Its well known that manufacturers such as Intel and AMD will sell quad cores as dual cores, or 6-cores as quad-cores in order to meet demand, or to use dies that didn’t ‘make the cut.’ This process has been going on for over 30 years though. Back in the 70′s and 80′s it was very common for a device such as this:
Which is a 2704 4k EPROM, to actually be made from a 2708 die, just with not all the leads connected, or sometimes, with them connected but just labeled as the smaller part. In a production environment, it is cheaper to have a single production line making dies that can be used in more then one device, then having an entire seperate production line just to make a product that may not be the most popular. Look at this die shot (its a bit blurry) but you can see its a 2708 die.
Once again, whats new, really isn’t we have just went from small EPROMs, to CPUs with billions of transistors