Do you want to buy Intel's 32nm sexa-core CPU for 2010...today?
11/29/2009 by: Deep Throat
Editor's note: In this Deep Throat article, BSN* is proud to introduce a very interesting industry insider - for confidentiality reasons, we cannot disclose the identity. The story was created after a conversation through an IM [Instant Messaging] client where our source vented out his frustration over tolerance towards individuals who openly break confidentiality agreements and "go unpunished" due to their strength/size/influence. You're free to post comments but please refrain from profanity and low-level insults. We won't tolerate such behavior. Thank you.
When is confidential - confidential?
When it comes to evaluating unreleased products, regardless of that being a screwdriver, a car or a computer hardware component, there is either a confidential agreement or a very high level of confidentiality between the two sides. A breach of that confidentiality usually results in a substantial cool-down or even a complete freeze of afore mentioned relationship. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
For instance, Engineering Sample [ES] processors used to be very limited units of beta version CPUs used within companies such as Intel, which were shipped to select partners:
This list was an exclusive one indeed. For instance, even cooler manufacturers would not receive units. All they would receive would be thermal specs and sometimes potential hotspots - but not that they could do anything about them. As enthusiasts started to gain ground, companies such as Intel, AMD and nVidia started sampling professional gamers and overclockers as well, and the list stopped being so exclusive, as they all started handing out ES models to a lot of people. As it usually happens, with larger volume of people comes a risk of those samples leaking out.
- OEM/ODM/SI - qualification
- Motherboard vendor - qualification
- Journalists [writing a review whenever a new processor or platform]
For instance, receiving a Press Kit from Intel usually means you have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement [not disclosing any information prior to official launch date, ed.] for the parts in question, but sometimes it is also required to sign a Proof of Delivery. This document is intended to prevent the receiving party from stock piling and/or selling off these products.
The lines below marked in red are an excerpt from the terms and conditions of Intel's recent Proof Of Delivery agreement sent to reviewers of the newer Core i5-700/i7-800 series press kits:
The above terms of agreement for technical journalists would lead one to believe that Intel's Engineering Samples are only sent to reviewers/partners for a limited time-frame, and are kept under close watch at any and all times.
- Samples are classified as intellectual property that is licensed by Intel to customers to validate their designs.
- Intel retains title to the samples at all time, and samples can be recalled at any time.
- Customers will be expected to ensure samples are in a secure location.
- Customers will be expected to maintain control of units for intended use and when requested return samples back to Intel, or when no longer needed scrap as appropriate with proof of destruction.
However, a quick Google search reveals that it is very easy to grab a hand on Intel's upcoming 32nm sexa-core processors:
Quick Google search reveals an auction for Sexa-core Westmere CPU, codenamed Bloomfield
As was the case with the flood of Core 2-processors from China a year ago, the fact of the matter is that we have seen samples of individuals selling upcoming Gulftown processors [sexa-core CPU, member of 32nm Westmere family]. We saw the samples sold in the Middle East and Taiwan [pictured above] and this behavior has been happening for some time.
For the hell of it, we did a quick search on "Q3QP" [Intel ES identifier for Core i9 processor] and "Gulftown", and apparently it's quite easy to buy your very own Sexa-Core Intel Westmere engineering sample TODAY. If you are based in Europe, look no further than Denmark where a seemingly large shipment of the Gulftown CPU [Q3QP] is being sold at approximately 800 Euros a piece, right to your own door step with FedEx.
Selling the Intel Gulftown sample - Q3QP means the latest batch, 3.06 GHz one... but, 6000 quids?
According to the image above, the samples in question come with an unlocked multiplier and are clocked at 3.06 GHz. If you're a member of the "elite club" that got sampled with Gulftown processors, you'll know that the earliest samples came at 2.4 GHz, followed by 2.66/2.7 GHz ones and now it looks like Intel shipped out a batch of 3.06 GHz processors. This is only a testament of how efficient Intel's 32nm High-K process is - but the unfortunate matter is that there are a lot of partners that got skipped on this batch, obviously targeted towards elite overclockers as a part of the fine-tuning process. I will not disclose here at what clocks my Westmere operates or do I have a Westmere processor at all. Have to protect my butt, sorry.
Where are those CPUs coming from...? AY usually stands for Andre Yang, one of top world oveclockers.
However, there a few things you should know about ES processors before going there. First off, Engineering Sample CPUs are destined for quality control tests by Intel engineers and partners, and are not intended for resale. They are used in various internal stress test procedures and - as could be read from the POD agreement - remain Intel's property there after. Thus people selling ES CPU's are actually trading what is essentially stolen property.
You should also be aware of the fact that many of these ES processors have been subjected to major stresses during their aforementioned internal tests, and can therefore be partially degraded or even damaged to such a degree that you might not even be able to boot. This especially goes for processors that were submitted to below-zero temperatures such as in the case of Vapor Chamber/Dry Ice/Liquid Nitrogen cooling.
Oh, and if you do try sending one back to Intel for RMA, you'll need to explain how you got hold of a stolen processor in the first place. Even if you are aware of the legal risks in buying such ES processors, we'd recommend that you fork out the cash for a retail unit instead - which often times outperforms its engineering sample counterpart.
What to get from all this? It is all fine and dandy when it comes to getting on the list, but selling these processors is a major offense. I cannot imagine Intel staying still in this matter. But if Intel stays quiet - that would mean a green light for selling all other CPUs... say, does anyone want a dozen of unlocked 65 and 45nm Core 2 Quad's? My Nehalem's are mixed bag - C rev ones don't want to overclock, but D ones are beasties.
Google Search Result for "Intel Gulftown eBay"
Google Search Result for "Intel Gulftown Buy"
Google Searches for "Q3QP"
http://hwt.dk/forumthread.aspx?ThreadID=277491 [see entry #8, #9 and #10]
Intel Core i9, Intel, Intel Corporation, Core i9, i9 1000, Westmere, Gulftown, six-core, sexa-core, Engineering Sample, ES, Intel ES, press kit, media kit, Non-Disclosure Agreement, Proof of Delivery, journalists, media, overclocker, overclockers, Core 2, China, Taiwan, Middle East, Q3QP, EU, Denmark, XtremeSystems, OCTeamDenmark, Google, Google Cache
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