If you've enjoyed unlocking hidden cores on AMD Phenom CPUs in recent years, you're going to love what's in store with certain upcoming parts.
As you're no doubt aware, AMD is preparing to launch its first hexa-core parts for the desktop as part of the Phenom II X6 line, codenamed Thuban. What's interesting is that the launch will also be joined by a new quad-core part; the Phenom II X4 960T, codenamed Zosma.
What we've heard about the chip to date has been merely speculation, but we've now reason to believe the X4 960T is indeed a full-fat Thuban processor underneath - only, with two disabled cores. Clocked at 3GHz, the seemingly quad-core chip has all the inner workings of the hexa-core Thuban architecture - right down to the 6MB of L3 cache, 512KB of L2 cache per core and Turbo CORE technology.
And you know what that means, right? Yep, that means you should be able to unlock those two hidden cores with nothing more than a little jiggery pokery. Better still, for those wanting a hassle-free solution, pop the chip into an ASUS board - here's one we reviewed earlier - and ASUS's Core Unlocker technology will scan your processor and automatically enable any working cores or caches that were previously hidden.
The proof of a pudding is in the eating. Here's the Phenom II X4 960T running out the box with its standard four cores.
Enable ASUS's Core Unlocker and hey presto - what once was four is now six. We can't guarantee it'll work with every Phenom II X4 960T processor, but if you're lucky you'll be in for a surprise treat.
Why not just buy a Phenom II X6 from the off? Well, we all enjoy getting our hands on a bargain, and though there's no official pricing yet, this could soon be the cheapest way to get a hexa-core processor. We reckon it could fall close to the £120 mark.
ASUS Core Unlocker is currently supported on the company's M4A89GTD Pro and M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 motherboards. Expect to see another wave of supporting boards introduced in the coming weeks.