Soon after it was announced in April, reports came in that the core-locked Thuban quad 960T could have its disabled cores enabled and still be overclocked to some solid speeds. Thus, overclockers grew hopeful of a cheaper, overclockable hex-core, much like how the Athlon X2 555 was as a quad. Unfortunately, it seems their hopes have just been dashed.
According to eTeknix, AMD has let it be known that the Phenom II X4 960T will not make it to retail channels. Instead, it will likely only be provided to OEMs that, of course, make use of motherboards that do not have such extended features.
"I've been asked the question about whether there will be a Phenom II X4 960T "Thuban" quad-core by enough individuals, that I think it is a good idea to proactively share the answer to everyone," says an e-mail sent out by AMD. "While there are indeed engineering CPU samples floating around of a 4-core Thuban 960T, I do not expect that processor will be released for general availability. Perhaps it may make its way to OEMs by special request, but that remains to be seen."
The reasoning behind this move appears to be the "bad publicity" AMD received when not all of the X3 tri-cores were able to unlock, despite their your-mileage-may-vary warnings.
This is certainly a blow to more budget-minded clockers. One can only hope they change their minds later and decide to release a similar part to the masses.