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AMD

AMD Chip Fraud Delays Release of New Chipset 243

rocketman768 writes "According to internetnews.com a workshop in Taipei has been re-labeling nearly a million AMD Athlon XPs. It seems AMD is spending more time investigating this than on releasing their new Alchemy chipset which boasts direct transfer of video from digital video recorders to portable players without the need to transcode through a PC."
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AMD Chip Fraud Delays Release of New Chipset

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  • AMD (Score:5, Funny)

    by bharatk ( 845736 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:45PM (#11250054) Homepage
    I guess noone noticed their chips were manafactured by "Advanced Moocro Devices".
    • > I guess noone noticed their chips were manafactured by "Advanced Moocro Devices".

      So how is the remarked-CPU problemm getting in the way of...

      their new Alchemy chipset which boasts direct transfer of video from digital video recorders to portable players without the need to transcode through a PC.

      I mean, seriously. Turning a Gateway/e-machines into an FX-53/3400+, that's what I call Alchemy!

    • Re:AMD (Score:5, Funny)

      by mollusk ( 195851 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:05PM (#11250227) Homepage
      Hey, I know a genuine 'Panaphonics' when I see one.
    • A friend of mine bought a "Bolex" on the street in New York. We placed bets on how long it would last. Surprisingly, it went strong for several months until it was accidentally left in a pocket. The washing machine tore the plastic faceplate out and revealed the cardboard interior. . .

      That was a dang good watch, while it worked.
    • Re:AMD (Score:2, Interesting)


      I think the author is a bit of a fraud himself for sensationalizing this. He calls them "counterfeit" and "fake" but that's not really what they are.

      Reading between the lines, it sounds like these guys just bought a bunch of AMD chips, marked higher clock speeds on them, and then resold them.

      Yeah it's a million chips but this is not big-time counterfeiting. It's not like they ripped off the design files and built it in their own fab, which would take TREMENDOUS resources, and is a project of such a scale
      • Re:AMD (Score:2, Insightful)

        by caino59 ( 313096 )
        uh...yea...but it's still ILLEGAL.

        a million chips? say there's a 10 dollar difference between one chip model and the next speed up. That's quite a bit of pcket change.
      • Re:AMD (Score:5, Informative)

        by FRiC ( 416091 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:35PM (#11250748) Homepage
        The article refers to xbitlabs which refers to Sin Chew Daily, which isn't even a Taiwanese newspaper. I searched Taiwanese sites and the most recent AMD related bust only found 60,000 pcs of remarked chips, not a million as reported.
      • It's still fraud. They are not what they advertise them to be, hence "fake".

        Maybe it doesn't fit the exact definition of "counterfeit", but that doesn't make it any less wrong.
      • Relabling is counterfeiting, just like pasting the corners from $10 bills on a $1. It doesn't really matter that you are starting from legitimately produced materials.
    • Taiwan has been remarking CPUs for at least 10 years. I remember back in the days of the 486 chips with multipliers... most of the chips available were remarked chips, and all anyone cared about was: (1) "can I actually run it at that frequency?" and (2) how much?

      Has anything changed?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:45PM (#11250056)
    they're just doing the overclocking for you! saves the customer time, really.
  • Yea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaiser423 ( 828989 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:45PM (#11250057)
    That's something they have to be pretty agressive about. They're starting to get a really good name among the PHB's and average joe's. So, they have to really fight to keep their reputation growing. Their new reputation is almost to the point where it's a selling point. They just need to keep it there, and then they have a cash cow.
    • Re:Yea (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Do you even know how a cash cow works?
      Their main product (only product?) is processors, how the hell is that a cash cow? They have to fight for market share just about every year, so no, this is not a cash cow for them, it's the company's good name at stake really.
      • Re:Yea (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kaiser423 ( 828989 )
        In the past, people never got fired for buying IBM. Same goes for Microsoft and Intel and Oracle. That simple attitude is a cash cow. They could count on a decent chunk of money every quarter that they didn't really have to work for. That's a cash cow -- money rolling in just because you're there.

