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Fake Transcend Compact Flash Card

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5 replies to this topic

#1
pointertovoid

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Hello you all...

 

It was well known - but worth mentioning - that nearly all Sandisk Flash Cards sold on eBay are fake. Up to now, I had gotten only legitimate Transcend Compact Flash, but recently I received my first fake.

 

I bought an SLC one, the 300x 8GB, because it's much faster on small files, hence better for user data when not photos, better also if installing an OS or its paging file on it, or the temporary files from an Internet navigator, and so on. SLC is also more reliable; never lost data on an SLC CF card, while I know many destroyed MLC USB keys, with the data lost.

 

The received part looks very well: same shape precisely, well printed cover... but the speed differs! It doesn't offer the SLC's snappy access to small files, especially to write. More surprisingly, this part is faster on big files... Here are measures of a legitimate 300x and the fake, by Atto, through an almost sufficient noname Sata-to-CF adapter, on an ICH10R.

 

Attached File  Atto_NtfsAtMiB_SataAdapt_C.png   13.35KB   1 downloads Attached File  Atto_Fat32atMiB_SataAdapt_D.png   13.25KB   1 downloads

 

My best guess is that the hardware is an MLC 400x from Transcend (or equivalent), with fake covers from an SLC 300x, because the 300x sells for much more money. The identity read by Crystal Disk Info is also unexpected, as FTS8GCF300, unknown on the Internet. The added "F" must stand for "Fake"...

 

Transcend has already confirmed that they have produced no MLC variant of the 300x. (Not even the 16GB? I'm less than sure).

 

An other surprise: this CF of unknown identity gives its best performance with a Fat32 starting at 1MiB, which is the default formatting by Vista+, but doesn't align the clusters on the Flash lines and pages - probably a trick in beween by the card's microcode of 2010, which doesn't exist on the 300x CF. Related topic:

http://www.msfn.org/...n-its-clusters/




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#2
pointertovoid

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I've received an answer from Transcend, based on the serial number printed on the card.

 

They did manufacture this FTS8GCF300 (notice the F) according to the desire of one single customer and not for the general market. Its performances differ from the TS8GCF300 (without F, that's the good SLC we know).

 

Alas, Transcend has kept exactly the appearance of the TS8GCF300 (or did someone copy it afterwards?). Only a sticker tells FTS8GCF300 and the firmware 20100323A. That's not very far from making their own fakes.

 

So if you buy a Transcend 300x 8GB, chances exist that you get a CF with MLC chips inside, which are less reliable and 5 times slower on small files. I couldn't make the difference from the front side picture. On a reader, even USB 2.0, you see the speed contrast; on an adapter, you can read the identity (F or not), and the microcode version.

 

How to know before buying? Uh, no idea. Most sellers won't tell the microcode version nor the card identity. My seller knew exactly what he was selling and the difference with the legitimate card, as inferred from his answers, so he wouldn't have helped before the sale.


Edited by pointertovoid, 21 March 2014 - 12:53 PM.


#3
Tripredacus

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It is very common to find these, especially if the price is cheap. Even with fake iPods and Device Jaguars, if your savings are just a few bucks then buy the real thing from somewhere else.


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#4
pointertovoid

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I've bought four Transcend CF 266x 4GB, four 300x 4GB, one 266x 8GB, three 300x 8GB through eBay, and all were authentic and SLC. Only the last one is an MLC, made by Transcend for on single customer, allegedly Fujitsu.

 

You can see the aspect is the same:

 

Attached File  FTS8G300x_Front.jpg   51KB   0 downloads     Attached File  FTS8G300x_Back.jpg   38.28KB   0 downloads



#5
pointertovoid

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An other fake Transcend CF 300x 8GB. Again with MLC instead of SLC, this one is slow even on big accesses, see Atto screenshots:

 

Attached File  Atto_NtfsAtMiB_SataAdapt_C.png   13.35KB   0 downloads  Attached File  Atto_NtfsAt1MiB_SataAdapt_E.png   18.44KB   0 downloads

 

The optical aspect is excellent, and Transcend recognize the printed serial number as their - except that they manufactured the card with SLC. So the fake makers have manufactured a 200x MLC card and printed an existing serial number from Transcend on it - or they found cards without a serial number, or achieved to erase it.



#6
pointertovoid

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Meanwhile I've had an other Mlc fake of the TS8GCF300, slow on small accesses (which Transcend doesn't guarantee) but within specs on big writes, and now one more typical Mlc fake; small on small accesses and much slower on big writes than on big reads.

 

Attached File  Atto_SataAligned.png   12.98KB   0 downloads

 

This measure (click to enlarge) is made by Atto on a Sata-to-Cf adapter which gives excellent results with authentic TS8GCF300. I aligned the Ntfs on MiB boundaries, hence optimum for Flash cards.

 

Again, I can't tell whether an other manufacturer achieved to mimick perfectly the aspect of Transcend's cards and print on the edge a serial number existing at Transcend, or instead if Transcend has enough disrespect for its customers to make its own fakes. For sure, this item doesn't even meet the specs.






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