All our production inventory is purchased via our trusted partners but for a R&D project we received not 1 but 2 fake CPU`s from Amazon.com. Still can`t beleive it, espeically since its not some random 3rd party seller but the seller was Amazon itself!
What is the Scam?
It looks to be a very elaborate scam, that was proven twice as Amazon sent me a replacement immediately. However that replacement was also a counterfeit product. How it entered the supply chain I`ve got no idea as allegedly Amazon is purchasing directly from the Intel. My guess is some moron at Amazon tried to flip 3rd party stock at a heavy discount, but hopefully gets fired for such a blatent scam.
Must say that Intel are pretty smart about their packaging and labeling to ensure everything gets cross checked and validated likely for inventory tracking. The added benefit is builtin security features, to cross-check the Box Packaging to the Heat Spreader, and to the actual CPU. There`s 3 different cross checks, probably more but from my brief investigation all 3 checks can be performed without opening the box, nice!
How to spot fake Intel CPU
Check One : Serial number
The serial numbers are printed both on the factory sealed box, and also on the heat spreader (highlighted in Red). In This case the obviously don't match.
Check Two: FPO Number
Every CPU has a FPO (Finished Process Order) number, which is also printed on both the factory Box and the Heat spreader (Highlighted in Green). Again in this case there`s no match
Check Three: ATPO Number
But what if some scamer took off the heat spreader, and placed it on some faulty PCB/CPU socket ? Its pretty easy to do as shown in the image below
Yet Intel thought of this also. There`s a Assembly Test Process Order (ATPO) number that does exactly that, this number is actually the last 4 digits of the serial number. Thus its printed on the heat spreader AND the factory sealed box. In this case below in orange, none of the number match at all.
Verification With Intel
.. and there`s more. We can also check what Intel thinks the CPU model number is. Go to Intel`s Warranty information page Here and enter in the FPO number.
In our case we have 2 FPO numbers:
1) "3421B509" - value on the Heat Spreader
2) "L436D041" - value printed on the box
Plugging these numbers into the Intel website you get.
Above screenshot is the number on the Heat Spreader. Clearly its not an E5-1650V3 as the the factory sealed box states
And finally the above screen shot shows the FPO number as printed on the Box. As expected, the box numbers match what the label says but does not represent the goods inside - scammed..
There`s a 3-way check you can use for any CPU purchase, and does not require opening the box. This is good for their latest E5 V3 CPU`s not sure how well it correlates to other product lines.
The 3 checks are:
1) Serial number: Box == Heat spreader
2) ATPO Number: Box: == Heat Spreader == PCB
3) Intel Web site FPO Check: Heat Spreader FPO == Purchased Product name
... all round a completely counterfeit CPU. But, factory sealed mind you.
And for reference here`s a correct OEM CPU box, verified without opening.
... and that concludes todays public service announcement!