Monday, 27 September 2010

Intel-Macafee Proofing Chips Against Crackers

"Intel to Charge $50 USD for Unlocking CPU Features"
This is why Intel paid a ridiculous amount for Macafee Security. It needs some hack-proofing expertise in order to defend it's next generation of protected microprocessors.
"Intel is currently testing the water with processors that have certain features disables or limited, so that users can buy upgrade cards later on and improve the performance of their processors. This allows resellers and system builders to increase their margins - says Intel."
"Intel Upgrade Service enables down-the-wire upgrades of PC platform capabilities after the initial hardware shipment, offering unprecedented flexibility to resellers. Now your customers have more options with an easy upgrade path for additional performance or features when they are needed," Intel claims, "In 2010 we are rolling out a small pilot program offering performance upgrades on Intel Pentium G6951 Processors."
So you can buy a cheap, low performing PC then hand over some more money to get the rest of the performance already built onto the chip. It's akin to the old IBM mainframe story where the upgrade consisted of changing the size of the fan-belt inside the cabinet.
"The pilot program is currently available to a limited number of customers in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands (OHAI), and Spain. The idea is that users buy a computer which has some processor features disabled, after which they can buy an upgrade card ($50) which downloads some software and unlocks the disabled features - double the L3 cache, enables four-way HyperThreading instead of just two-way."
There it is: it's all in software locking and unlocking, which is one reason why Intel needs the security 'expertise' of anti-virus specialist Macafee.  RC

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