Intel's Costa Rican legacy tech den reveals a repository of rare chips, software, and more

Intel Core i9-11900K review
Intel Core i9-11900K review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A new report details the secrets behind Intel's mysterious Costa Rican warehouse and laboratory hybrid facility.
  • Before the site, Intel had to resort to methods such as eBay to get a hold of some of its own microprocessors and other components, signaling to executives that the company had a serious problem when it came to legacy technology stock.
  • The warehouse currently houses roughly 3,000 instances of hardware and software, though that number is set to be doubled next year.

Intel makes lots of products. But, up until recently, it didn't have an actual solution in place for keeping track of them and maintaining inventories for security and testing purposes. As such, certain legacy products got lost in the shuffle, resulting in Intel security researchers having to use resources like eBay to reacquire components their company had produced just years earlier. It was not an ideal situation by any stretch of the imagination and helped lead to the creation of what is known today as Intel's Costa Rican Long-Term Retention Lab.

The Long-Term Retention Lab was formed in 2019, though planning for it began in 2018. It currently stores approximately 3,000 bits of software and hardware so that the lab's engineers have access to any relevant legacy tech they need in order to replicate old builds that may still be in use (and, by extension, be vulnerable to security breaches) in the real world.

The lab runs 24/7 and its exact whereabouts within Costa Rica remain undisclosed. It receives roughly 1,000 build requests every month and has earned a reputation as a valuable part of Intel's development process, since new products have to keep the Long-Term Retention Lab in mind from the get-go.

You can read the full scoop on Intel's Costa Rican facility over at WSJ Pro, which broke the story. And if you want an even deeper dive into ancient Intel tech, don't forget it's the 50th anniversary of the Intel 4004 chip that redefined computer processing.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to