        I can see it starting to happen with AMD in certain arenas. It might not be some huge cash cow like MS Office is to Microsoft, but there's a growing segment out there who thinks that AMD gives you the most
      • Re:Yea (Score:3, Funny)

        by Sponge Bath ( 413667 )
        Do you even know how a cash cow works?

        Shove quarters in its butt and it sprays money from its tits?
        There may be moo to it, but that's what I herd.

      • Re:Yea (Score:4, Informative)

        by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:30PM (#11250726) Homepage
        Actually, if AMD has a cash cow, it's their flash memory business. It's what kept the company's head above water during the lean years where the microprocessor division was doing nothing but losing money.
      • Do you even know how a cash cow works?

        It's a stockyard where cattle are kept while awaiting various kinds of inhumane treatment (e.g., branding, slaughter, etc.) at the hands of their depraved owners or their employees.
        The stockyard allows the vicious Cattle Processing Unit (CPU) to access the cattle more efficiently than having to fetch each cow individually from the open range when it's needed to be the subject of one vile torture or another.

        Oh, wait, that's not a "cash cow"; that's a "cow cache".

  • by Magickcat ( 768797 ) * on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:47PM (#11250071)
    It seems AMD is spending more time investigating this than on releasing their new Alchemy chipset which boasts direct transfer of video from digital video recorders to portable players without the need to transcode through a PC."

    Funny, I didn't read that or infer that from the article. Perhaps you have special glasses that let you read invisible ink?
  • Excuse me? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:49PM (#11250091)

    It seems AMD is spending more time investigating this than on releasing their new Alchemy chipset

    Yes, I'm sure they've taken their fab plant workers and assigned them to detective jobs instead.

  • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:50PM (#11250100) Homepage Journal
    Now AMD will be forced to investigate new ways of preventing chips being overclocked to stop this from happening again.

    • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:52PM (#11250126) Homepage Journal
      Doubtful. With the cost of fabs, it would probably be less expensive just to raid and shut down the illegal "producers" than to try and work out elaborate protection schemes.

      Remember - implementing half-assed software hacks to "protect" content on a CD is relatively cheap compared to the cost of imlpementing something similar to prevent overclocking in a complex computer chip.
      • Uh, with the cost of fabs? What causes you to imagine that AMD would need to build a new fab to introduce nre anti-overclocking features? They might need to tape out some new chips - which they can do in the same fabs.
      • "Doubtful. With the cost of fabs, it would probably be less expensive just to raid and shut down the illegal "producers" than to try and work out elaborate protection schemes."

        Cost of fabs? What? The cost of a new mask maybe, but fabs have nothing to do with this.

        "Remember - implementing half-assed software hacks to "protect" content on a CD is relatively cheap compared to the cost of imlpementing something similar to prevent overclocking in a complex computer chip."

        Once again, what? Software hacks? What
      • You completely misrepresent things. The countermeasures are not elaborate or half assed. Intel has already been down this road. Fixed clock multipliers, having BIOS vendors display the embedded brand string that includes the performance index, etc. Overclocking on AMD is endangered by large scale counterfeiting.
    • I sure hope not. Not that I've *ever* had any luck overclocking an AMD chip with any bit of stability.
      It seems that there should be a way to report what the chip actually is (much like SPD eprom with RAM), so that you cannot hide what the chip actually is, but you're still able to overclock it. As many others have pointed out, though, it's non-trivial to implement changes, but I'm betting they'll implement something in future versions of their chips.

      Jerry
      http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

  • cat /proc/cpuinfo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:50PM (#11250106)

    Wouldn't the BIOS detect this and display it right when a system boots up, you would think even a not-so-clever user would start to notice that the numbers on the package and the numbers on the screen don't match up

    A simple cat /proc/cpuinfo on a GNU/Linux system for experienced users should expose the farce too, correct me if I'm wrong.

    • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:02PM (#11250207)
      ...you would think even a not-so-clever user would start to notice...
      I would doubt it. To most people the bios output is just a bunch of text, as long as there is text and it doesn't stop, the system is working. Most people don't look at what it says.
      • by turgid ( 580780 )
        I would doubt it. To most people the bios output is just a bunch of text, as long as there is text and it doesn't stop, the system is working. Most people don't look at what it says.

        Some people think that lots of text scrolling past at boot time is the mark of a shoddy or "old-fashioned" system. I put Linux on an old PC for my neighbour a couple of weeks ago. He was most distressed by all the messages scrolling past before X and kdm started up.

        I also later made the mistake of using a command-line to do som

    • Nope, you're spot on:

      For example:

      model name : Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz
      cpu MHz : 3015.616

      I assume it would be exactly the same with an AMD.
    • Depends on the system and the user. Lots of modern systems show you a pretty graphic instead of useful POST information these days.

      Also, I doubt that most normal users have any clue what speed their CPU is, much less how to interpret the information provided in the BIOS.
    • Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (Score:4, Informative)

      by lachlan76 ( 770870 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:17PM (#11250301)
      Because AMD makes each chip the same, and just modifies the multiplier to change the speed, the chip just detects what speed it is running at and makes the text show up as the right one.
      • Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (Score:2, Interesting)

        by shlashdot ( 689477 )
        So is there any way to tell, as a user?
        • probably not... most of the Socket A models have a 2-d barcode etched onto the top of the die itself but it would be pretty time consuming to try and decode manually.
        • Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (Score:3, Informative)

          by lachlan76 ( 770870 )
          You may be able to see traces of work being done on the top of the CPU, in the L3 and L4 bridges.

          They are laser-cut at the amd factory to set the multiplier, and to be modified, the bridges which were cut would need to be filled in, and a conductive material painted on top.

          This [tomshardware.com] it how it's done, only in this case it is the L1 bridges that are joined, so that any multiplier can be set on the motherboard. You could do it with the L3 and L4 bridges to change to a set multiplier, which is probably what the
    • Except the bios gets this information from the chip.
      and the chip has been tampered with, to make it tell the bios it's a faster chip than originally sold as... and no the chip won't burn up... well unless they took the slowest chips, and remarked them as the fastest... normally what you'd get is a few chips that worked fine, and a bunch of chips that are being under voltaged, which would result in a lower stability rate, more crashing etc.
      Remeber the only physical difference between a 2100+ and a 2600+ is
    • Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (Score:5, Informative)

      by canadiangoose ( 606308 ) <djgraham@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:12PM (#11250594)
      My chip is an Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton) overclocked to 2.2GHz on a 200MHz bus, and this is what shows up on my system:
      Kernel command line: auto BOOT_IMAGE=Linux ro root=302 apic_tack=1 devfs=mount

      Initializing CPU#0
      PID hash table entries: 2048 (order 11: 16384 bytes)
      Detected 2204.860 MHz processor.
      ......
      ......
      Calibrating delay loop... 4358.14 BogoMIPS
      ......
      ......
      CPU: After generic identify, caps: 0383fbff c1c3fbff 00000000 00000000
      CPU: After vendor identify, caps: 0383fbff c1c3fbff 00000000 00000000
      CPU: L1 I Cache: 64K (64 bytes/line), D cache 64K (64 bytes/line)
      CPU: L2 Cache: 512K (64 bytes/line)
      CPU: After all inits, caps: 0383fbff c1c3fbff 00000000 00000020
      Intel machine check architecture supported.
      Intel machine check reporting enabled on CPU#0.
      CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 3200+ stepping 00
      • Whoops, I geuss that cancels the ability to electronically ID a fraudulent chip. I don't know what Intel does, if they have some sort of write-once area of the chip to identify what the chip originally sold as.
        • I'm not certain, but I guess some software such as CPU-Z [cpuid.com] for Windows could still determine the original rating of the CPU. Or at least aid someone trying to find out. I'm not sure if the raw family and model ids help, but at the very least the cache sizes are both hard (impossible?) to fake and give you a general idea of the kind of CPU you are dealing with.
    • Yes.

