New Asus motherboard tries to unlock "hidden" cores on AMD processors

Summary:Here's an interesting product that DIYers might embrace and system builders may tread warily around. Asus' new M4A89GTD PRO motherboard, based around AMD's new 890GX chipset, has the skills to circumvent the design of certain AMD multi-core processors.

Here's an interesting product that DIYers might embrace and system builders may tread warily around. Asus' new M4A89GTD PRO motherboard, based around AMD's new 890GX chipset, has the skills to circumvent the design of certain AMD multi-core processors. The chip maker disables a core when creating certain dual-core and three-core CPUs, and Asus has devised a Core Unlocker switch and placed it on its board. When enabled, the switch attempts to open up those disabled cores for more bang for your computing buck.

According to PC Magazine, Asus doesn't guarantee that the Core Unlocker will succeed with every processor, and while AMD won't say if using the board's feature on your CPU will void its warranty, it did say that it won't official support the motherboard's feature. Sounds like a dare for those who build and overclock their own systems in the face of voiding their warranties already. Especially since the M4A89GTD Pro includes Asus' TurboV EVO processor to help you find the highest clock speed to overclock to while keeping your system stable.

Would a boutique builder try to use this board to unlock processors for its customers, guaranteeing them with their own warranties, as some do now with factory-set overclocking? Would "get a quad-core processor for the price of a three-core CPU" work as a value proposition against the competition? We'll keep an eye out to see if any desktop makers take a chance on this motherboard and its Core Unlocker feature.

Topics: Hardware, Enterprise Software, Legal, Processors

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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