We know that companies in the technology industry are always looking for ways to increase profits and improve margins.  One way they do that is by offering higher speeds for faster components – a dual-core CPU costs less than a quad-core and a GTS 450 costs less than a GTX 480.  Everything is fair in love and computers, right?

Well what about this: Intel is now selling plastic scratch off upgrade cards in Best Buy stores (and likely others) that allows buyers of systems with Pentium G6951 processors to download software to unlock additional performance.

Intel selling scratch-off software CPU upgrades - Processors 2

The card says it right on the front there: “An increase from 2 to 4-way multi-task processing; Larger cache”.  By downloading this software off the web you are basically enabling HyperThreading technology and unlocking the other half of the L3 cache already on board.  I know that my first though was disgust and anger that Intel would simply be disabling technology on their CPUs so they up-charge you at the register.  But is this any different than what we are used to today?

Look at the processor line up as it exists today and you’ll see that as we progress down the Intel lineup there is already an “artificial” feature degradation.  Core i3 processors do not have Turbo Boost technology even though they are the same die as the Core i5 processors sold for additional cost.  Also, if you look at the retail version of the Pentium G6950 sells for $99 today and does not have HyperThreading enabled; the Core i3-530 runs at similar frequency but does have HT enabled but sells for $115.

Intel is basically asking consumers to pay $50 for an upgrade that is worth less than $15 but I guess you do pay for some of the convenience of the software-based, after the fact upgrade. 

What do YOU think?  Is this just another way to get a basic processor upgrade or does the fact that this is being done completely in software at the register change things in your mind?  Let us know!