Smuggler caught with 256 Intel Core processors wrapped around him in cling film • The Register

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Insatiable demand for microchips amid a global semiconductor shortage may have been behind the following smuggling antics in China that have come to our attention.

In one case, on June 16, customs officials noticed that the driver of a truck on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was strangely sneaky when his vehicle was searched. No questionable merchandise was found in the truck itself, but after the driver was questioned and stroked, something strange in his body.

It turns out that 256 Intel Core i7-10700 and Core i9-10900K processors with an estimated value of around 800,000 yuan or $ 123,000 were strapped to his calves and around his torso. The chips were kept there with stretch film, according to the Hong Kong hardware information site HKEPC this week.

Ten days later, 52 Intel chips were spotted between the driver and front passenger seat in a truck traveling the same route, PC Gamer noted. Also this week, Hong Kong Customs said officers found “more than 2,200 central processing units, over 1,000 units of computer RAM, around 630 smartphones and around 70 cosmetics, at market value. total estimated at about $ 4 million “a truck.

While we can imagine that chips were smuggled in and out of China long before the semiconductor drought, the high demand for parts may have convinced bootleggers to focus on importing processors and other components that are hard to find rather than on their usual equipment price list.

However, not all fleas are uncommon. GPUs are now easier to buy, thanks to Beijing’s ruling elite and its tough stance on cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency miners in China are ditching their graphics accelerators as the Communist government continues to crack down on Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. Mining factories have been shut down across Sichuan, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, at least, and digital dosh has been virtually banned. As such, miners don’t need to hang on to GPUs, and therefore they are inundated in the market.

A vendor sells used GeForce RTX 3060s, for example, for only 1,760 yuan or $ 270; that’s almost $ 60 below its retail price of $ 329, according to crypto-trading site The Block. ®


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