AMD CPUs to sport anti-fake holograms

Is your box genuine?

AMD has become the latest chip maker to stamp its wares with a holographic stamp in a bid to beat processor pirates.

The move, announced yesterday, follows the seizure two weeks ago of 60,000 dud AMD chips, originally due for destruction but rebadged without the company's permission in order that they might be sold as fully functioning product.

AMD boxed processor hologram

The hologram will be applied to all AMD's boxed processor products, which ship with a heatsink, fan and three-year limited warranty. The hard-to-imitate decal will appear on the bottom left of the packaging, and is designed to make it obvious if the label has been tampered with. The stamp provides five different images, depending on which way you look at it. Four of the five images present a number of dots, with a different number at each angle, to make the decals "extremely difficult to duplicate", AMD said.

The company also said it would back the move with an "educational campaign" to inform end users and system builders about the new mark and the peace of mind AMD hopes it will bring. The chip maker said will use various methods to inform worldwide customers about this new feature, including e-mail, customer training and point-of-sale marketing materials.

Earlier this month, Taiwanese police grabbed 60,000 dud AMD processors believed to have been made ready for sale as fully functioning product. It is feared that over 1m re-marked chips may already have entered European and Asian sales channels.

The chips were taken from the premises of a company named as Hao Hwa Technology following a tip-off from AMD's Taiwanese operation. The CPUs, a mix of 32-bit and 64-bit parts, were said to be defective and earmarked for destruction.

In September 2004, mobo maker Abit began applying holograms to its motherboards in an attempt to prevent grey imports of its products. ®

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