In Intel's latest move to deter fraudulent "re-markers" of its processors, the company last week released a free software application that can let you know if the chip has been tampered with.
The software, which initially will work with only the company's new Pentium III processors, identifies hidden codes in the processor and allows users to see if the chip is actually running at its rated speed.
Re-marking of processors is a multimillion-dollar, global criminal enterprise, involving cartels that purchase or steal the chips, re-mark them, and sell them for a higher price.
But unless a user disassembles the processor cartridge, and knows exactly what to look for, they won't even know the chip's been re-marked - until a problem arises. Re-marked chips tend to burn themselves out because they run much hotter than they should and aren't adequately cooled.