Chinese vendor appears to be selling Arrow Lake-S engineering samples for $14

Chinese vendor Xianyu appears to be selling engineering samples of Intel Arrow Lake-S CPUs for just $14 online. A Sohu post citing the Arrow Lake-S CPU listing was spotted by Yuuki_AnS on X (Twitter). It looks like Xianyu managed to get a hold of “old” engineering samples Intel dumped in the trash, and is now flipping them online.

An image of the alleged engineering sample Xianyu is selling shows that, like other Intel samples, the ES chip does not state the model name — it merely says that it’s a confidential chip meant for testing purposes only. The rest of the chip’s labeling, however — “NA,” “QDF4,” and “D234…” — seems to confirm the CPU is older and was probably made over half a year ago. In fact, the image shared through the Sohu post is identical to an image harukaze5719 posted on X in August 2023.

By now, it’s almost guaranteed that Intel is using newer engineering samples that are more performant compared to samples manufactured half a year ago. Regardless, it is illegal to sell Intel engineering samples or prototypes of any kind, so there’s a good chance Intel will take legal action if possible. To make matters worse, users who buy these chips won’t have a motherboard to slot them into — since there are no consumer LGA 1851 socket motherboards on the market yet.

We don’t know the specs of these mysterious engineering samples: we don’t know how many cores they have, how high they clocks to, or how they perform. Engineering samples often get benchmarked and logged on benchmarks such as Geekbench, but this has not been the case for this chip.

Arrow Lake is the codename for Intel’s next-generation desktop CPU architecture. It’s a huge ordeal as it will be the first CPU architecture on the desktop side to incorporate a neural processing unit (NPU) for hardware-accelerated processing. Arrow Lake shares many similarities to Meteor Lake — including its tile-based design — but is technically a “successor” to Meteor Lake and is not just a desktop-flavored version of Meteor Lake.

Arrow Lake will sport a newer 20A process node (2nm-class), that will come with PowerVia backside power delivery technology. This alone will improve the performance/efficiency of Arrow Lake processors. AI performance is also reported to be 3x better than Meteor Lake, which will make Intel’s first NPU-equipped desktop chips very competitive right off the bat. Intel’s future desktop CPU lineup will also debut with the all-new LGA 1851 socket, which is expected to come with expanded I/O.

Leaks have revealed that Intel will not be changing the core count configuration of Arrow Lake processors. Intel will be producing three dies, with three distinct core configurations: 8P + 16E cores, 6P + 16E cores, and 6P + 8E cores. However, one very interesting tidbit is that Arrow Lake might not come with HyperThreading — which would make Arrow Lake the first CPU architecture in roughly 20 years to not have two threads per core.

We will know more about Arrow Lake soon, as the new architecture is expected to debut later this year in Intel’s second-generation Core Ultra CPU lineup.