From the Article:
After talking with Intel as well as some back channel contacts we had, we learned that the memory multipliers on production CPUs are unlocked. The reason our CPUs had locked multipliers, we were told by Intel, was because they are engineering sample chips. Engineering sample parts are pre-production CPUs provided to the media, OEMs, motherboard makers and various other hardware vendors to test and bring up components. These CPUs, we were told, are locked.
Huh? To make matters worse, while mucking with our retail Core i7-920, we discovered that our QPI speeds were also unlocked. We could set it to 6.4GT/s all day. Our back channel contact tells us that after some digging, it was discovered that yes, thatâ€™s the way itâ€™s supposed to be. QPI is supposed to be 4.8GT/s but you can run at it 6.4GT if you want. Wha, what? But two months ago, Intel insisted that QPI was locked. Now weâ€™re told that QPI is unlocked. Confused? We are.
But why lock them, and only on engineering sample parts? Traditionally, Intelâ€™s engineering parts are unlocked so vendors can perform various tests. This is why engineering sample parts sometimes have higher values: they often have no artificial limiters on them.
Intelâ€™s official reason for the change of heart is: â€œWe made a marketing decision to unlock them for the launched product due to requests from some of our customers.â€
Who are the customers? Intel didnâ€™t name names but our first guess was memory makers. If memory support for DDR3/1600 was only limited to $1,000 CPUs, they wouldnâ€™t sell a lot of high-end memory. Perhaps some OEMs even balked as well at the thought of selling machines with RAM limited to DDR3/1066.