News Intel's Pay-As-You-Go CPU Feature Gets Launch Window

salgado18

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Intel copying the EA business model: make a full product, then strip its features to sell separately. Instead of selling one full processor for $1000, sell one crippled processor for $1000, then demand $100 for re-enabling each feature. I know that's capitalism and market rules and all, but it sounds like dishonest money to me (EA customers agree on that). Hopefully that gives more sales to AMD.
 

InvalidError

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Intel really needs to simplify their overly segmented CPU lineup.
Yup. Make 2-3 dies to cost-effectively service the major server tiers and maybe have 2-3 bins each dictated by where defects are most likely to land.

Selling DLC CPUs would require that every DLC-powered CPU sold to cover a given market segment range be a golden sample or at least capable of the highest specs for the market segment. Doesn't sound cost-effective unless Intel's yields excluding fatal defects and edge losses are close enough to 100% that it can just write off sub-par dies, which would imply that the entire i5-i9 range is a manufactured farce.
 

spongiemaster

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Intel just doesn't learn. They are really missing an opportunity here. You can't just let customers pay for the features they want to add. You have to turn it into a loot box type experience where customers pay for a random feature and hope to get what they want. If not, they keep buying more until they do get what they want. Then Intel can setup an online shop where users can resell the features they don't want to other Intel users. That way you get people endlessly buying CPU upgrades in an attempt to win highly sought after features that they can sell for more at the online shop.
 

kal326

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So if the features are already in place then they are past binning for things not to work or work per SKU. So basically Intel is saying we could have been give you all these features in an entry level chip all along. Instead to save us hassle and maintain margins when charging more for arbitrary features we instead invested time and resources in to the Intel Chip Marketplace.
Now comes the crash and burn of this when it’s linked to security exploits and they have to start disabling offerings or someone just cracks it to enable all features.
 
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salgado18

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I though of it even worse now: customer, who is a server owner, has 1000 Xeons and 200 EPYCs, for example. Now he needs this one feature enabled, because of a new service he'll provide. He has to contact Intel, pay 1000 new feature licenses, upgrade 500 machines (dual-socket, maybe), and pass validation tests to see everything is working. He also needs to do absolutely nothing on the EPYCs, since they already have said feature enabled.

Do they really think that's the way to earn more money? In the short term, sure, but this customer's next purchases will probably be EPYCs, which cost less (they do), are more energy efficient (they are), and now cost less in the long run. I'd say it could be cheaper still to change older systems to new EPYCs instead of spending money on feature upgrades.
 
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InvalidError

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He also needs to do absolutely nothing on the EPYCs, since they already have said feature enabled.
If he CPU DLC you got is a core count upgrade, the only way you are getting that out of EPYC-based systems is a physical CPU swap which is far more labor-intensive and will require even more extensive re-validation since you have a whole different chip instead of the same chip with fewer things still pay-walled.
 
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InvalidError

Titan
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Tesla showed this business model (paying for a thign with features you have to pay more for to use) and it will be future sadly...
Some features make sense to build in regardless of whether you paid for them because the true added cost is negligible compared to the cost of having multiple different SKUs. Things like heated seats and steering wheel cost a dollar or two in materials to implement over the cost of all of the other tech already built into seats these days. You aren't going to see materially significant features like battery pack sizes and single/dual/triple motor turned into DLCs. (Though they do have a "performance" unlock option on some models where you are basically paying insurance for the increased likelihood of battery and motor failure from running them a bit harder than stock.)
 

Giroro

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S You aren't going to see materially significant features like battery pack sizes .... turned into DLCs. (Though they do have a "performance" unlock option on some models where you are basically paying insurance for the increased likelihood of battery and motor failure from running them a bit harder than stock.)
I legitimately believed that "DLC battery capacity" has been a part of the Tesla business model since day 1.
 

Giroro

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Honestly, the idea that you have to pay a licensing fee to use purchased hardware is sickening and disturbing. It is anti-customer and it's wasteful.

This kind of thing is the reason why market regulation is so important. "Right to repair" would be nice, but we first need "Right to own" and "Right to use".
 

Thunder64

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Honestly, the idea that you have to pay a licensing fee to use purchased hardware is sickening and disturbing. It is anti-customer and it's wasteful.

This kind of thing is the reason why market regulation is so important. "Right to repair" would be nice, but we first need "Right to own" and "Right to use".
Nobody wants you to own anything anymore. I think I even saw an add on TV that sounded like a treadmill with certain features that costs "x" per month. It didn't look like you could just buy the treadmill and not use those features.
 

Xenx

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The other way to reduce the logistics costs of marketing a billion variants of each CPU with razor-thin arbitrary differentiations would be get rid of the stupidly super-fine arbitrary market segmentation.

Making fully functional full-size CPUs only to disable most of their capabilities and sell/lease them back as hardware DLCs sounds stupid.
The short of it is that they need those variants to compete in the market. Maybe not to the extreme they do it, but it is "necessary" to success. The short of it boils down to people don't want to pay for the features they don't need, and even a couple dollars off the price can make or break a sale. Linus(LTT) mentioned a similar predicament in regards to motherboard variants. Being able to offer a $3 cheaper variant means being able to capture appreciably more sales.

The new system Intel is introducing doesn't really do anything different than the existing system, except give the purchaser more value for their purchase. Instead of hardware limiting fully functional chips to meet the needs of the different variants, they're software limiting the chips instead. People can then opt to update the features in software, instead of having to purchase a new CPU.

