Usage paywalls may soon impact computer performance for consumers

Usage paywalls may soon impact computer performance for consumers

Tony Kerr, Reporter

We use computers every day for doing school work, messaging friends on our phones, and to playing video games in our “spare” time. You are most likely even using some form of a computer to read this article. So how would you feel if your technology, that you already own and paid for, was bottlenecked by a paywall, Whether it be for a particular use case such as networking or just the general speed of your computer?

Intel is considering doing so and they have made significant changes to the opensource Linux kernel to add support for paywalled features in future processors. Currently Intel is only targeting database/server grade processors, however, if Intel can make good profit margins on this “feature,” they would likely start including this in consumer processors and the rest of the consumer market would likely follow.

On the other hand this seems like a good idea to prevent the creation of e-waste. Even just the server space has quite a large amount of computers. However, this really isn’t going to help very much because lower tier performance processors are still going to be made and new processors will still replace older processors. Not to mention that no existing motherboards currently support this new standard for limiting processor performance and capabilities.

Luckily, Intel hasn’t introduced anything new in terms of capabilities of their processors, so if they do go this route the database/server and consumer space won’t be forced into it immediately due to the lack of any large improvement in processing speed or power efficiency.

AMD has not made any comment to Intel’s current plan as of writing this article. Hopefully the rest of the consumer market does not decide to follow in Intel’s footsteps. We can hope that this “feature” dies in the database/server space as it did in the consumer space back in 2010 when Intel tried a very similar move that didn’t catch on.