back to article Intel investigates after retailer sold fake CPUs

Intel says it's investigating the sale of fake desktop processors by online electronics retailer Newegg in a scandal that's prompting outrage among customers and recriminations among sellers. The counterfeit Core i7-920 processor package was so crudely put together that it would have been easy to spot even by non-technical …


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  1. Lou Gosselin

    Not good, but my own experience with newegg is great

    I place several orders a year with newegg and it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

    I wouldn't normally go out of my way to make a pitch for a company like this, but I feel they deserve good word of mouth.

    Yes this mistake is bad, but I know newegg will fix it just as they had once for me when products were damaged in shipping.

    Years ago I used to buy from tiger direct until they botched an order and failed to ship multimedia speakers with a new system purchase. It would not have been a big deal except tiger direct basically accused me of lying and wouldn't reimburse me or ship me the speakers. I'm only out <$50, but I will continue to hold this against them until they ship the speakers which they owe me. You listening tiger direct?

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Couldn't agree more

      Newegg has fantastic customer service. Even people aren't enamored with the idea of supporting a particular vendor, no one can deny the greatness of their customer support. They handle things the right way.

      The accused distributor (henceforth, IT which shall not be named) is really the one not handling this well. Newegg's response has been very geniune (i.e. we identified a mistake...we're taking care of our customers...we'll deal with the distributor). The weasels at IT which shall not be named are hiding behind lawyers instead of trying to put a positive spin on this. Good reputation can be gained by doing the right thing (like be honest, for starters).

      Weasels don't know how to tell the truth.

    2. Kevin 6
      Thumb Up


      Never had an issue with newegg. I always find them damn reasonably priced and easy to deal with. Had an issue where ram got lost in shipping (they sent it the mail lost it according to the tracking #) they went and over nighted me new ram the day I got in contact with them for no charge.

      Agree with Tiger Direct had an issue and they accuse you of lying to them. I bought something that was supposed to be new and got sent a returned item that had a wire missing. I'd never buy from that over-priced shit house again.

    3. Wallyb132
      Thumb Down

      Newegg is getting bad rap on this

      I have to agree with you, Newegg is getting screwed on this, any way you slice it, they're ultimately going to take the fall. yeah investigation may eventually discover the real culprit, he'll be charged criminally and probably do a little jail time and pay some fines, and his story will quietly fade in to vague memories The part people will remember however is that Newegg sold counterfeit CPU's!

      I do small business support and do a lot of business with Newegg, to the tune of $250k +/- a year for the last several years. most of the hardware i purchase comes from them. i've had maybe a handful of minor issues with orders, mostly involving shipping damage, which they have taken care of quickly and honorably. What they've also done is helped me out and taken care of situations when i've screwed up, like taking back non-refundable items and not even charging me a restocking fee when i've ordered the wrong item. there have been numerous occasions when i've done this. i once purchased oem server 2008 instead of SBS 2008, and they even shipped me the SBS 2008 overnight at their expense, so i could still meet my delivery date to my client. once i pulled a blonde moment and ordered 16 2gb sticks of unbuffered ECC ram for an opteron server, anyone who's worked with opterons knows that they require registered ECC ram, when i called newegg to plead my case and beg for forgiveness, they were out of stock on the correct ram, at that point most companies would have said to bad so sad, we'll give you a refund minus 15%. Newegg processed the RMA again with no restocking fee and went out of their way to find the ram, i'm assuming from their suppliers and have it shipped to me directly. it took them 2 days to get the drop ship arranged and shipped, i had the ram on the third day.

      I cant say enough good things about newegg, it really sucks that they're getting dragged thru the mud on this.

      1. Dan 10
        Thumb Up

        Bad rep

        Oh I don't know, I might try using them given the positive feedback about them by posters here!

  2. gollux

    Brick in a box...

    but more graphically literate? Hoo boy, gotta get me one of those sochets!

  3. John 4
    Thumb Up

    Hahaha at second youtube video

    Read the description in it. He actually tried to fit the clearly fake cpu into the motherboard and claims he managed to break it.

    As much as I despise youtube comments, these ones are ace.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Hammer of the gods?

      It's amazng how anyone could even try to fit the 'processor' to a board as is doesn't seem to have any pins. Presumably he just goes by the instructions (missing) and just does the usual dumb thing of ripping box apart, not checking and trying to clip a blank bit of aluminium (bugger, he's a septic --aluminum) to the suchet.

      I know PC's are easy to put together if an idiot like me can do it but to really fuck it up properly takes an expert. Will he now get on to lawyers to claim for a new motherboard and for personal distress and anxiety and how it upset the dog and how he is now ridiculed by half of Youtube?

      (reminds me of work when I got memory errors - even POST said so on the screen but the 'expert' changed the hard drive (including back up etc) and the motherboard before I told the company to send someone who could read a screen before whipping out thier tools -- it took a few seconds to swap the memory and that was it, finished).

  4. Dick Pountain

    Oh, I see...

    Uh, scratch that, I just watched the video. I wonder if "counterfeit" is the right word though, "dummy" would be better.

  5. Sonny Jim

    Sounds fishy to me

    "one of our long term partners mistakenly shipped a small number of demo boxes instead of functional units."

    Or, more likely:

    "Our container got proper robbed up when it went through Hong Kong"

  6. Marie.Chateaux


    Newegg claims "shipping error"??? Don't they buy from an Intel distributor? Seems sort of smiley to me...

  7. Eddy Ito

    Oh no!

    Please tell me my celeron 430 processor is safe!

    Why yes a copy of Live Cheap & Free is in the pocket, how did you know?

  8. Oliver Munyaradzi

    I second

    I also feel I ought to say something too at this juncture. Like previous posts, not only am I lazy to the point of only noting negative experiences, but I too have to say that of all the companies I have EVER dealt with, Newegg's customer service is head and shoulders above the rest. While the issues I have had in dealing with them have been minor, they make me feel that having my custom is a privilege, and not the other way around.

    I don't know the specifics in this situation, but I know that Newegg will take care of its customers.

  9. Dwayne
    Thumb Up

    Another + for

    Nothing but positive experiences from this company and I have purchased quite a bit of kit from them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guilty or not

    It was NewEgg that named D&H as the supplier, nobody else, so why blame "or websites"??

    Yes NewEgg are a victim, but they have not helped themselves greatly over this incident.

    Failing to spot the comically bad fakes during Good In processing.

    Making customers go through the standard 10 day RMA process

    Claiming they were "Demo" units, shipped by mistake.

    And now they are changing their story on who they got them from and how many were bought, originally it was 300 from a batch of 2000 from D&H; now they say it was a whole batch of 300 from a different supplier.

    Dont they keep records!!??!!

    I have heard many good things about NewEgg, but the way they have handled this would put a dent in anyones reputation.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      In defence of newEgg (never bought from them, so not at all biased)

      We are a hardware shipping biz and ship several hundred million £'s worth of hardware each year. Much will come direct from manufacturer, but at least 30% comes from 3rd party wholesalers. Are you suggesting we inspect the spelling on each of the hundreds of thousands of packages? Or open every single one?

      For all we know the wholesaler has been duped as well, they may of thought he was getting goods they paid for, but they got switched at a warehouse in a far away land.

  11. Bo Pedersen

    so the second youtube guy put the piece of tin on his mobo???!?!?

    ok so the guy is building his own system , he finds the hunk of gunk that is the fan, and still attempts to install the processor?

    Darwin award please

    oh and I love the statement about the cpu not having pins, while this is true, its obviously not just going to be a sheet of aluminium now is it?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I havent had many dealings with newegg

    But they always seemed very fair, lets be honest noone is gonna buy and i7 that doesnt know what it is so this has to be a cock up no retailer would think for a second they would get away with this.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've heard those pictures of fans really shift some serious air.

    I think it's safe to say newegg et al got pwned.

    Wish one of those n00bs had taken some pictures. Why must we watch grainy out of focus youtube videos for 10 minutes when pretty much any point and shoot digital camera would have taken far superior and more useful images that would allow us to see the same level of detail in a matter of seconds and probably using less bandwidth too. But no, everything has to be a youtube video now because it's "cool". /rant

  14. hugo tyson


    I agree, dummy is the word. Surely not a matter for Intel, but for trading standards or even the fraud squad? It's not that the item was not a Genuine Intel CPU, it's that it's not a CPU at all.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    How the...?

    It's one thing to copy a DVD, but how the hell do you rip off a CPU?!

    1. Frozen Ghost

      Its easy

      You wouldn't steal a car ... You wouldn't steal a handbag ... You wouldn't steal a television ... You wouldn't steal a dvd ...

      Selling counterfeit Intel CPUs in elaborately designed packaging and then claiming they were demo units is STEALING.

      Stealing is against the law!

      Piracy, it's a crime

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intel fan

    I think the counterfeit fan would probably work better than the one that came with my i-920. It couldn't have been much worse.

  17. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    For Intel

    Intel are concerned because it hurts their good name too. Buy a mail order "Intel" processor and it could arrive as chocolate wrapped in silver paper.

    I suppose that the installation instructions are counterfeit or missing, unless printed on the box. So using the "product" with instructions provided really could break your motherboard - which is also the part that your Windows licence is attached to. Ouch and ouch.

  18. Nigel 11
    Thumb Down

    Not really what I'd call a fake CPU

    It's not really a fake CPU because it doesn't work at all. It's just a criminal scam to defraud a distributor.

    What would be a fake CPU, would be if someone was scraping the product ID off a cheap CPU and relabelling it as an expensive one, then selling that to unsuspecting customers in fake packaging. If the customer never checked the BIOS, they might never notice that the reason their i7-970 was disappointing was because it was actually a -920.