Do I think it's the right thing to do from a logistics and ecological impact standpoint? Absolutely. Do I think it'll piss of buyers and cause a backlash? Absolutely. It's the right idea, but there is already too much momentum behind the current system and to the majority that don't understand how things work in the back it just looks bad.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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The new system Intel is introducing doesn't really do anything different than the existing system, except give the purchaser more value for their purchase. Instead of hardware limiting fully functional chips to meet the needs of the different variants, they're software limiting the chips instead.
Unless Intel's yields are nearly 100%, this models means that 20-30% of chips that aren't 100.0% functional but could previously be sold as lower-end SKUs will need to be chucked out since they cannot do at least some of the DLC upgrades.

Having to field only 100% working chips will almost certainly lead to higher price tags all around.

Imagine AMD and Nvidia making DLC GPUs where every GPU has every possible feature, then you pay to unlock whatever you need. The lower-end SKUs will need to be massively more expensive to avoid making losses on all of the paywalled hardware.
 

kjfatl

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Intel copying the EA business model: make a full product, then strip its features to sell separately. Instead of selling one full processor for $1000, sell one crippled processor for $1000, then demand $100 for re-enabling each feature. I know that's capitalism and market rules and all, but it sounds like dishonest money to me (EA customers agree on that). Hopefully that gives more sales to AMD.
Nothing dishonest here.
Many years ago, the company I worked for developed an upgraded version of a "line printer" that was twice as fast as the competing product. It was the first printer in the market that printed in both directions. The upgrade added cost to the product, requiring engineering, another home sensor and a line buffer.
When it came to selling the printer, the customers were not willing to pay extra for it, using the competitors product as to set the value of our product. We then developed a 'low cost' version of the product, and offered an upgrade kit as well, installed by our technicians. We sold the base model at the same price as our competitors product and were able to charge more for the faster version of the product.
The upgrade kit, really a software license, required the technician to clean the printer and remove a jumper.
Who was dishonest? The company I worked for or the customers who claimed they did not need the high speed feature? I say neither.

Intel probably has very good yields, but the parts that don't bin out as 100% can still be sold under a SKU that does not offer the upgrade feature.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Intel probably has very good yields, but the parts that don't bin out as 100% can still be sold under a SKU that does not offer the upgrade feature.
If you re-introduce SKUs to cover every salvageable defect combination, you end up with dozens of SKUs again. Kind of defeats the point of using DLC-based CPUs to avoid having dozens of SKUs.

The thing with paywalling trivial "premium" features is that in a healthy market, your competitors won't let you milk trivial improvements as "premium" for long before including them or something equivalent as standard in their own similar products.
 

jkflipflop98

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Hopefully this latest effort crashes and burns too. Intel really needs to simplify their overly segmented CPU lineup.
So hopefully this effort to simplify their overly segmented CPU lineup crashes and burns, but then you want to simplify their overly segmented CPU lineup?

This is exactly what you asked for. It takes 57 SKU's and turns it into 1.
 
The thing with paywalling trivial "premium" features is that in a healthy market, your competitors won't let you milk trivial improvements as "premium" for long before including them or something equivalent as standard in their own similar products.
Selling something with all the features at the same price as the competitor sells the base unit is the surest way to go belly up, you loose all your profit doing that and if you are successful you take away all the sales of the competitor, so neither company is making any money, that's how you turn a healthy market into a dead one.
 
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First of all, just to be clear I'm speaking on behalf of myself here, IOW I am not speaking for my employer.

I must say that I'm not happy to see my name prominently tied to SDSi as is done in this article and in various other articles on the web, suggesting that I somehow endorse SDSi.

The Linux kernel code for this basically builds a communication path allowing a program running in userspace to talk to a new SDSi part of the Intel "Vendor Specific Extended Capabilities" (VSEC) PCI device nothing more and nothing less.

As the Linux kernel subsystem-maintainer for x86 platform drivers reviewing the driver for this new VSEC function falls up on me. This does not mean that I endorse this feature!

This simply means that if there are no technical reasons to not merge it that I will merge it, which is just part of the standard hardware enablement work done all over the kernel.

This really is no different from the kernel also having support for things like HDCP, which does not mean that the folks working on that endorse Digital Rights Management.

Also I must say that I'm disappointed that I was not contacted by Anton Shilov about this before publishing, I would really have expected better then this from a professional site such as tom's hardware.
 

salgado18

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Nothing dishonest here.
Many years ago, the company I worked for developed an upgraded version of a "line printer" that was twice as fast as the competing product. It was the first printer in the market that printed in both directions. The upgrade added cost to the product, requiring engineering, another home sensor and a line buffer.
When it came to selling the printer, the customers were not willing to pay extra for it, using the competitors product as to set the value of our product. We then developed a 'low cost' version of the product, and offered an upgrade kit as well, installed by our technicians. We sold the base model at the same price as our competitors product and were able to charge more for the faster version of the product.
The upgrade kit, really a software license, required the technician to clean the printer and remove a jumper.
Who was dishonest? The company I worked for or the customers who claimed they did not need the high speed feature? I say neither.

Intel probably has very good yields, but the parts that don't bin out as 100% can still be sold under a SKU that does not offer the upgrade feature.
Your example is exactly what binning is: sell the same product with half the performance/speed/cores for less money. That is all good.
The better example would be to sell the printer with a digital panel, but charge an upgrade for the panel to show the ink levels, and another to let it print a test page. It's not exactly dishonest as in ilegal or imoral, but it does leave the impression that they just want the customer to spend even more money without actually needing to.
 
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