AMD will begin putting 3-D holographic labels on the packaging of boxed processors so people can verify the chips' authenticity of the chips. The decision comes less than a week after police seized a number of AMD chips from an illegal re-marking operation in Taiwan.
The holographic label will appear on the bottom left corner of the packaging for boxed Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64, Sempron and Opteron chips, the company said. AMD's boxed processors are often purchased by system builders and PC buyers choosing their own components. They come with a heatsink and a fan and carry a three-year limited warranty.
The introduction of the new security feature follows a report last week from Taiwanese online news agency DigiTimes that Taiwanese police had seized 60,00 defective AMD chips from a group planning to re-mark the chips and sell them in Germany and China. By re-marking chips criminals can resell them as more valuable models, with a higher clock speed or on-chip cache, for example.
An AMD spokesman said the company was not aware of any false AMD products having entered the distribution channel from Taiwan, and rejected a suggestion that the new packaging program was introduced as a result of the reported defective chips.
While the hologram feature is aimed at assuring customers of the authenticity of AMD's chips, at least one distributor said it would have little effect on the way it identifies genuine products. "We only buy AMD chips through authentic channels and not on the gray market, so if there were any issues we'd expect the channel to take care of it," said Terri Fisher head of business development at Compusys. Compusys buys boxed processors and trays of chips, which do not include the heatsink and carry a different warranty, he said.
The 3-D hologram is so far being used only on AMD's boxed processors. It features an AMD arrow logo that is difficult to duplicate and is designed to make tampering evident.
It will try to educate customers about the new packaging using e-mail, marketing materials at points of sale, and other methods, the company said. More information can be found on its website at www.amd.com/PIBsecurity.