Question Both Windows 10 and motherboard BIOS are reporting the incorrect CPU model...that or my brother's PC was broken into

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
I'll try to keep this quick and to the point. I may have to omit some details since this could escalate to legal action, but I'll try to give all the relevant information.

So I built my brother's PC about 3 years ago. We bought the parts at Microcenter; an i7-6700k and an ASUS Z170-AR (among other things). Put it together, everything worked great.

Fast forward: my brother had just upgraded his GPU a few nights ago. Today he noticed that Windows is reporting that he has an i5-6500. I know for a fact that we bought an i7 because I looked at windows system information after I built it to confirm.

When he called me today, I initially assumed that hyperthreading had maybe somehow been disabled, and perhaps was causing windows to misreport it as an i5. So I had him go into the BIOS to enable it. Except the BIOS also reported an i5-6500. Of course the hyperthreading option was disabled because of this. Reverting BIOS to default settings did not fix the problem.

Now, in my brother's case (pun intended), I have reason to suspect that someone may have changed the actual hardware without his knowledge. (I'd go into more detail but I don't want it to compromise the investigation.)
My brother does not have any thermal paste, so for now we will not be able to open it and take off the cooler. In the meantime, are there any files/logs that windows keeps that would tell us if his CPU was replaced? We found (using Search Everything) a file called Cpu.Assessment (Initial).WinSAT.xml. The date (can't remember if it was date created or modified) was Feb 2017, about 2 months after we built the computer. It reported an i7-6700k. If his CPU was actually swapped, it would have happened well after this date. So that didn't really tell us anything new.

Anybody have any clues as to what could be going on here? Are there any files that may show a hardware change? He upgraded the GPU a few days ago, so maybe that caused a problem. Though he told me that he never checks his system info, so if his CPU was secretly swapped months ago he probably wouldn't have noticed anyway.

I know that simply opening the case and observing the etching on the CPU will tell me if it was swapped or not. The reason I'm posting here is because if it does turn out that it was swapped, then we need to gather evidence about when exactly this happened.

Unfortunately my brother and I are very far away from each other, so I can't try your suggestions right away. I will, however, try to respond ASAP to any questions you folks might have so we can figure this out.

Thanks!

* Accidentally wrote "i5-6500k". Changed to 6500, since there is no 6500k
 
Last edited:

Zizo007

Notable
Feb 23, 2019
1,372
170
940
33
Its surely been replaced, probably by a dishonest computer technician or a dishonest friend.

There is no way that the CPU gets reported wrong unless its an engineering sample and even then it would say ES in CPUZ.
 
Reactions: falcon291
Has he ever taken it to a shop for repair? I have seen incidents or RAM being swapped. Several small modules swapped for fewer big ones way back when RAM was very expensive. Or even lesser amounts appearing suddenly. The police will need receipts to prove your side of this. SYSLOG in the BIOS might record the change or record the log being cleared at some time if the swap generated an error.
 
Jan 9, 2020
20
3
25
1
Did he take it to another place to change the graphics card? I find very hard that there is a wrong reading there, but just in case this will eliminate any doubts, tell him to dismount the cooler an straight read what the chip says, that will clear everything. And start looking for the receipts and prepare to an intense argue with whoever took the i7
 

OllympianGamer

Reputable
Dec 22, 2016
224
35
4,690
25
Theres no such cpu as a 6500k if it actually says that unless it's some weird oem component. I doubt the police would even be remotely interested in this, if it happened in the uk and you think a professional who worked on the pc swapped the cpu I would recommend getting in contact with trading standards.
 

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
Has he ever taken it to a shop for repair? I have seen incidents or RAM being swapped. Several small modules swapped for fewer big ones way back when RAM was very expensive. Or even lesser amounts appearing suddenly. The police will need receipts to prove your side of this. SYSLOG in the BIOS might record the change or record the log being cleared at some time if the swap generated an error.
No, he did the upgrade himself while I guided him over the phone. This is the only upgrade he has ever done since building the PC in December 2016. I had visited him earlier last year, and brought with me the 1070 Ti to use for a week while I was there. That's the card he has now. I made sure to uninstall the Nvidia drivers before installing the card, and also did a clean install of the drivers after putting his old card back in the computer.

He started getting freezes and green lines a few weeks before christmas, a clear sign that his old 770 was failing. He used the computer for a few weeks with the 770 still in there, but with the HDMI connected to his mobo I/O instead of the card's.

Maybe it's possible that using the computer with the failing card could have done some damage, but I've never heard of that happening.
 

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
Did he take it to another place to change the graphics card? I find very hard that there is a wrong reading there, but just in case this will eliminate any doubts, tell him to dismount the cooler an straight read what the chip says, that will clear everything. And start looking for the receipts and prepare to an intense argue with whoever took the i7
Nope, he and I are the only two people who have (knowingly) changed the hardware. I added some more details in another reply.
 

