The problem of counterfeit Intel Pentium MMX chips reported by ARN in February (ARN, February 18, page 1) continues to bedevil the Australian channel structure.
Just ask Tasmanian reseller Quadrant Computer Centre. The managing director of the Launceston-based company, Paul Lyons, reports he was embarrassed after selling a system to a customer without first checking that its processor was legitimately rated at 200MHz as claimed by his supplier.
Belatedly inspecting it in the customer's premises, he discovered the chip was actually a resprayed 166MHz Pentium.
Intel confirmed the chip had been reclocked and Lyons shipped it back to his Melbourne supplier "who swears he'd never do a thing like that", Lyons said.
Earlier, Lyons had found another fraud- ulently reclocked chip in a customer's machine that was failing under heavy spreadsheet loads.
"I lifted the lid and there was another of those ceramic ones [166MHz chips came in ceramic packages] so I jumpered it back to 166MHz and they haven't had any more trouble."
Lyons now tells his technicians to inspect the processor in each machine as it comes in and to take nothing for granted.
The counterfeit chip problem for dealers is being compounded, not eased, Lyons believes. That's because Intel is putting higher speed MMX chips in the same ceramic format it formerly reserved for the 166MHz model, making it harder to distinguish between the two by casual visual inspection.
To maintain good customer relations, Lyons intends to identify those most likely to be at risk and approach them about checking their systems.