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ED#109 : Do YOU Really Know What's Inside Your Computer? Rev. 1.1
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ED#109 : Do YOU Really Know What's Inside Your Computer?

When we first posted about the availability and sale of Intel Core 2 engineering samples, many people scoffed at the report. The prevalent opinion was that the issue wasn't widespread enough to be of any concern and if anyone got fooled into buying one, well, they certainly got what they paid for. In other words, it was something worth worrying about.

If anything worried the consumer, it was the counterfeiting of Intel retail processors. That generated a lot of attention since it involved everyone buying Intel processors. Even Intel was concerned enough to chip in on the report. Oddly enough, they refused to comment on the sale of engineering samples, which in our opinion also adversely affects their sales and reputation.

It is odd that consumers can be so concerned about the counterfeiting of a boxed processor but hardly worried about the availability and sale of processor engineering samples. Of course, many assume that engineering samples only affect those who actually buy them from the "black market", while fake boxed (retail) processors affect everyone buying a supposingly legit boxed processor from the open market.

However, we had already pointed out that large quantities of these engineering samples (see Update @ Dec. 24) were being sold at a pittance, and that it was highly likely that many of these processors would end up inside computers sold to unsuspecting customers. We would be deluding ourselves if we refuse to believe the sale and misuse of engineering samples are far more prevalent than everyone would like us to believe.


Just How Many Engineering Samples Can There Be?

This is an interesting question, isn't it? If Intel does not produce many engineering samples, then there can't be that many available in the black market. However, Intel has steadfastly refused to divulge any numbers on the engineering samples they produce and distribute. They wouldn't even confirm or deny that the reported large numbers of engineering samples in the black market are possible.

We did our own digging, of course, and found out that such numbers are indeed possible. However, it would require the connivance of the OEMs (or the people working for them) which received those engineering processors. Otherwise, it would be impossible to obtain the engineering samples in such large quantities.

Our sources claim that while it is possible for engineering samples to leak from Intel facilities in the US, it is unlikely for them to obtain so many to sell. Most of these samples seem to originate in China, which isn't surprising since practically all of Intel's major OEM partners have factories in China. Which major OEM doesn't?

So, if you ask us, it is highly likely that the reports are true and that there are many engineering samples out there. Some are sold as engineering samples on the black market as we all know. However, we fear that many more are being sold to unsuspecting customers by unscrupulous system assemblers who use them in their computers, instead of genuine Intel retail or tray processors.


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