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The box of one of our processors carried the designation SL9TA, identifying it as a Core 2 Duo E6300 with the L2 stepping. The code on the other box read SL9SA, which signifies an older B2 stepping.
Intel began shipping the L2 stepping on 15 December 2006. The packaging date of B2 variant was 16 January 2007, the L2 version was packaged by Intel only 10 days later. This means that Intel is still producing both versions in parallel.
We bought these two processors about two months after they were produced. Shortly before our order, our online store had run out of these CPUs, meaning it had to order new "fresh" stock. Nevertheless, in the case of our processors, two months passed between their manufacture and their sale. As a result, it is impossible to make even an educated guess regarding what stepping you will receive from an online store based only on when it last took delivery of stock.
Creative solutions are required to get the right processor at the moment. You can put in a few phone calls and ask questions about the serial numbers, or try some return-within-30-days tricks.
A little note on the side: Compared to the familiar old product stickers from the days of the P4, the Core 2 stickers seem a lot more refined and of higher quality.
Setting the two boxes side by side, we noticed that the L2 version's box was slightly darker than that of the B2.
Quote - Personally, I would intuitively choose the lighter box. I assume that the boxes' different colour intensity is pure coincidence and is not an intentional differentiation.