Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) will begin putting 3-D holographic labels on the packaging of boxed processors so that customers, resellers and distributors can verify the authenticity of the chips, it said Monday. The move comes less than a week after AMD said police had seized a number of its 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 3-year limited warranty.
The introduction of the new security feature follows a report last week from Taiwanese online news agency DigiTimes that Taiwanese police seized 60,000 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 instance.
An AMD spokesman in Germany said on Monday that the company is not aware of any false AMD products having entered the distribution channel from Taiwan, and he 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 in the U.K. 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 grey 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 PLC, a distributor and AMD business partner based in Buckinghamshire.
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. The Sunnyvale, Calif. company said that the hologram of the AMD arrow logo 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, it said. It has also posted information at http://www.amd.com/PIBsecurity .