How to Tell if CPU is Used or Brand-New [3 Ways to Validate]

Written By Farhan Max

Building a brand-new PC brings excitement, but if you realize that the rig you have just assembled, has a used CPU installed?

You’ll feel bothered as you paid for an intact CPU instead of a used one.

Lots of hardware vendors practice such evil businesses to profit more & consumers can’t find out this scam in most cases. Such a burden made me curious about checking – if the processor in the PC is being used

Let me share the methods I follow and successfully acknowledge if the CPU is a used one or brand new.

How to Check if your CPU is Bought Intact or Used?

Whether you are a tech-head person or a regular PC user, you may be unable to figure out your CPUs authenticity and supply chain ‒ if it’s already installed into your system. The process of checking is so underrated that it’s pretty rare on the internet.

Fortunately, I discovered a legit method you can follow to check whether your processor is Brand-New (Boxed) or a Tray Processor. It matters because of the warranty facility, you’ve paid extra.

Here are some methods you should follow to check if your CPU is used or installed from an authorized intact box:

1. Use the Manufacturer’s website

Intel & AMD are the only industries dominating the Computer CPU market. With absolute quality, processors last longer than any other PC components.

But nothing is indestructible or a hundred percent perfect, so they provide warranty coverage for their products.


Intel operates the warranty process using the FPO & ATPO number, Which you will find engraved on the CPU’s body & also on CPU boxes.fpo-atpo-number

You can easily spot the number with the help of this infographic image above.

FPO- Batch number & ATPO- Serial number (S/N)

You can also check your ATPO-Serial Number(S/N) using the software “Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool” if you don’t want to access your CPU by detaching it. Despite the issue, you can’t retrieve batch numbers(FPO).intel-processor-diagnostic-tool

Here is the process you can follow to check your Intel processor’s estimated warranty and if it’s a used CPU as a Tray processor:

  • Go to intel’s Warranty-Checking website.
  • Select Processor from the dropdown menu.
  • Locate the FPO & ATPO box after selecting Processor from the menu.
  • Insert the values you’ve spotted from the CPU or the BOX.
  • Click on Check Products.

Result Analysis: You will notice specific results on individual CPUs.

  • Scenario 1


If you see a Boxed intel processor, then your CPU is Authentic and Warranty Covered. Definitely, it’s not a tray processor that cost a lot less than Boxed processors.

  • Scenario 2


This will clearly show you that your CPU is not an authorized or Warranty Covered unit. Although these processors are identical ones as the Boxed CPU model, your warranty is not valid if in case your CPU fails.


The warranty detection and transparency aren’t that clean for AMD processors. But you can verify your CPU before buying one. Every AMD-boxed CPUs provide a QR code on the seal of the boxes, which you can scan to check through their website.amd-processor

Remember, NEVER buy a Boxed CPU if the seal is broken by unknown vendors. If only the deal is for a used CPU, you can have it- as you are paying less.

Here’s the process to check if your CPU is authorized/warranty covered or tray CPU while buying:

  • Tilt the CPU box to verify if the Box’s Seal is authentic, by tilting the hologram of the AMD logo on it. It will change as you tilt left and right like in the images’s-seal-is-authentic
  • Download any QR code software or use Google Lens.
  • Scan the QR code from the seal of the CPU box.qr-code-of-amd-cpu-box
  • Navigate to the site coded in QR code.
  • Check the result.

Result Analysis:

After scanning the QR code, the patched link will lead you to AMD’s website, where you’ll see a Green Tick mark saying the processor is valid and covered with the warranty.

On the other hand, the Red Cross mark indicates your CPU is not provided by a genuine vendor. Plus, the warranty isn’t assured for this unit. Even some seals are a decoy to sell the tray processors at Authentic CPUs price by including an identical CPU cooler.

If you wanted to know if your CPU cooler is compatible with your motherboard, surely check our separate article.

2. Check System lifetime with the PC Health Check

This may not be the trustworthy method you can try on your DIY build PC. This method will perfectly if you own a Brand-PC or a Laptop. Windows often recommend installing the PC health check, which is good for checking your CPU’s health and age.

Here are the steps to download and test your CPU if it’s been used before:

  • Download the PC health Check from the web or Microsoft Store.
  • Install the .exe file accordingly.pc-health-check
  • Check for your CPUs age in the left section.cpus-age

An example image is included for ease of your work a bit. The age shown in this PC Health Check is the total age of your PC. It may not be applicable for Intact-bought CPU in your DIY build.

3. Check Physical Damages

No CPUs arrive in the market untouched since every CPU is tested by manufacturers manually before packaging. But they don’t leave noticeable marks on CPUs.check-physical-damages

CPUs are mostly solid components that do not need mechanical movement work. Basically, it shouldn’t be hurt or dented. Let alone AMD PGA socket-based CPUs that have sensitive pins underneath.

Pre-Owned CPUs might have scratches and bent pins. Deleading CPUs will leave bending marks on the heat spreader. There could be lots of scars and signs on a CPU, you may seek if doubt arises if it’s a used one.

What are the Differences between Refurbed, Tray & Box CPUs?

Computer CPUs have only two states, either it’s dead or working. Although different supply chains do not bring CPUs from separate manufacturers, Silicon Lottery causes defects in some retail units. Those CPUs badly require warranty converge.

Box processors are the safest choice to make as it comes with 3 years warranty to cover you from any unexpected CPU failure. This is the most authentic supply chain that you will get and put your trust in.

Tray processors are usually cheaper than box processors sold excluding CPU coolers. And the warranty service is not promising as the box processors. Most CPUs rarely need a warranty. You can always go for a Tray processor to save some bucks and invest that in an after-market cooler for better performance.

Are Refurbished CPUs Worth Buying? Choosing a refurbished processor is a lot trickier than most other supply chains. You can only try your luck if you really know about CPUs and CPUs’ current market value. Buying a refurb CPU from a large-scale seller on eBay is mostly safe.

Furthermore, CPUs from craigslist are often bang for the buck, as some people just want to get rid of their old rigs and don’t know the price. Most people sell the whole PC and don’t care what spec the PC has.

You’ll even find a multicore support high-performing Xeon processor at the price of 100$ while it launched at the price of more than a grand. As it’s an old generation CPU, only buy it if you can manage a supporting motherboard at the best price.

So, choose your buying path according to your budget and CPU knowledge to perform a safe purchase.

Are re-using processors a good idea? Check out if going this route is ideal in our separate article.


Can 100% CPU usage damage the CPU?

A seldom rise in CPU usage may not harm your CPU, but continuous usage of 100% CPU utilization can damage your unit if the cooling system isn’t sufficient.

How do I know if my CPU is overused?

Unexpected crushes & laggy performance will bother you if your CPU is overused. You can also check CPU utilization through Task Manager.

What will damage a CPU?

Overheat, extra humidity, and careless usage can damage a CPU gradually. But damaging the  CPU is not an easy task.

How do I know if my CPU is burned?

The first sign that you may consider a burned CPU is it won’t start up. Then you must detach the CPU to examine if it has any burn marks.

How to test your CPU?

You can test your CPU with Stress testing software like AIDA 64, Cinebench r23, and Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool(intel only).

Final Verdict

Selling pre-owned stuff at a new one’s price is against the Consumer Rights Act. Although in the CPU market, consumers do not suffer any issues with this. It brutally hurt, the user’s ego of purchase.

Sellers take the advantage of the fuzzy verification process that users access to validate if their CPU is refurbished or used.

Comment on more such questionable phenomena, and we’ll try to cover them for you. Or you can ask any other question regarding PC-using experiences.

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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