PC hardware continues to be a hot option for smugglers, with the latest catch finding over 300 Intel 10th-generation CPUs saran wrapped to the legs and body of a would-be smuggler in China. The CPUs have a rough value of around 800,000 yuan, or $123,550, making them a sizeable haul for both the smuggler, and now the authorities who found them.
The global shortage of silicon has driven up the prices of all sorts of PC hardware, and alongside graphics cards, processors have been pretty heavily hit. That's more typical for AMD CPUs which don't have the supply support for Intel's own foundries, but that hasn't stopped Intel chips from being effected. That's particularly the case in countries like China, where strict border controls can see prices fluctuate heavily for international products, like processors.
To get around that, a number of smuggling organizations have been shipping in graphics cards, SSDs, and power supplies, alongside CPUs. The latter were part of this latest catch, where several hundred CPUs were found on a pair of drivers over the course of two weeks. The chips were Intel Core i7 10700, and Core i9-10900Ks, so not cutting edge, but not far from it either. In fact, the latter is Intel's highest core count consumer CPU still available, despite the launch of an 11th-generation replacement.
Still, if the authorities caught a few hundred chips in this one case, it's likely that there are many thousands that slip by unnoticed. The same goes from GPUs and other products too, making you wonder what kind of impact this sort of operation is having on global prices in turn.
Image source: HKepc