Help in identifying a counterfeit Athlon XP 3200+.

By Mugsy ยท 21 replies
Jul 27, 2005
  1. I have been battling a stability problem with my new PC ever since I bought it several months ago. I'm running an Athlon XP 3200+ with Barton core (OEM) that I purchased online (checked with various cpu ID checkers). BIOS detects it as such and configures accordingly.

    I began to suspect "heat" was the issue. Though the computer wasn't running *that* hot, it seems to crash when the cpu temp exceeds 50'C.

    After doubling the size of the fan on my heatsink (solid copper btw), and adding fans to the case, I dropped both the die and case temps by 8'C (very good), but still the crashing persisted.

    Eventually, I discovered that I can 100% stabilize the computer by running it at a slower speed (in BIOS, changing the 200MHz FSB setting to 166MHz so that it thinks I'm running a 2500+ processor).

    After doing some research online, I learned that some "Athlon XP 3200+"s are really just modified Athlon XP 2500+"s with the "L12 bridge" cut. I've compared photos of a real 2500+ and real 3200+, but I just can't spot the difference.

    I need to know what to look for before I pull out my own cpu to see if it's counterfeit. Please help!
  2. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Does your motherboard properly support the 200mhz FSB ? I've had such a problem myself with a 3200+ & an Asus a7n8x Deluxe (the 2.0 version which officialy supported the 200mhz FSB).

    Do you also have PC3200 Ram ?
  3. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Soyo KT600 MB.

    The MB, a Soyo Dragon Ultra Platinum with KT600 chipset tops out at the 200MHz bus setting (Pheonix BIOS). As far as I can tell though, the clock multiplier can not be set manually. :(

    If you mean something specific by "properly" support 200MHz, then I couldn't say. It's the last setting listed in the BIOS, so I'm not using any tricks or finagling to set it that high.

    Also, I'm using one 512M stick of Samsung pc3200 DDR ram. I've thoroughly tested it with "MemTest86 v3.0" and it checks out just fine.

    It's an OEM chip. I bought the cpu online at (correction) "A2Z Computers" for just $129, so all the red flags are there (which is why I'm so suspicious). Definitely Barton core, but that doesn't mean it's a real 3200+.
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    I guess the easiest would be to post a high-res picture of what the chip looks like.
  5. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    I plan on pulling it out tonight, though I was hoping to have a better idea of what to look for before I do so that I'm not wasting my time.

    I have a digital camera, but I doubt I could take a close enough photo that's still in focus (but I'll try). Since my scanner would need the computer to operate, I can't scan it.

  6. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Here's photo. It's a fake.


    Finally relented and pulled it out. Looks like they sold me a counterfeit 3200+.


    (Note the dark soldier marks on the L3, L5 and L12 bridges in the upper left.) I called them and they gave me a RMA number (return authorization) w/o argument. I suspect mine is not the first call they received.
  7. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    I'm afraid it does look like a fake. The only way to be sure would be to buy a retail/boxed version but they're no longer being made. You are left with the choice to either get a Sempron (if you can still find it in Socket-A form) or upgrade your motherboard/CPU setup.
  8. biopsy

    biopsy TS Rookie

    I have the same processor runnining on A7N8X-E Deluxe and never had any problems so far. CPU temperature is usually around 28-29C. Maybe you really did get a fake one.
  9. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Upgrade my upgrade.

    <chuckle> That's how I got in this mess.

    Two months ago, my old Asus MB and 1800+ went belly up after my PSU blew. I found a great bargain on a fully loaded Soyo MB just because it was 2003's model. I then bought (or THOUGHT I was buying) the fastest processor it supported, but had nothing but trouble from day one. It took A LOT of trying different things before I finally figured out what the problem was. I added fans, UNDERclocked my video card and cpu both, trying to get temperatures down... but it wasn't until I tried setting the video card back to normal last week did I discover that the cpu alone was the culprit. Within 24 hours, I learned about the counterfeit 3200's and had found my answer. Amazing.

    PS: It is in the mail on its way back now. I called and they gave me no problems. (I doubt I was the first to call on this.) Just said to send it back and they'd replace it. As long as I don't get another counterfeit, I'll be happy... wiser, yet happy.
  10. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Great temps. What do you cool with?

