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Intel $3 CPU-dispensing vending machine game spotted in Japan


(Image credit: Sawara-San on YouTube)

Discover Intel CPUs in Japan’s Capsule Toy Machines

In a fascinating twist of tech and fun, Japan boasts capsule toy machines that dispense Intel CPUs. As shared by @LaurieWired on Twitter, a user known as Sawara-San snagged an Intel Core i7-8700 CPU by inserting 500 Yen (approximately $3.25) and turning the knob. However, the 'prize' CPU did exhibit some flaws.


These capsule toy vending machines are part of the gacha or gasha culture, immensely popular in Japan and other East Asian countries, though they can also be found elsewhere. Typically, these machines contain small plastic toys, dispensed after users insert cash and turn a knob. Themes like Hello Kitty or toy cars are common, giving an idea of the prize without revealing the exact item.


In this unique case, the gacha machine is filled with Intel CPUs. While it's unclear if other CPU types are present, they could potentially span a decade or more. Alternatively, they might consist of parts that are not fully functional.

Located in front of or inside a computer store called 1’s PC, the CPU gacha machine adds an element of fun for store visitors. It could also serve as a creative way to manage old or broken CPUs.


In a video in Japanese, the gacha 'player' seems to have struck gold. Delighted with their find of an Intel Core i7-8700 for a little over $3, Sawara-San hurried home to install and test the processor. (The YouTuber seems to enjoy collecting old 'junk' PC parts.)

We evaluated the Intel Core i7-8700 in 2018 and found it to perform admirably in real-world tests, nearly matching the performance of the unlocked 'K' edition. With its 6 cores, 12 threads, 4.7 GHz boost clock, and compatibility with Windows 11 in 2024, it remains a solid performer.


However, not every aspect of Sawara-San's gacha experience was perfect. After assembling a test system with the i7-8700, they encountered some issues, including display corruption and a failed Windows installation process. Further troubleshooting revealed that one or more CPU cores might be faulty. Despite this, the CPU managed to run Windows, pass system information tool checks, and complete benchmarks like Cinebench R15 and R23.


The 5-core, 10-thread sample achieved 992cb in Cinebench R15 nT tests, while a fully functional sample scored a significantly higher 1,420cb. This difference could be attributed to various factors, including different motherboards, components, and Windows security patches over time. Nonetheless, a used Core i7-8700 from the same 1’s PC store in Japan is priced at 13,800 Yen ($90) with a three-month warranty, indicating that Sawara-San is content with their 5-core, 10-thread gacha prize. The potential for discovering other CPUs in the machine adds an exciting element of surprise.

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