers.net, marketing head for Intel’s chipset division Steve Peterson revealed that the company is looking at new affordable models with unlocked multipliers. While he did not reveal much, Peterson did say that the chips would be created for the LGA1156 form-factor and will be based on the Lynnfield and Clarkdale series of Core i-branded chips.

Intel already has Turbo Boost available on these chipsets, which automatically overclocks those processing cores that are needed and shuts down those that are not in use. With unlocked multipliers, it would be interesting to see how Turbo Boost works, because the system turns itself off if any of Intel’s modern Extreme Edition microprocessors are overclocked. If that’s the case then enthusiasts will have to rely on their own skills for generating extreme speeds from single-threaded or dual-threaded applications or overclocking an inexpensive four-core chip.

This move of offering chips with unlocked multipliers is not a first for Intel; the company already carried out a pilot in China in August 2009 when it sold its Pentium 6500K CPUs with an unlocked multiplier. The company had plans to use the pilot as a base for the decision to launch similar CPUs across the world.

Looks like the results from the pilot must have been encouraging enough, because Intel is ready to roll out new unlocked chips.

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