    That's some pretty good temp readings. Even when running the counterfeit chip at its "true" 2500+, I still average around 42'C, and I have a solid copper heat sink, open case with numerous fans. :(

    What are you using?
  11. urbandragon

    urbandragon TS Rookie Posts: 231

    I honestly dont understand all of the heat problems...
    I was running an xp 2500+ and the cpu temps would peak at around 37C when under a heavy load...

    I have experienced actual problems using the Volcano series heatsink/fan core...

    it just doesn't make sense to me to have a 5 pound weight on top of the tiny core..

    once i switched to a much lighter core heatsink my temps dont get higher than 37C.
  12. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Must be a very optimistic thermal probe (unless you live on the north pole).
  13. biopsy

    biopsy TS Rookie

    I have 5 fans in the case, 3 of which are located around the processor. (2 blowing in and one blowing out). Also, the computer is located right in front of the ventilation opening. Plus the office is located in the basement, and it is cold as heck in here all year long.
  14. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Keep in mind it may be the motherboard, not the CPU. Ensure that the CPU they send to you is NOT the same one. I have had cases with RMA's where the product they returned to me was the exact same part - Down to the serial number and condition for which I returned it in the first place.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
  15. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Ambient room temp makes all the diff.

    AH! Ambient room temperature makes all the difference. I always get better numbers when the room is colder.

  16. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Same thoughts.

    Pretty sure it's not the MB. Everything works w/o a hitch when I ran the processor at 2500+. Unless for some reason it can't handle the higher speed, in which case, I'm screwed. But from all indications so far, it's the fraudulent cpu.

    Re: getting the same cpu or another knock-off back, I thought about the same thing. I will be inspecting the replacent chip they send me under a microscope. Glad I took all the photos. :)
  17. biopsy

    biopsy TS Rookie

    maybe you should put a little mark on the CPU just to make sure they don't send you the same one. Because you really won't be able to tell if the serial number's the same. Another interesting thing is that when you do a price comparison for this processor, there is a big gap between several sites. Some sell it for $129 while others for $220+. Something's not right.
  18. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    Too late.

    Too late to mark it, I mailed it back Saturday. My photos should be enough though.

    Also, I could have bought a slower chip locally for the same price, but I wanted the top-of-the-line.
  19. staz

    staz TS Rookie

    Finnally i found someone with the same problem as me...

    People already have told me that my processor is counterfeit but i never took it so seriously ... So now i really know it is ..

    Right now im running it at 166mhz , and its showin to be a athlon 2500+ ...

    Do you thin i can still return it .. it has been about almost 1 year i have bought it .... at the time athlon 3200 was the highest xD

    I bought it off tiger direct :


    AMD Athlon XP 3200+ Socket A CPU Barton Core

    Do you think they still have to change it because i just found out its counterfeit ?

    Bahh .. this sucks
  20. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    A year+ seems too long.

    Hmm, I'd try contacting the seller and ask (be EXTREMELY nice when you do, even if they knowingly screwed you, because the ball is entirely in their court at this point). Couldn't hurt. But considering how long it's been, I seriously doubt you'll have much luck. I have no experience with Tiger to know what their policies are like.

    The place I bought my processor from, despite being a used OEM chip with just 30 day warrantee, gladly replaced it with a bare non-OEM chip more than three months after I bought it, even throwing in a nice free HSF (if they had any original boxed 3200's with fan, they probably would have sent me one of those instead, so they sent me the physical equivalent).

    My guess is I wasn't the first to complain.

    If you still have the receipt, go ahead and try. If they won't take it back, consider it a 'lesson learned the hard way', run it like you are for another year and then upgrade again (the newer 64's run faster and cooler), so you might be better off.
  21. Draxxus

    Draxxus TS Rookie

    This is BULLSH!T i just looked at my 3200+ I bought from tiger direct and it's a fake. I was so pissed I called them and they said it's been too long since the original purchase they can't replace it. No more Tiger direct orders from me
  22. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 437   +31

    There were an awful lot floating around.

    There was an extraordinary number of remarked Athlon XP 2500+/2800+ chips out there remarked as 3200's because it was so easy to do. A lot of customers and suppliers both got burned (suppliers bought the used chips in lots thinking they got a great deal on 3200's).

    Fortunately (if you can call it that) they run perfectly stable at their true speed.

    With the price of the newer processors falling, start planning/saving now to do a complete system upgrade late this year or early next year.

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