A patch was discovered this week indicating that Intel is preparing a new feature that can lock silicon features behind software-based activation. However, it does not appear to be Intel's current primary device for most consumers.
The patch notes refer to a new feature called "Intel Software Defined Silicon" (SDSi). This should allow the additional features of the silicone piece to be activated after production. It is entirely software and works by activating the license that the user may purchase. Additional documentation, including information about its operating system interface, is available on GitHub. However, it is currently limited to Linux systems. According to Phoronix, who discovered the patch, Intel is now planning to implement SDSi in its Xeon processors. However, this was short-lived and never made it to Linux. Tom's Hardware compares the new feature to the latest Intel Virtual RAID in the CPU (VROC), which uses Intel Volume Management (CPU) (VMD) and is activated with a hardware key. SDSi may be an attempt by Intel to sell processors cheaper, while cutting out features that some users don't need. Then, if users find they need additional items, they can pay a software license fee to get them without having to buy a new processor.
Intel provides features that allow software-based processor upgrades