Unscrupulous chip brokers are remarking and repackaging Intel Corp chips and selling them at speeds higher than they have been designed to operate at. The problem has historically arisen in areas such as South America, but now it is said to be coming to Europe and the US. Intel is quick to point out that […]
Unscrupulous chip brokers are remarking and repackaging Intel Corp chips and selling them at speeds higher than they have been designed to operate at. The problem has historically arisen in areas such as South America, but now it is said to be coming to Europe and the US. Intel is quick to point out that the problem is not widespread, but adds that it takes the matter very seriously. A report in CNet suggests the practice is carrying on due to an imbalance of the price and supply of the Intel microprocessors. Germany has recently witnessed a spate of incidents where 266MHz Pentium II processors are being sold as 300MHz chips. But Intel spokesperson Andrew Thomas says there is not a shortage of chips and the problem has arisen because there are people with rather less ethics than technical ability who want to make money. The ‘fake’ chips display a shimmering surface in the area where the original marks would have been. If the entire chip package has been changed the Pentium II lettering will be smaller and moved further down the case, than on the genuine articles. The labeling on legitimate chips is slightly different to the remarked devices where it is printed in an off- white color, compared to the fake chips writing which is in bright white. The chips reach the consumer via second and third tier distributors, who then try to sell the processors to smaller personal computer manufacturers who embed them, more often than not unwittingly, in their systems. Thomas said that while Intel is concerned about the practice, it does not think it will become a huge problem because most chips are sold through channels and authorized distributors. Thomas says consumers can avoid being conned by buying their equipment through such operations, but also points out that the majority of the company’s processors run at speeds higher than advertised anyway. When asked what the company is doing to stop more occurrences of chip repackaging and remarking, he said: It’s fraud and Intel will and has prosecuted people found to be doing this. We take it very seriously and work with the relevant authorities and legal operations in the country where the offence has taken place.