Intel investigating sale of fake Core i7 chip

Customer finds a fake chip and a plastic heatsink instead of the processor he purchased

Intel acknowledged Monday that at least one counterfeit version of its Core i7-920 processor made its may into the U.S. market, and said it's trying to determine how many more are out there.

On Friday, hardware site HardOCP reported that one of its forum members received a counterfeit processor from Newegg, an online seller of computers and components. Instead of a processor, he found a fake processor and a plastic mold of a heat sink and fan.

The fake processor, sold as a standalone or "boxed" chip, came with an instruction manual comprised of blank pages. In addition, sticker on the outside of the box misspelled the word 'socket' as 'sochet' and other words on the box were spelled incorrectly -- subtle but clear indications that the contents inside were not genuine.

It was not immediately clear how the counterfeit chip ended up for sale at Newegg. HardOCP reported that when notified of the problem, Newegg shipped a genuine processor to the affected customer. Newegg could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a brief statement, Intel acknowledged the existence of the fake chip and said it was investigating.

"Intel has been made aware of the potential for counterfeit i7-920 packages in the marketplace and is working to identify how many and/or where they are being sold," said Nick Jacobs, an Intel spokesman, in an e-mail. "The examples we have seen are not Intel products but are counterfeits."

"Buyers should contact their place of purchase for a replacement and/or should contact their local law enforcement agency if the place of purchase refuses to help," he wrote.

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