Facepalm: It seems that the old counterfeit CPU trick is still around, and once again the fake chip has come from Amazon. The victim purchased what appeared to be a Core i9-13900K, only for it to actually be a Core i7-13700K in disguise.

The Redditor included a photo of what looks like the Core i9-13900K he bought from Amazon UK back in April. It reportedly cost him £585, or around $736, for the processor, so it wasn't as if the price was out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately for Much_Designer_8417, it appears that the CPU he bought was actually the ~$180 cheaper Core i7-13700K. He included images from Core Temp and CPU-Z seemingly showing that the chip really was the 13th-gen i7.

i9 13900k showing as i7 13700k
by u/Much_Designer_8417 in intel

It seems that Much_Designer_8417 fell victim to the old IHS (integrated heat spreader) switching trick. It's speculated that someone might have bought the Core i9-13900K, removed the IHS, stuck it on their own Core i7-13700K, and returned the less-powerful chip back for a refund. Or perhaps the seller themselves did it.

CPU scams are far from a new phenomenon. There were reports in 2020 about counterfeit Intel chips in China being sold as i7-8700K CPUs when they were actually Celeron D 336 chips – a 90nm processor that debuted in 2004 and has long since been discontinued. We also heard of a user in Spain being scammed into buying a fraudulent i9-9900K, which apparently turned out to be a Core 2 Duo.

We've also seen the same scam on Amazon before. In 2017, there was a case of someone buying what looked like a Ryzen 1700 when it was really an LGA-based Intel processor with the markings scrubbed off and replaced with Ryzen markings that were part of a transparent sticker.

The difference between most of these cases and the most recent one is that the CPUs masquerading as more expensive chips tend to be very low down the product stack. The performance gap between the Core i7-13700K and the Core i9-13900K isn't going to be hugely noticeable for someone using a PC solely for games, which could explain why it took Much_Designer_8417 so long to notice something was amiss.

Most people would not expect to find such scams from a large retailer like Amazon. However, the post doesn't specify whether the fake CPU was purchased from Amazon directly or a third-party seller. The incident is certainly a warning to be careful where you buy your hardware and to validate its authenticity as soon as it arrives.