But not just any old Phenom II X3 will do. According to the information weâ€™ve been able to uncover, only 720 and 710 processors from batches manufactured on certain dates have any success with the exploit. Playwares achieved its results using processors manufactured in the fourth week of 2009, while other sources claimed varying degrees of success with processors dated in the 46th and 51st weeks of 2008 and the fourth and sixth weeks of 2009.
To determine if a given Phenom II X3 processor has a good chance of working with this exploit, youâ€™ll need to look at the three rows of alphanumeric characters that make up the part number etched into the CPUâ€™s heatspreader. Pay particular attention to the far right block of four numbers followed by four letters in the middle row. For our Phenom II X3 720, the number is 0849CPMW, while the 710â€™s number is 0906MPMW. The numbers refer to the week the die was manufactured. For instance, our 720 was manufactured in the 49th week of 2008, and the 710 was manufactured in the sixth week of 2009. Despite the fact that only the 710â€™s date batch had any reports of success, we resolved to try both processors. The best thing about AMD is that their retail boxes have a window on the side where you can see the top of the CPU with all relevant information. I simply went to the store and handed the clerk the batch numbers that I needed and she came back with the right one.
Regarding a motherboard, you will need one with the AMD 790FX or GX chipset, particularly one that features the SB750 Southbridge, and a BIOS that supports ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration), the feature that enables the system to recognize the fourth core of an X3 processor. (See the â€œX3-Unlocking Motherboardsâ€ sidebar for a list of compatible motherboards.) At press time, a German site (www.hwbox.gr
) also reported success using the Nvidia chipset-based Gigabyte GA-M720-US3 paired with a beta BIOS. Because the first site to report the exploit, Playwares, used the Biostar TA790GX 128M, we decided to use that motherboard as the platform for our testing.