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AMD 12-core chip for sale on eBay

By Andy Patrizio   |    February 18, 2010

My favorite new TV show is History's "Pawn Stars," set in a Las Vegas pawn shop. Its owner Rick Harrison says in the show's opening "One thing I've learned, you never know what is going to come through that door." The same can and has been said (sort of) about eBay.

I never thought eBay would be where a pre-release processor would show up. But a computer reseller in a small Missouri town south of St. Louis has four AMD's Magny-Cours 12-core Opteron processors up for auction.

Oakville Mehlville Computers, a maker of custom servers and workstations with an emphasis on AMD products, has four of the AMD Opteron 6174 microprocessors for sale starting at $7,000. Needless to say, there were no bidders, given that the chip isn't even officially out yet people probably doubted its legitimacy.

An AMD spokesman said "We've been aggressively sampling production-level parts to customers for nearly 30 days now and have actually shipped a limited number of production parts to allow customers to prepare for launch -on track for later this quarter.

Oakville Mehlville declined to comment on where it got the chips.

opteron_magny-cours.jpg

The AMD Opteron 6174 processors are listed as running at 2.20GHz and come with 12MB of unified L3 cache and 6MB of L2 cache, 512KB of cache per core. It has quad-channel PC3-10600 DDR3 memory and require a new motherboard and chipset, neither of which are out yet. That might have some bearing on the chips not selling.

Chip analyst Nathan Brookwood said the massive chips pictured in the bid could very well be legitimate because Magny-Cours has two six-core "Istanbul" processors on it. With two Istanbul cores on one package, it's going to be huge, which is why it's not socket-compatible with older AMD motherboards.

Oakville Mehlville Computers says no returns, which would have to be another stumbling block for potential buyers. It's also offering a complete 48-core server running four Magny-Cours processors for $20,000.

This may all seem really oily, but Oakville Mehlville don't look like hucksters (despite the cheapness of their Web site). They are an established eBay seller with almost 600 positive feedbacks. Still, you have to wonder who they thought would buy a bunch of chips that aren't officially released and can't be used yet for the price of a decent used car.