Newegg Fake i7 packaging shotHere’s a little article originally written for bit-tech but never published, regarding the interesting case of Newegg accidentally sending a selection of fake Intel i7 CPUs to its customers.  Since this article was written, NewEgg has confessed that the CPUs in question were fakes, and has talked things over with the supplier responsible – in this case, the ‘talk’ being “we don’t work together any more.

US retailer Newegg was left with yolk on its face following reports that it has sent fake Core i7 CPUs to customers – with up to three hundred false retail boxes having been identified so far.

As first reported over on HardOCP, some of Newegg’s customers reported receipt of apparently fake versions of Intel i7-920 CPU retail boxes – containing mock CPU, heatsink, and blank documentation.

With a YouTube unboxing video showing the external realism, it’s not hard to see how the issue wasn’t spotted until customers started to unbox the fakes: from the outside, the only apparent issue is a few grammatical and spelling errors on the English blurb. Once the package is unboxed, however, the problem becomes apparent: a solid, fake heatsink; a blank instruction manual; and a non-functional, slightly curved processor.

While many are seeing this as a case of fake processors being snuck into Newegg’s supply chain, the official line from the company – as reported over on TechPowerup is that the fake retail boxes aren’t intended to be malicious. Instead, the retailer has claimed on its Twitter page that the fakes are “demo boxes” which were mistakenly shipped to customers by “one of our long-term partners.”

Whether the claim of demo boxes is anything other than face-saving by the retailer, the fact that the company has “already begun proactively reaching out to the affected customers” and ensuring that their purchases are replaced with fully functional units will come as a reassurance to Newegg’s customers.

Still, it does raise the question of how exactly the mix-up occurred: if the items are, as the company claims, demo boxes – why the effort to make them look as realistic as they do, complete with fake heatsink and blank manual? If the boxes are, as many instead believe, counterfeits – how did they enter Newegg’s supply chain and make it as far as being shipped to customers? So far, the company is remaining silent as to the long-term effects this issue could have on customer confidence.

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