In an almost surreal tale of events, USA electronics retailer Newegg has discovered a reported 300 counterfeit Intel Core i7 920 CPUs in its inventory, some of which were inadvertently shipped out to buyers!
Initial reports of the fakes began yesterday when at least 5 separate incidents, totaling 9 fake processors cropped up on Youtube, HardOCP and the Overclockers.com forums. The recipients of the fakes had all purchased the CPUs from Newegg.com within the past few days.
We contacted Newegg and a representative confirmed that they did in fact receive “incorrect inventory” in the form of fake processors from a vendor and that they were working to rectify the matter as quickly as possible. Unfortunately further questions about how they intended to resolve the matter with the unfortunate purchasers or details about where the counterfeits came from and how they managed to slip by screenings were ignored.
The pictures below, taken by the unwitting buyers, tell the story. The heatsink had been swapped with a rather crude epoxy or clay like molding of the stock Intel HSF, with a picture of the fan’s top part attached. The CPU was layers of of metal and PCB with a fake IHS on the top and a sticker attached with typical Core i7 information. The box itself was riddled with spelling errors, and to bypass the security seal the box was printed with an “Intel Factory Sealed” sticker look alike with a clear sticker attached over top.
Intel does provide “security” windows on its packaging in order to verify that the CPU and fan are in the box, however, it does not show the full components.
It is expected that Newegg will replace the processors very quickly and an investigation into the perpetrators of such a unique crime will likely begin. No others reports of fake CPUs from North American retailers have been heard and a source with retailer NCIX.com confirms that the company has already checked their stock and found no fakes.
If the rumoured HardOCP number of 300 counterfeit units is accurate, it would represent a street value price of over $85,000 USD.
Update (03/05/2010 4:30PM PST) Newegg has released an official statement regarding the incident, attempting explain the ordeal as a shipment of “demo boxes” by a supplier.
Newegg is aware of a shipping error that occurred with certain recent orders of the Intel Core i7-920 CPU. After investigating the issue internally it appears one of our long term partners mistakenly shipped a small number of demo boxes instead of functional units. Our customer service team has already begun proactively reaching out to the affected customers. In line with our commitment to ensure total customer satisfaction, we are doing everything in our power to resolve the issue as soon as possible and with the least amount of inconvenience to our customers.
Pictures and information from the following sources: