May 2, 2012

The ABCs of CPU Testing and Inspection

Before your company buys CPUs through an independent distributor, what kind of inspection capabilities should you check for to ensure that quality can be completely verified? 

Converge CPU commodity manager Matt Bergeron says that beyond doing the typical visual inspection, the best distributors will offer additional in-depth testing services. In fact, the industry veteran says there are three key capabilities buyers should look for. We’ll call them the ABCs of CPU testing and inspection:
  • Authenticity Tool – Does the distributor use a processor identification tool to verify the authenticity of all incoming CPUs? This tool will verify that the CPU type, family, model, stepping, revision, and frequency are consistent with the manufacturer’s specifications, and it will also verify that the CPU is not an engineering sample – all of which are impossible to tell from a visual inspection alone. 
  • Barcode Scanning – Does the distributor use a 2D data matrix barcode scanner? This enables inspectors to quickly capture the serial numbers of each CPU and verify that there are no discrepancies or duplicates.
  • Controlled Environment – Is the distributor ANSI ESD S20.20 certified? This verifies the implementation and maintenance of an electrostatic discharge (ESD) control program to protect ESD-sensitive electronic parts. CPUs can be unintentionally damaged by static electricity if handlers are not properly protected. At Converge, inspectors wear grounded wrist straps and ESD-control foot straps and work on ESD-protective floors and workstations. CPUs are securely packaged in ESD-protective JEDEC trays. Would you want your order being handled with any less control? 
It sounds like simple advice, but not all independent distributors follow the ABC rules. Some manufacturers have learned that the hard way.

Converge, on the other hand, carefully follows the ABCs of CPU testing and inspection – and has an unsurpassed quality track record to show for it. “Our CPU customers typically buy from Converge again and again,” says Bergeron. “And I think the top reasons are the security and peace of mind that our testing and inspection program gives them.”

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