User discovers brand-new Core i9-13900K turns out to be a 13700K with swapped IHS

Published: Sep 3rd 2023, 10:35 GMT   Comments

IHS swapping scam targets 13th Core Gen series buyers

Redditor finds its brand-new Core i9-13900K processor has a different die underneath. 

The IHS (Integrated Heatspreader) swapping scheme is a well-known issue, affecting a variety of CPUs, typically targeting high-end Core i9 models, which are surreptitiously replaced with budget Pentium/Celeron SKUs in an attempt to deceive retailers upon returns. The lack of adequate training and awareness among retailers often allows these IHS swaps to go undetected, ultimately leading to unsuspecting customers receiving these tampered processors.

Recently, a Redditor named “Much_Designer_8417” received what was supposed to be a brand-new Core i9-13900K from Amazon but quickly discovered that some of the CPU’s cores were missing, the CPU was detected as Core i7-13700K. The primary distinction between these CPUs lies in the number of cores, with the Core i7 variant having half the E-Cores, not to mention differences in clock speeds. The user promptly identified the core deficiency, confirming it through various software tools, all of which indicated the CPUID matched the less expensive models.

Intel CPU scams encompass a range of techniques, many of which revolve around the IHS. The most prevalent scams involve laser etching fake branding and SKU markings on various CPUs, as explained in a GamersNexus video. These schemes either affect CPUs within the same family, utilizing identical packaging and IHS design, or involve laser etching on entirely different IHS, with the former being far more challenging to detect. Other fraudulent practices involve stickers on the IHS or affixing IHS to empty PCBs, as outlined in articles from Igor’sLAB and HKEPC dating back to 2020.

Common attempts in faking IHS, Source: Igor’sLAB/HKEPC

What makes this particular case unusual is the full-scale IHS swap, especially involving Core i7 and Core i9 SKUs, both of which are considered premium models. It appears that this scam was likely orchestrated by a single individual who saw it as a relatively inexpensive means of upgrading their CPU.

In the event of such an occurrence, it is essential to document the situation with photographs, gather specifications from both official and unofficial tools, and promptly contact the retailer’s customer support from which the CPU was purchased. Depending on local laws and regulations, users should be entitled to a replacement processor and full coverage of return shipping costs.

Source: Reddit




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