Home > PC Hardware > PC Hardware – Unlocking the Hidden 4th Core of a Triple Core Processor

PC Hardware – Unlocking the Hidden 4th Core of a Triple Core Processor

Yesterday I unlocked the 4th Core of my triple core (X3) AMD processor (CPU). It is very easy to do and only basic computer knowledge is needed.

Core Unlocker

What you need to know

The more cores a computer has, the more tasks it can carry out simultaneously without affecting the performance.

I understand that all triple (also known as tri or three core) processors are in fact QUAD (four) core processors. However not all of them can be unlocked and used as quad cores, this is down to one of two reasons. When the manufacturer (in this instance AMD) make their quad core processors and one of the cores isn’t working 100% as it should, they will affectively ‘block’ the ‘faulty’ core and sell it as a triple core. The second explanation is down to demand for triple core cpu’s. If the manufacturer needs to make more triple cores it will simply use perfectly fine quad cores and in the same way affectively ‘block’ one of the cores, then box it up as a triple core to sell!

How to unlock the 4th core

After researching on the internet I didn’t really find any how to’s specifically for the parts that I had. The parts in question being my motherboard: an ASUS M4N68T-M LE V2 which states on the box that it has a Core Unlocker, and my processor (CPU): an AMD Athlon II X3 455 processor.

I found the video below on YouTube which helped familiarize myself with the process of unlocking which was the only guide I had.

As my motherboard stated it had the Core Unlocker, it meant that I could ignore the first step of the video that seemed complicated. I would not have to update the BIOS with a file on a USB stick because my motherboard’s BIOS was already made to unlock cores. You would need to do this if you don’t have a motherboard that already supports core unlocking.

Step One: Turn on your monitor and your PC.

Step Two: When the BIOS (motherboard startup) screen appears hit ‘delete’ to enter the BIOS menu.

Step Three: In the BIOS menu find CPU Configuration.

Step Four: Find the Core Unlock option in the list. In the video above it is called ‘Advanced Clock Calibration’ however mine was called something more along the lines of ‘Core Unlocker’.

Step Five: Change the option to ‘enable’ the extra core(s)! I simply pressed the plus or minus button on my keyboard, in the video the guy hits ‘enter’ and uses up or down before pressing ‘enter’ again to confirm his selection.

Once you have done this you may have to save before exiting (like the video) and your computer will restart. All four cores should now be working and you can confirm this by checking your ‘system properties’ in ‘my computer’. I use the gadget ‘All CPU Meter‘ as part of my Windows 7 sidebar which showed the 4th core instantly. In the video the guy had to change the value of the cores as a percentage, in my case there was no option for this and I assume it is automatically done.

Here are before and after screenshots of my system properties!

Before:

System Properties Before Unlock

After:

System Properties After Unlock

As you can see my processor has changed from an Athlon II X3 455 to a Phenom II X4 B55! It has been upgraded from a standard Athlon class to a top end Phenom with a few simple clicks! The GHz stays the same.

The ‘B’ means it has been unlocked – you cannot purchase a ‘B55’ processor from a shop.

Now there is a chance that this may not work for you or your PC may not be as stable. If this happens I would suggest resetting the BIOS options. You can use a few different programs to test your system after doing this. Here is a useful one to leave you with:

Prime95 is basically a hard work-out for your computer and will stretch its abilities to the max. People often leave this running overnight for many hours at a time to thoroughly test the stability of a system.

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Categories: PC Hardware
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