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
Theres no such cpu as a 6500k if it actually says that unless it's some weird oem component. I doubt the police would even be remotely interested in this, if it happened in the uk and you think a professional who worked on the pc swapped the cpu I would recommend getting in contact with trading standards.
Sorry, I shouldn't have included the "k". Here's a picture of the CPU-Z and System Information windows:


As for police, I have no intention of getting them involved. The suspect (if his CPU was actually swapped) owes him money for other things, but he never pursued him for it as it wasn't really worth the effort. When he gets the thermal paste tomorrow, he will look at the CPU itself to see if it's the same one he had originally. We took photos during the building process, which shows undeniable proof that an i7-6700k was the original CPU we installed. If it is an actual i5-6500, then we will get a lawyer and settle this in small claims court. This is why I want to find a log of hardware changes, so that we have evidence should we need to build a case against this suspect.
 

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
Its surely been replaced, probably by a dishonest computer technician or a dishonest friend.

There is no way that the CPU gets reported wrong unless its an engineering sample and even then it would say ES in CPUZ.
We have never been to a technician though, that's what makes this so weird. I tried searching the interwebz for any explanation, and all I could find was this article from 2010, which involved an i7 860 appearing as an i5 in Core Temp when hyperthreading was disabled. I have an i7 8700k, and even after disabling hyperthreading it always shows up as an i7 (albeit with 6 logical processors instead of 12).
 

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
If I was you, I would tell the police, don't take risks
Police generally don't have time to investigate this kind of low-level crime, especially considering the fact that the suspect had legal access to the apartment. He is also in another state now, so there's no risk of him doing anything else. This is exactly the kind of scenario for which small claims courts exist.

Now, if further investigation opens the possibility of more serious crimes (insurance fraud is a possibility), then it may be worthwhile to get LE involved. If the CPU is in fact not the one we installed, maybe we can find a serial number and possibly determine where/when it was sold (though I imagine that a search warrant would be necessary to obtain that kind of information).
 

boju

Champion
Who else would have access? Does he live with flat mates?

Maybe have a look in the registry if there's an existing ID entry for the prior and present cpu. Im not sure it'll give you the information you want but possibly worth a look.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System\CentralProcessor
 

Loadedaxe

Reputable
Jul 30, 2016
48
1
4,545
2
Current motherboards do not have the flaws they did years ago. If its reporting it in the bios and the system, then it is definitely an i5.

That being said, small claims wont help you either. Based on what you have said, there is no way to prove it was replaced by anyone except your brother unless you have video proof.

It sucks, it is what it is, I feel for your brother. However, just move on and don't give people access to your apartment. Pursuing it further is just a waste of time and money for your brother.
 
Reactions: falcon291

falcon291

Proper
Jul 17, 2019
238
28
140
18
Current motherboards do not have the flaws they did years ago. If its reporting it in the bios and the system, then it is definitely an i5.

That being said, small claims wont help you either. Based on what you have said, there is no way to prove it was replaced by anyone except your brother unless you have video proof.

It sucks, it is what it is, I feel for your brother. However, just move on and don't give people access to your apartment. Pursuing it further is just a waste of time and money for your brother.
Totally agree, small claims, police all are dead ends. You will not get your CPU or money back, but you will likely lose time and money. Just let that person know that you know what he did, and cut all your ties with him. If he still has the keys, just call a locksmith and change the locks, or you can do it yourself, it is not that hard.

Ah as it is a technical forum, not a relationship forum here is the technical answer: I bet that the CPU was swapped, the problem is we would not know when and by whom, and why. And a reminder never use a CPU without thermal paste.
 

acsdog

Honorable
Jun 26, 2013
64
0
10,630
0
Totally agree, small claims, police all are dead ends. You will not get your CPU or money back, but you will likely lose time and money. Just let that person know that you know what he did, and cut all your ties with him. If he still has the keys, just call a locksmith and change the locks, or you can do it yourself, it is not that hard.

Ah as it is a technical forum, not a relationship forum here is the technical answer: I bet that the CPU was swapped, the problem is we would not know when and by whom, and why. And a reminder never use a CPU without thermal paste.
Yes, I don't expect anything to come of it. The only thing I could see possibly incriminating the guy we suspect is the fact that he had recently had his desktop "stolen". It's a long story, but basically the apartment complex had a moving company take everything in the unit to a storage facility. When my brother went to the facility to get his and his roommate's belongings, he found that his roommate's PC was missing (but nothing else). Roommate accused him of stealing it and demanded to be reimbursed, but never followed through. I don't know if he made an insurance claim for it, but if he did, then that begs the question: where did the i5 come from? Most people don't have spare processors just lying around, and I seriously doubt that he'd go and buy a new i5 just so he could swap it for my brother's i7. He may have had a friend "steal" the computer so he could then get insurance money for it, which would constitute insurance fraud. It would explain why he refused to go after the apartment company for his computer, since they would have had nothing to do with it.

He also owes my brother rent since he left about 6 months before the lease ended and never payed the remainder. It's been a little over a year now, so even if we to take this to small claims I doubt we'll be able to prove anything.

I imagine we would need a warrant to get information about who purchased the i5 with that particular serial number (assuming we can find where it was sold).
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS