In a nutshell: In latest years, we have seen various CPU scams, with targets starting from the Ryzen 7 1700 to the i9-9900Ok. In most circumstances, these chips are bought by unscrupulous people after which changed with doctored counterfeits, with the intent of a RMA rip-off. More usually than not, the faux CPUs find yourself again in retail channels for unassuming clients to purchase.

It appears there’s an abundance of counterfeit Intel chips going round in China, as reported by HKEPC, a Chinese tech publication based mostly in Hong Kong.

As the report notes, faux processors aren’t altogether unusual in Chinese markets (or others, for that matter). For occasion, customers on HKEPC’s boards reported shopping for faux i7-8700Ok CPUs final 12 months, and there was a Reddit person within the UK who additionally seemingly ended up with a fake i7-8700K across the identical time.

In the case of the latter, what was speculated to be an i7-8700Ok turned out to be a Celeron D 336 — a 90nm chip that debuted in 2004 and has lengthy since been discontinued. Similarly, final 12 months news broke of a person in Spain being scammed into shopping for a fraudulent i9-9900Ok, which apparently turned out to be a Core 2 Duo, one other historic chip. In each of those circumstances, orders have been allegedly bought and fulfilled by Amazon, somewhat than a 3rd occasion vendor on Amazon.

China seems to have a problem with counterfeit Intel CPUs

An alleged counterfeit i7-7700Ok (Source: HKEPC)

Although, this wasn’t the primary time an previous Celeron had been caught masquerading as a special chip. In 2017, stories of faux Ryzen 7 1700 CPUs on Amazon surfaced, the place customers have been receiving previous Celerons solid to seem like Ryzen 7 chips.

Circling again to China, it appears there is a spike in CPU scams, with latest techniques involving altering the IHS of a Pentium Gold G5400 to resemble that of the stronger (and costly) i7-7700Ok. Both of those chips are constructed on a 14nm course of and use the identical LGA packaging (FC-LGA14C) with the identical dimensions and IHS. So, swapping the warmth spreader by a delid can be possible, and sure convincing assuming the standard of the relid. It’s additionally potential that the IHS is being lapped and buffed, then re-etched.

HKEPC stories that these fraudulent chips are surfacing with retailers corresponding to AliExpress and Amazon, and there is even stories of patrons receiving chips which have had the CPU die itself eliminated. Moreover, there have been makes an attempt to RMA the affected chips by Intel. It is not clear if retailers are attempting to RMA the chips, or if resellers are maliciously making an attempt to RMA them. Either means, Intel is unsurprisingly refusing to honor any RMA requests for chips which were tampered with.

While there’s nothing that implies this rip-off has made its means west, it is at all times an excellent observe to stay vigilant. Avoid unknown third occasion sellers, and weigh second-hand {hardware} purchases rigorously.