Intel Upgrade Service

The Intel Upgrade Service was a relatively short-lived and controversial program of Intel that allowed some low-end processors to have additional features unlocked by paying a fee and obtaining an activation code that was then entered in a software program, which ran on Windows 7.

An example of an Intel Upgrade Card

The program was introduced in September 2010 for the Clarkdale-based Pentium G6951 desktop processor (operating at 2.8 GHz), and immediately met with criticism from the specialist press.[1][2][3][4][5] For a $50 fee, this processor could have one additional megabyte of cache enabled, as well hyper-threading, making it almost like the Core i3-530, except for the slightly lower frequency that remained unchanged—the i3-530 operated at 2.93 GHz.[3] The official designation for the software-upgraded processor was Pentium G6952.[3] In order for the activation software to work, the motherboard had to have the DH55TC or DH55PJ chipset.[1] One reviewer noted that at the market price of the time one could actually buy the i3-530 for only $15 more than the baseline Pentium G6951, making the upgrade premium card a very questionable proposition at the official price.[6]

The program was extended in 2011 to the Sandy Bridge series of processors as follows:[7]

  • the Core i3-2312M (2.1 GHz, 3 MB cache) laptop processor could be upgraded to the Core i3-2393M with higher frequency and more cache (2.5 GHz, 4 MB cache)
  • the Core i3-2102 (3.1 GHz, 3 MB cache) desktop processor could be upgraded to the Core i3-2153 with a higher frequency (3.6 GHz)
  • the Pentium G622 desktop processor (2.6 GHz, 3 MB cache) could be upgraded to the Pentium G693 with a higher frequency (3.2 GHz)

The Sandy Bridge upgrade program was available in U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, the Netherlands, Germany, the Philippines, and Indonesia.[8]

Intel initially defended the program,[8] but it was eventually discontinued in 2011.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Paul, Ian. "Intel's Annoying Pilot Program Offers Chip Upgrade for a Fee". PCWorld. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  2. ^ Cooper, Daniel. "The Intel Upgrade Service: Once again charging you $50 to do stuff your CPU already does". Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  3. ^ a b c Bright, Peter (2010-09-22). "Intel's upgradable processor: good sense or utter catastrophe?". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  4. ^ Kingsley, Adrian (2010-09-19). "Facepalm of the Day: Intel charges customers $50 to unlock CPU features". ZDNet. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  5. ^ Cory Doctorow at 12:09 am Sun, Sep 19, 2010 (2010-09-19). "Intel + DRM: a crippled processor that you have to pay extra to unlock". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2013-12-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Intel returns to upgrade cards for more of their crippled parts | PC Perspective". Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  7. ^ "Intel to Offer CPU Upgrades via Software for Selected Models". AnandTech. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  8. ^ a b "Intel: Processor Upgrade Program Saves Tearing Apart PC". PCWorld. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  9. ^ "Intel Services - Program Information". 2012-02-22. Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2013-12-25.