      But once you discover the deception the guy who sold it to you has packed up and pissed off with your money never to be seen again.
  • Alchemy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kinema ( 630983 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:54PM (#11250150)
    their new Alchemy chipset which boasts direct transfer of video from digital video recorders to portable players without the need to transcode through a PC
    AMD's Alchemy line isn't a mainboard chipset it is their brand of 32 bit embedded MIPS SoC (system on a chip) devices. The Au1200 is the newest in the family targeted for use in digital media players like PVRs. What makes the Au1200 perfect for media players is it's hardware video codecs that support MPEG1, 2, 4 (including DivX) and WMV9.
    • Hey, this might get me buying a new PC again. I've been wondering why we can't seem to get decent hardware transcoding boards, at any price. Going from DV to MPEG2 or any other standard is often a tedious hours long process with quality, or maybe 1.5x real-time with horrible quality loss.

      Part of the reason this surprises me so much is that DVD recorders are often sub $300 these days, and each one has a hardware MPEG encoder and decoder in it. Why not slap one on a PC for at least "free" (no CPU) 1x enco
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:56PM (#11250166)
    Submitter? Editor? Anyone read this? It said "shadowed" and "put a damper on." There is no assertion anywhere that the fraud caused a chipset delay.
  • The question is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ral315 ( 741081 )
    How did AMD not notice this before a million chips were relabeled?
  • by Somegeek ( 624100 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:08PM (#11250248)
    "The news has put a damper on the release of Alchemy, the company's new processor.".

    The author evidently thought this quote meant that AMD was slowing down the release of the processor, instead of realizing that it just means that it dulled some of AMD's excitement over the new product release. The story even states that AMD is already selling "large quantities" of the chipset. Sounds like they are releasing it just fine, no delays.
  • by CygnusXII ( 324675 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:08PM (#11250253)
    This just shows that AMD has reached a point Intel was at 5 or 6 years ago. I worked for a hardware reseller, that got burned by a lot of hotwired, Pentium II's. It was so bad that we were raided by the FEDs'. That freaked me out. Try coming to work one day, walk into the Shop and Agent Smith, flips a Badge and ask you to step into the Boss's Office, for an Interview.
  • Seriously.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tuxter ( 809927 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:32PM (#11250394) Journal
    The reason AMD are so well renowned amongst geeks is _because_ they are over clockable, are they willing to risk this? It's one of their selling points surely.
    • They are absolutely willing to risk the enthusiast market if it helps them in the mainstream desktop, business, and server markets.
    • The new 90nm chips are clock locked.

      -Charlie
      • They are multiplier locked. And even then it's only for multipliers above the stock. You can still raise the FSB to speeds above what the chip was designed for.

        For example, my shiny new Athlon 64 Winchester (90nm, socket 939) is currently running at 2330mhz (233mhz x 10) from it's stock 2000mhz (200mhz x 10). I can also run it at 2375mhz (250mhz x 9.5).
  • by bob beta ( 778094 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @08:40PM (#11250444)
    You mean the numbers on those chips don't designate their clock speed?!?
  • I was hoping somehow there was like a new cpu manufacturer who made a socket A compatible chip :(

    We need some indie CPU manufacturers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:03PM (#11251176)
    Just downloaded the Au1200 databook and had a look at the media accelerator chapter. The Media Acceleration Engine (MAE) is a hardware accelerator that provides IDCT and Motion Compensation similar to that of the ATI Rage 128 / Radeon series. There is full documentation on the internal operation of the MAE together with listings of all the registers. This means that it won't be long before it'll be supported under Linux.

