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I've seen some used CPU offers on ebay, with very attractive price tags. However we are being told that the cpu is an 'Engineering sample' and can not be used on servers in Europe and North America.

I know what engineering sample mean however still wondering why one can not use the engineering sample cpu on servers? Are they technically unstable for production? Or there are some EU/US laws that prohibit their usage? Or it is simply the sellers disclaimer that they can not guarantee them? Or something else?

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closed as off topic by John Gardeniers, Ward, HopelessN00b, Magellan, voretaq7 Nov 10 '12 at 3:27

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Wouldn't you be better asking the manufacturer ? – Iain Aug 25 '12 at 11:35
I just got this reply from the seller: "the server board have restrict on stepping. Only c0 stepping will work. A lot more expensive" – alfish Aug 25 '12 at 12:35
Great question. – Chris Dutrow Feb 14 '14 at 23:33
up vote 4 down vote accepted

These are usually pre-release systems or components. I've seen them in the financial industry and used for benchmarking well before the product was available for consumers. I recall this specifically with the Nehalem and Nehalem-EX processor releases.

These engineering sample items will work, and are stable. The main issue is that any faults or issues found during their testing period may have been (or will be) fixed in the production version.

The better question is support. If you're doing this with server-class hardware (HP, Dell, IBM), you should be using their CPU spec in order to remain within warranty/support. If this is something you're building on your own, you should understand the risks. As a professional sysadmin, I would not bet the business on such a solution unless I received the sample product directly from the manufacturer - (e.g. a loaner system from Intel to test an application)

The regional restriction may have been tied to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

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Very helpful info. Thanks – alfish Aug 25 '12 at 11:35
In most cases they're not pre-release versions. They are early production release which are distributed, usually for free or just a token fee, for the purposes of evaluation by people such as design engineers. They are normally fully functional and the license restrictions are just like some software, which has restrictions on how it may be used. This has been standard practice for chip manufacturers since the beginning. Incidentally, all licenses I've seen for evaluation chips prohibit the resale or re-distribution of the chips. – John Gardeniers Aug 25 '12 at 12:20

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