Catching up with some of the RSS feeds I monitor earlier today I came across some chatter about the newly launched/noticed upgrade option for Intel processors. Specifically, the $50 upgrade option to the new Pentium G6951.
So whats all this about? Apparently, the new processor can be "upgraded" by purchasing what amounts to a license key for turning on the embedded functionality of the chip. Or, to put it another way, you've purchased a PC with a downgraded Pentium processor with disabled features - but can "enable" those features at a later date by simply purchasing the aforementioned "upgrade card".
There's a lot of fervor concerning this particular innovation from Intel. Granted, the concepts aren't particularly new and other technology companies have tried similar tactics in the past (e.g. I was once told that the IBM Z-Series mainframes ship with everything installed but, depending upon the license you purchased, not all the capacity/features of the system are enabled), but It's not something I'm a particular fan of. Then again, it would seem to me that I'm probably not the type of consumer that Intel would be marketing this product strategy to either.
The Intel site describing the upgrade technology/processes/etc. can be found at http://retailupgrades.intel.com/ - although it does appear to still be in a state of "under construction" as evidenced with the following response to the FAQ question of "Which PC's with this upgrade work on?"
Good luck with this one Intel. It's not like I'll be buying any product (Intel or other) knowing that it had been intentionally disabled and subject to an additional fee for activation.
The exception would be if I felt like doing a bit of RE to get the full functionality without buying in to the whole marketing "vision" (subject to license agreements, yadda, yadda, yadda...).