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Product binning is the categorizing of finished products based on their characteristics.[1] In order to undergo binning, manufactured products require testing, usually performed by machines in bulk. Binning allows large variances in performance to be condensed into a smaller number of marketed designations.[2] This ensures coherency in the marketplace, with tiers of performance clearly delineated. The immediate consequence of this practice is that, for liability reasons, products sold under a certain designation must meet that designation at a minimum. Individual products may still exceed advertised performance. Different bins usually have different model numbers and prices[example needed].

In semiconductor manufacturingEdit


Semiconductor manufacturing is an imprecise process, sometimes achieving as low as 30% yield.[3] Defects in manufacturing are not always fatal, however; in many cases it is possible to salvage part of a failed batch of integrated circuits by modifying performance characteristics. For example, by reducing the clock frequency or disabling non-critical parts that are defective, the parts can be sold at a lower price, fulfilling the needs of lower-end market segments.[4][2]

This practice occurs throughout the semiconductor industry on products such as CPUs, RAM, and GPUs.[2]

Speed bumpEdit

A speed bump, in computer terms, is a slight increase in frequency (e.g., from 1.8 to 1.9 GHz) or a slight increase in functionality (e.g. Intel Core i7-8700K to i7-8086K[3]). Some time after the initial release of a product, manufacturers may choose to increase the clock frequency of an integrated circuit for a variety of reasons, ranging from improved yields to more conservative speed ratings (e.g., actual power consumption lower than TDP). These models are binned as different product chipsets, which places the product into separate virtual bins in which manufacturers can designate them into lower-end chipsets with different performance characteristics.


Finished products enter a machine[5][6] that can test hundreds of pieces at a time, taking only a few hours to complete. Each piece can be tested to determine its highest stable clock frequency and accompanying voltage and temperature while running.[1][6]

Overclocking and core unlockingEdit


Overclocking is the increase of clock speed beyond the manufacturer's maximum rated clockspeed. Since manufacturers are only required to meet the minimum advertised specifications, the potential for overclocking of a product is not typically tested during the binning process.[7] Therefore, it should not be assumed that higher-rated products will overclock better than lower-rated ones.

The resulting variation in upper-limit overclocking potential between otherwise identical pieces of hardware results in what is known as the "silicon lottery" by computer hobbyists[8], where the peak stable clock speeds (typically of a CPU or GPU) are unknown until being tested after purchasing.

Core unlockingEdit

Similar to frequency binning, products may also be binned based upon the number of cores which are enabled. As with overclocking, some chips may have more cores than marketed. It may be possible for the end user to enable these cores.[9][10]

Other usesEdit


  1. ^ a b Goodhead, Paul (10 June 2010). "How to Make a CPU - Testing, Packaging and Binning". Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Burke, Steve (1 July 2013). "Silicon Dies: Explaining OC Editions & the Bin-Out Process - CPUs, RAM, GPUs". Gamers Nexus. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b Cutress, Ian (11 June 2018). "The Intel Core i7-8086K Review". AnandTech.
  4. ^ Hodgin, Richk (9 July 2009). "From sand to hand: How a CPU is made". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Centaur Technologies Tour - Making The Via Nano CPU - VIA Nano Testing". Legit Reviews. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Low Voltage 1600MHz Review - Final Thoughts and Conclusion". Legit Reviews. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  8. ^ "What is the silicon lottery?". Tom's Hardware Forum. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  9. ^ Hruska, Joel (12 December 2016). "Some AMD RX 460s can be modded to unlock missing cores, additional performance". ExtremeTech. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  10. ^ James, Dave (24 July 2009). "How to unlock the Phenom's fourth core". techradar. Retrieved 17 December 2016.

External linksEdit