Suspects arrested for selling sample Intel CPUs on eBay

An investigation into the illegal selling of Intel sample CPUs in Taiwan has now resulted in arrests. The China Post reports today that four engineers that worked for Intel's OEM makers have now been arrested and charged with allegedly selling engineering sample versions of Intel's CPU products on eBay. The four unnamed suspects are now facing jail time that could be as long as five years.

The story states that the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Taiwan started investigating reports back in September that some people were selling these sample CPUs on eBay and generating a huge profit as a result of their actions. In December, the CIB conducted a raid on the suspects' own residences and confiscated a total of 178 sample CPUs.  The suspects reportedly admitted their actions, saying they had sold a whopping 500 Intel CPU samples since 2009.

These kinds of processors are never meant to be sold to the general public. Rather, they are usually given to OEM makers to help the manufacturers with their product development under a non-disclosure agreement. The story does not state which of the OEM makers the suspects in this case worked for.

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11 Comments

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I bought a Core2Duo E6700 off eBay. When I received it I noticed the markings were very different from a standard E6700. I Googled and discovered it is an Engineering Sample. I was hesitant, but it works great. It is multiplier locked, appears as a standard E6700 and so far has given me no problems.

smooth3006 said,
who the hell would even buy a beta cpu?
Sacha! ^^^

Sacha said,
I received one of these Engineering Samples off eBay.

Only thing that would have made this reasonable other than making money off something you got for free would be if it was the 10 and 12 Core samples they sent out recently.

Those are sometime extreme processors and are full of bugs (sometimes). Since they're unreleased product they might get into their competitions hands.

sam232 said,
What do these sample CPUs have that retail CPUs don't have?
They're CPUs that are not available yet (think of them as "alpha" or "beta" CPUs)

Also engineering sample CPUs are multiplier unlocked. Before the K-series i5/i7 chips appeared they were quite appealing to overclockers as a result.

Phemo said,
Also engineering sample CPUs are multiplier unlocked. Before the K-series i5/i7 chips appeared they were quite appealing to overclockers as a result.

ES CPUs in the last few years aren't multiplier unlocked. I have a bunch of Engineering Sample Intel processors (I get mine directly from Intel, so yes, mine are legit), and the ones they distribute, at least to reviewers, are exactly the same as retail box units minus the ES markings ("Intel Confidential" on the CPU, ES in the CPU string, etc). I don't know how far this stat goes back, but I have an E7200 from 2007/2008 that was multiplier locked. Same goes with the Core i5-2405S I got last year. The ones that I have unlocked are unlocked because they are supposed to be unlocked regardless.