Newegg probes shipments of fake Intel chips

As the Newegg case of fake Intel CPUs demonstrates, typos are one of the big tip-offs.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

As the case of reseller Newegg demonstrates, typos are usually the most visible sign that a chip--or any product purported to be supplied by a reputable company--is fake.

Newegg said Monday that it is conducting an investigation of recent shipments of "questionable" Intel Core i7-920 processors from Newegg. The news was first reported by [H]ard|OCP.

"Initial information we received from our supplier, IPEX, stated that they had mistakenly shipped us 'demo units.' We have since come to discover the CPUs were counterfeit and are terminating our relationship with this supplier," Newegg said in a statement.

"We have already sent out a number of replacement units and are doing everything in our power to resolve the matter promptly and with the least amount of inconvenience to our customers," the reseller said. The number of counterfeit chips is estimated at several hundred.

Intel said Monday it has been made aware of "the potential for counterfeit i7 920 packages in the marketplace" and is working to determine "how many and/or where they are being sold."

The packaging and wording on the boxes containing the counterfeit chips sold by Newegg was the most immediately apparent indication that something was askew, according to a post dated Thursday in a Overclockers.com forum. Photos show typo-laden wording on the box. For example: "This box contains an Intel processor ans [sic] a thermal solution designed for use ina [sic] Desktop PC."

Opening the box revealed fake components and documentation with blank pages, according to photos on the Overclockers' forum.

The forum posting noted the "shoddy text" as a tip-off that the product was bogus.