Crippled CPUs are not bad business

Crippled central processing units, those for which consumers must pay extra for access to additional features, have been part of the industry for years. The CPU manufacturing business is constantly pushing the size limits on circuitry. The result is that many CPUs will come out with components that don’t work. Instead of throwing out the entire CPU, companies have learned how to disable the parts that no longer work and still make a functioning CPU. Because the disabled components lower the performance, they sell it at a lower cost, but at least they recover some of their investment.

However, market demand and error rates rarely line up. To meet the demand for the lower-cost CPUs, companies will often purposely cripple an otherwise good CPU.

Intel’s setup allows customers to uncripple their CPUs if now or in the future they end up needing that extra performance.

AMD has already gone one step better. They allow people to uncripple their CPUs through the BIOS. While some technical knowledge is required, there is no upfront cost.