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Exclusive: ASUS Core Unlocker to offer six Phenom II cores for the price of four

by Parm Mann on 16 April 2010, 13:37

Tags: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Phenom II X4 960T, ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaxwd

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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.



HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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Are those screenshots from a Hexus testbed then? And if so, have you just broken NDA by confirming that AMD have sent you a sample of the X4 960T? ;)

And, does that also mean we can expect full on reviews of the hexa-core parts soon?
These new quad core parts will be hexacore Thubans that FAILED the tests to become full hexacore products. So not all chips will be able to be unlocked, as this article suggests.
borandi
These new quad core parts will be hexacore Thubans that FAILED the tests to become full hexacore products. So not all chips will be able to be unlocked, as this article suggests.
Not necessarily. It depends on both demand and yield. If there isn't sufficient demand for the 6-core products, then it's likely that working 6-core silicon will be packaged up as a 4-core product to keep up with orders.

But of course, as with anything that can be unlocked to go faster/have more or something, it's never been officially certified as fit for that purpose, so might indeed not be up to the task.