It's one of the oddest stories to sweep across the Internet this week. After nearly plunking down $300 dollars for a new shiny Intel Core i7 CPU, NewEgg customers were greeted with a fake. The box may have fooled people on the outside, but a close inspection of the "product" revealed the CPU to be a fraud. Distributors and VARs might want to perk up in case you receive any dubious 'demo units' of CPUs...

Dave Courbanou

March 11, 2010

3 Min Read
Fake Intel i7 CPUs Soil NewEgg

FakeIntelCPUHeatsinkIt’s one of the oddest stories to sweep across the Internet this week. After nearly plunking down $300 dollars for a new shiny Intel Core i7 CPU, NewEgg customers were greeted with a fake. The box may have fooled people on the outside, but a close inspection of the “product” revealed the CPU to be a fraud. Distributors and VARs might want to perk up in case you receive any dubious ‘demo units’ of CPUs…

For both the VAR community, SMBs, and the ‘end user’ customer alike, NewEgg.com is a reliable source for fast and cheap computer hardware of every variety. But when fakes popped up in people’s boxes, NewEgg came under fire.

The picture you’re looking at is actually the fake heat-sink that came with the CPU. It’s a crudely formed plastic object with a fan sticker applied to the top. The actual CPU? A square thin metal block with some decals attached to it, and a fake CPU cap with fake Intel letters on it. There was also a fake instruction manual. It was simply white pages stapled together. What’s more, after careful examination of the box, there were various spelling errors and other issues. “Socket” was spelled “sochet” and the “FACTORY SEALED” label actually was printed on the box, so when clear tape was put over it, it appeared as though the label was a legitimate label.

Whoever wanted to fake these things went to great lengths.

Right away, NewEgg apologized and said they’d be looking into the issue. HardOCP, a popular computer hardware review site gained information from an erroneous ‘NewEgg source’ that the bogus processors were from D&H Distributing. D&H’s attorneys were unhappy. They sent a livid cease and desist letter and asked for a retraction. The result? D&H came under fire for people crying foul of the first amendment and got blamed for trying to cover up the issue.

Public Statement

It wasn’t D&H at all. NewEgg eventually made that known. On March 8th they posted a press release on their Facebook page…

Newegg is currently conducting a thorough investigation surrounding recent shipments of questionable Intel Core i7-920 CPUs purchased from Newegg.com.

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. Contrary to any speculation, D&H Distributing is not the vendor that supplied us with the Intel Core i7-920 CPUs in question.

Newegg’s top priority is to proactively reach out to all customers who may have been affected to ensure their absolute satisfaction. 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.

We have always taken pride in providing an exceptional experience for each customer, and we apologize for any inconvenience to our valued customers. We take matters like this extremely seriously, and are working in close cooperation with Intel and the appropriate law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident.

What remains unknown is the actual motive behind this. Who would put this much work into fake units, why would they, and did they really expect that they’d make a buck off them? Perhaps this was higher-up on the supply chain, but IPEX has been scratched off the list.

The loose end? I don’t think D&H got an apology…

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