by Anton Shilov
02/24/2009 | 06:26 AM
Back in the days it was easily possible to enable disabled level-two cache on AMD Duron microprocessors with simple mod. Quite a lot has changed since then and it is hardly possible to re-enable disabled parts of the chips now, but it seems that at least some products can be improved easily: apparently, some of the latest AMD’s triple-core microprocessors may be turned into quad-core chips.
AMD Phenom II X3 710 and 720 microprocessors based on the Deneb core and made using 45nm process technology are in fact quad-core chips with the third core and parts of cache disabled for various reasons. Potentially, the fourth core and/or certain cache memory bits are non-functional or cannot work at specified core-clock, temperature or due to other conditions. But the halted core and cache may be re-enabled and, provided that there are no crucial errors, may function properly. In fact, in certain cases manufacturers cut-down their fully-functional components to make a more affordable solution.
Apparently, on various mainboards based on AMD 790GX + SB750 chipset, enabling Advanced Clock Calibration feature from the BIOS activates fourth core on at least certain AMD Phenom II X2 710 and 720 central processing units. According to computer enthusiasts among forum members of PlayWares web-site, quite a lot of triple-core processors may have fourth core completely functional, which automatically boosts performance.
It is interesting to note that BIOS vendor and mainboard models are not crucial for activation, hence, everything depends on the microprocessor itself. There are no clear statistics and it is unknown what percentage of AMD’s triple-core AMD Phenom II X3 chips have completely operational fourth core.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.