    Anyone remember a few years back when organised crime relabelled a huge bunch of cheap electrolytic capacitors as the expensive high-performance ones for use in CPU voltage regulation circuitry? They worked for 2-3 years before leaking brown corrosive gunk, at which time the motherboard died. The criminals were long gone before the manufacturers spotted the problem. One estimate was that 50 million mobos / PCs went to an early grave.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Nigel 11

      > Anyone remember a few years back when organised crime relabelled a huge bunch

      > of cheap electrolytic capacitors as the expensive high-performance ones for use in

      > CPU voltage regulation circuitry?

      No, but I do remember that someone supposedly stole a formula for electrolyte, not realizing that it was incomplete, which was used by several manufacturers and resulted in a lot of failed capacitors.

    2. David McMahon

      Bad Caps

      Yes, Still see them on P4 and Athlon boards.

      It's why I only use solid cap boards

      I hope the people get their RMA request accepted!!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    bad eggs

    Why is everyone so quick to defend newegg, how did anyone not spot the obvious spelling mistakes and fake hologram?

    No you can not expect a company to open up and fully check every individual item they sell, but there's nothing stopping them doing a rough check of 1 or 2 items from a shipment.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Paris Hilton

      Shipment of thousands

      The press release said, in the shipment of thousands, 300 or so were fakes.

      //Paris knows how to fake it

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They more than likely used blind shipment

      so they will never actually see or handle the items, they go from supplier direct to the customer. Pretty much all online retailers do this.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bad eggs

      Agreed. And why didn't they vet the supplier?

      Surely if you're dealing with "reely cheep cpus sochet LGA" you'd buy a small amount and check they're the real deal before sending that crap to your customers.

    4. Jess--

      more normal way

      the normal way of doing things is to get a couple of samples sent first, and check those. if you are happy with the samples then you order a larger quantity and those are what you sell, you rely on your distributor to actually send you the same product as the samples

  20. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Misstakes Happen

    No retailer or supplier can realistically be expected to check every component which comes in and goes out, and customers would likely complain that packaging wasn't intact if they did.

    I remember getting a support call from a customer once ...

    This $#@£" doesn't work!

    What are the results of testing ?

    We haven't tested it.

    How do you know it doesn't work ?

    I has a '"this $#@£" doesn't work!' sticker on the back.

    Some mistake on the production floor meant units returned for repair had got put into boxes for the warehouse and ended up being shipped.

    Mistakes and problems are inevitable, people are only human. It's how a supplier deals with and resolves them which is important.

    Mine's the one with the baseball bat in the lining which I'm willing to lend to Newegg.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Phillip 4


    Statistically, 300 fake items out of their massive number of orders isn't that bad. Now, I'll admit, if it was I that received it, I would not be a happy camper. Still, I favor Newegg due to their actions when an order went horribly wrong:

    In 2005, I had several orders shipped to my doorstep from Newegg. The FedEx agent decided to leave them without signature. Upon my arrival home, the boxes were gone. After pulling my hair out with FedEx, I called Newegg. They were easy to deal with and re-shipped all items that were currently in-stock, overnight, at no charge. Any items that were not in-stock were refunded, including the shipping charges.

    I am disappointed the i7 snafu occurred. If my previous experience is any indication, all customers involved will have their CPUs replaced in a timely manner.

    I have to agree with Jason, above, it's less about IF a mistake occurs, but how the company deals with it that can make or break their reputation.

  23. Chris Evans

    Probably an employee!

    I can't see any company that has been around a while doing this. They would get found out very quickly.

    I suspect an employee somewhere along the line exchanged the real CPUs for fakes. It could be difficult to work out at which company/courier it happened at.

  24. BillG

    Blame Ipex

    Ipex claims that they mistakenly sold "demo units" to NewEgg. The problem is that Ipex has no reason to stock demo units.

    I've been in the semiconductor sales & marketing business for 20 years, so I can tell you that there are only two possibilities:

    EITHER Ipex was scammed and bought from a bad supplier, OR,

    Somebody inside Ipex stole a bunch of Intel processors and replaced them with these dummy units.

    It's highly unlikely that Ipex was scammed, so it's most probably a case of company theft, which can happen in undisciplined companies.

  25. Munchausen's proxy

    Do Newegg still have any of these?

    I need to upgrade my P-p-p-p-powerbook.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You can use it to upgrade...

    ...your p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-powerbook.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Doug Lynn

    Glad it was not D&H!

    Hi, I previously posted about D&H, glad it was not them. They have always been straight up. I suspect it was Ipex or one of their gray market suppliers. A good clue is that Newegg has already dropped them as a supplier. Newegg should play it safe and buy only from an authorized Intel distributor. However we do know they run out of processors and have to look elsewhere for them. Yes I'm a computer reseller too.

  29. BlueGreen


    > Are you suggesting we inspect the spelling on each of the hundreds of thousands of packages? Or open every single one?

    Nah but I'd expect at least one of the pickers/packers there to have noticed. You get sharp to oddities after a few weeks.

  30. Jon 52

    pics it did happen

    Those wanting better pics

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