Over the past few months, the rumour mill has been suggesting that AMD will introduce a new series of 45nm Athlon processors in June '09 dubbed Athlon II - available in dual-core, tri-core and quad-core variants, codenamed Regor, Rana and Propus, respectively
Though we've no official confirmation from AMD itself, motherboard manufacturer ASRock seems to have been toying with the new parts and has revealed an interesting tidbit.
According to the Taiwanese outfit, the yet-to-be-announced tri-core AMD Athlon II X3 405e might be able to make use of a disabled fourth core by using the BIOS tweak first discovered on the existing AMD Phenom II X3.
According to ASRock's self-proclaimed "incredibly outstanding engineers", enabling the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) function is known to transform a select number of parts into fully-functional quad-core derivatives. Note however, that the tweak won't be applicable to all Athlon II X3 chips and ASRock tells us a certain percentage failed to upgrade.
The potential performance boost might be something of a lottery, but ASRock's revelation does tell us something - tri-core Athlon IIs are certainly in the pipeline, and they'll support DDR2 or DDR3 memory depending on platform, feature 512KB of L2 cache per core, and be completely stripped of L3 cache. Essentially a cheaper, trimmed-down Phenom II.