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Intel Corp. plans to release inexpensive central processing units (CPUs) with unlocked multipliers designed for overclockers in an attempt to offer appealing products for enthusiasts, who do not want to spend to much on personal computers.

Historically, neither of the two leading suppliers of central processing units accepter overclocking since this could damage their chips in many cases. However, when both Advanced Micro Devices and Intel started to sell processors designed for extreme performance enthusiasts, they had to admit that such chips are often used at clock-speeds that by far exceed the official ones. As a result, both AMD and Intel have been shipping their chips for overclockers – Extreme Edition, Black Edition, FX-series – with unlocked multiplier for about seven years now. AMD started to offer its Black Edition chips with unlocked multiplier and moderate price back in 2007 and it looks like Intel plant to follow its smaller rival this year.

Steve Peterson, head of marketing of Intel's chipset division, said in an interview with web-site that Intel was considering new affordable models with unlocked multiplier. Even thouth Mr. Peterson did not elaborate a lot, he did reveal that the chips would be designed for LGA1156 form-factor and will belong to Lynnfield and Clarkdale families of Core i-branded chips.

It will be interesting to see how unlocked multiplier and overclocking will live on with Intel's Turbo Boost technology that automatically overclocks select processing cores when they are truly needed and disables the unused ones. Turbo Boost disables itself in case of overclocking of modern Extreme Edition microprocessors, so, end-users will have to count only on themselves if they need massive speed in single-threaded or dual-threaded applications and they overclock an inexpensive quad-core chip.

Back in August ’09 the world’s largest chipmaker already tried to sell its Pentium 6500K processor with unlocked multiplier in China as a pilot program. The company said back then that based on the demand towards the product it would make the decision about selling similar CPUs in other regions.

“This is a PRC-only pilot for now.  At the end of the pilot, Intel will determine what, if any other similar product should be offered in other geographies,” said Daniel Snyder, a spokesperson for Intel.

Tags: Intel, Lynnfield, Clarkdale, 45nm, Pentium


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