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January 12, 2013
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How to Unlock (NOT overclock) my AMD Phenom II X4 CPU on my ASUS M4A87TD MOBO?

:iconuikri:
Uikri Jan 12, 2013  Student General Artist
So, according to my father, you don't just get the performance of all four cores just by installing the new CPU. Apparently, you have to "unlock" the CPU. Firstly, what does this mean? There's a switch on the MOBO that says unlock, but my dad isn't satisfied with that, and won't let me flip it until I give him proof that it is that simple. Reasonable enough, but I have no idea where to start looking. Secondly, if we unlock the CPU, will we be able to do more with gaming? We have some ATI Radeon Graphics card. I have no idea how powerful it is, what the full model name is, or how to find out either of those things. It's supposed to be good enough to at least play Blacklight: Tango down, but whenever I tried to boot it up, it always lagged, so my guess is that our CPU is underpowered.
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:iconpyrohmstr:
pyrohmstr Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ignore literally everything that anyone has written here. They're all idiots.

I downloaded and read the manual for your motherboard. There is a switch to the right of the main RAM by the MemOK! Switch that is labeled CORE_UNLOCKER in your manual.

You can also press <4> during the POST (before BIOS shows) to activate it without touching the switch.

Your processor is highly unlikely to actually be unlockable. If you tell me the actual model number of your processor I can tell you more about that :) Also, there are two reasons they lock cores. Either some of the cores don't work and they didn't want to trash the chip or demand was not met. Contrary to what people like to believe, a vast majority of CPUs are binned down because of manufacturing problems. This means that unlocking the extra core could cause the computer to be unstable (or it might totally be fine). It's a gamble.

The good news is that if it does all go to shit, you can just turn it off and it will be fine. So, there is no harm in flipping that switch :dummy: be adventurous. It won't help your game much as that is probably your video card being slow. It will help multithreaded stuff though and these days parallel code is a big deal (I say as I watch a program pull all 8 of my logical cores to 100%) :p

Finally, your father is not an idiot. I do have to say that not reading the manual is pretty forgetful though :3
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:iconuikri:
Uikri Jan 17, 2013  Student General Artist
:wow: I don't know how to thank you properly! :D This is so helpful! You're awesome! :hug:

Mhm, the CORE_UNLOCKER switch. :nod:

I'll try pushing 4 during the POST next time and see what happens.

It's an AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition, if I'm not mistaken. Wow, that's a mouthful! :faint: I had heard about locking faulty CPU's, but never about locking them simply because demand wasn't met :o Unstable? :iconmissingnoplz:

Shucks, no luck with the games >.< Would overall speed go up, perhaps? Internet browsing, programs like GIMP, file management, etc.?

He's busy 110% of the time, but I admit I could have read it myself ^^; Next time I should think of that instead of just running to the internet and not even considering it :iconimsorryplz: Thanks again for your help, and have a blessed day! :D
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:iconpyrohmstr:
pyrohmstr Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition is a Deneb based CPU (I just looked that up) :p
The Denebs are quad-core and all four of the cores are unlocked already. You won't see any increase with the unlocker on :) sorry, that feature isn't meant for your processor.

If your computer is slow you'll have to look elsewhere, your processor is quick enough. How much ram do you have? What kind of hard drive? When was the last time you installed a totally clean version of Windows :p (and what version of Windows for that matter?)

Finally, if a lower priced product is selling very well, and the manufacturing process is making mostly flawless chips, they'll sell otherwise perfect chips disabled in order to satisfy demand. So if you have one of those chips then you can unlock the cores. Of course, you have no way of knowing why the cores in a given chip are unlocked so it's a gamble. It might not work at all, or it might have a single meaningless flaw in some rarely-used part that an automatic testing unit picked up on. Or it could be totally flawless. Most chip fabs struggle to make enough perfect chips and they often have more low-end chips than they know what to do with. I'll stop ranting on this :p it's called chip binning if you want to look up more about it :dummy:
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:iconheavenhairsixes:
HeavenhairSixes Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
If you upgrade your CPU to one with extra cores it might not automatically automatically take advantage of the extra cores depending on the exact motherboard/CPU combination you are upgrading to. You might well need to make changes in the bios to get everything working properly.

Certain Asus motherboards have an 'unlock' feature that is supposed to take care of that process at the flick of a switch rather than mucking about in the bios.

It isn't something that you 'need' to do. Many computers don't even have the unlock switch and out of those that do you should be able to make the same changes in the bios without the switch.

But I think for that motherboard/CPU combo it should be all you need to do. According to ASUS propoganda anyway - I'm not going to guarantee it. I believe the exact list of what CPUs/motherboards work with the feature are on the ASUS site if you have a rummage around.

It isn't anything to do with overclocking.

Even if it does work it won't automatically make all your games faster. Not all software will be coded to take advantange of the extra cores.
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:iconjimfield:
JimField Jan 13, 2013
True some processors are sold with a core locked to keep costs down for example a quad core being sold as a triple core. The bios on a motherboard may be able to unlock it you will have to take a look. I think AMD are more likely to have these types of processors.
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:iconazupantsu:
Ah in addition, you cant make programs utilize all 4 cores. The programs need to be built for that. So if you're running a game that was only programmed for a single core ( most games) it will run the same on a quad core as a dual core :\

On the other side, lets say you're running photoshop which can take advantage of... 5? 6 cores? I'm too lazy to look it up but it will run MUCH better on a quad core over a dual core. And you don't have to unlock it to have the program use them.. you just install the cpu and thats it ;S
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:iconuikri:
Uikri Jan 13, 2013  Student General Artist
That sucks >.< What about emulation? Would it speed up emulation any?
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:iconazupantsu:
Most likely not but you're using a phenom II.. its not too bad of a cpu it shouldn't be making things like emulators lag, have you installed speccy?
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:iconuikri:
Uikri Jan 13, 2013  Student General Artist
I can't. I don't have administrator privileges on our Win7. I supposed it would probably be the GPU, then.
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:iconazupantsu:
Probably but I really can't tell you it is 100% unless I knew what graphics card you have...

Go to your desktop, right click on screen resolution then click on advance settings.. it should tell you what gpu you have, tell me all the info in there please :)
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