When AMD introduced its Phenom based X2 and X3 processors, users were pleasantly surprised that you could enable the disabled core(s) and get a free upgrade to a quadcore CPU. From a marketing point of view, this made great sense as more users where willing to buy AMD over Intel. AMD rolled with it and reaped the rewards of increased CPU sales due to the ‘extra cores’. Of course, not everyone was able to unlock the extra cores because the X2 and X3 chips were made from defective yields. So, some of the additional cores would not work properly or did not add any benefit to the end user.
It appears that AMD has put an end to the special unlock feature with the release of their new BIOS microcode. Don’t get worried, though, if you are planning to buy a new AMD based board from Gigabyte or ASRock. Some of the new boards from both companies utilize dual BIOSes and will store the old microcode on the backup BIOS and allow the new code to be stored on the primary BIOS. This will allow you to have a new BIOS with the newest fixes and still be able to access the additional cores of your Phenom CPUs.
Look for these models from both Gigabyte and ASRock:
Gigabyte’s technology that allows you to accomplish this unlock of the lock feature from AMD is thanks to its DualBIOS. ASRock calls its unlocking feature AOD ACC which is available with their M3A785GXH/128M motherboard. We were shown the MA790FXT-UD5P from Gigabyte. Kudos to both companies for sticking it to the man!