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Consumers told to watch out for Intel samples

Why is the channel awash with clockable engineers' chips?

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Intel insisted today that it has told its channel that it may only ship production samples of its microprocessors. That follows a number of reports from savvy end users who have discovered machines containing engineering samples, which do not have overclockability removed, and also from one reader who was sold an overclockable CPU by mistake and wants to keep it. According to two readers who emailed The Register, each had machines which contained obviously genuine Intel microprocessors, but appeared to have features -- or functionalities -- not intended for the general public. One reader said: "I am concerned that this CPU I purchased from a fairly large Californian retailer may have problems because it is an engineering sample of some sort. It was not sold to me with this understanding and I more or less chanced upon it...there was more than one pin missing from the back...I would like to keep it because of this unexpected feature but am unsure if I should. " Another reader provided us with a barcode on his SECC2 (Slot One) processor which indeed had all the hallmarks of the type of engineering samples sent to OEMs or to the larger distributors in the world. The news tells us one of maybe two things. Either people who sell components are so desperate that they'll sell anything they've got, even free engineering samples, to poor end users, or, somehow, engineering samples are slipping into the channel. An Intel representative today said that his company insisted its channel shipped full production processors. He also points out that if people go to the Intel site and follow the CPU thread, they will come to a page which gives every possible combination of barcodes. If they do have engineering samples, by mistake or by design, Intel will be very interested to hear from them. ®

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