    Contrast this with ATI who refuse to release documentation on the IDCT unit. And even worse - Broadcom who make competing CPUs won't release ANY databook unless under NDA.
  • by freitasm ( 444970 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:07PM (#11251195) Homepage
    AMD has announced the Alchemy Au1200 for Personal Media Players [geekzone.co.nz] on 3 JAN, including price and date for availability... This CPU provides a DVD-quality display that can be scaled directly to larger screens. The Au1200 processor is designed to support industry-standard media formats, including MPEG2, MPEG4, WMV9, H.263 and DivX.
  • Spotting a fake? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @12:02AM (#11251445) Homepage
    Is there some kind of guide comparing mislabeled AMD processors to the real deal?
  • -1 Stupid (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dwonis ( 52652 )
    It seems AMD is spending more time investigating this than on releasing their new Alchemy chipset...

    Oh yeah! Clearly AMD's engineers are tied up doing this investigation...

    </sarcasm>

  • by the angry liberal ( 825035 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @12:14AM (#11251507)
    rocketman768 writes "According to internetnews.com a workshop in Taipei has been re-labeling nearly a million AMD Athlon XPs. It seems AMD is spending more time investigating this than on releasing their new Alchemy chipset which boasts direct transfer of video from digital video recorders to portable players without the need to transcode through a PC."

    Yes rocketman768, AMD has one guy that designs chipsets and manages their legal department. While his skills are incredible, he has not been managing his time well lately. This has resulted in the Alchemy being delayed. I will forward your message to HR and let them know about your concerns.

    Your headline is a display of intellectualism that can only be rivaled by an autistic sea monkey. For that, the Internet thanks you.

  • by 2TecTom ( 311314 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @12:56AM (#11251687) Homepage Journal
    DigiTimes [digitimes.com] reports that "Over a million re-marked AMD CPUs have allegedly been shipped to Germany and China, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported Saturday, ..."
    DigiTimes ~ Taiwan police seize 60,000 suspect AMD CPUs [digitimes.com]

    http://slashdot.org/~2TecTom/journal/94553 [slashdot.org]
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @01:20AM (#11251754) Homepage Journal


    During the HardOCP presentation, a pretty significant guy from AMD discussed this matter. He said AMD is not against hobbyists overclocking their chips. He said they're upset over an 'asian company' buffing off their labelling, overclocking the chips, and relabelling the chips. I had just bought an Athlon XP 3200 "OEM" chip and was curious if it might be one of the bootlegged CPUs. I talked to an engineer at their booth and showed him the chip. AMD, like several other QuakeCon sponsors, had real-deal engineers on hand to address technical queries. Not just booth babes handing out shirts. The guy I talked to said he had never seen a 3200 made with a green PCB. He also gave me the contact info for an FBI agent who is investigating this phenomena. Later on, I asked a friend of mine who works at AMD about the green-vs-gold PCB issue. His co-workers were likewise skeptical of a 3200 mounted on a green PCB. So now I'm going to contact that FBI agent and see what he thinks.
  • Athlon XP 2200+ (Score:3, Informative)

    by elynnia ( 815633 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @04:03AM (#11252131)
    This article brings to mind an incident I had with an Athlon I'd bought last year for my computer... I bought a 2200+ from a shop in Sydney, Australia, but when I started up the computer the BIOS recognised it as a 1800+, although it displayed it as a 2200+ when I took the computer back to the shop and the shop guy did 'Load Optimised Defaults' in the BIOS. Has anyone else here had similar experiences? ~Aly~
  • by 2TecTom ( 311314 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @07:28AM (#11252611) Homepage Journal
    For instance, News.com posted this in an article way back in May of 2003: "The move comes amid the discovery of a remarked chip market earlier this year. In February, AMD embarked of a series of raids in the Philippines."
    AMD combats chip fraud in Asia [com.com]
  • AMD CPUID ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by justins ( 80659 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:00AM (#11252986) Homepage Journal
    Are these utilities of any use?
    http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/Technica lResou rces/0,,30_182_871_2364,00.html

    I guess a serial number you could actually call and check with AMD about would cause the privacy worriers to shit themselves, but it would be useful in this case.

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