Nandinium's Blog

Fake Flash memory investigator

Archive for December 2009

Let me tell you all a story!!

with 15 comments

It goes like this… Once upon a time.. Nah never mind, you’ve probably heard this one before.

Let me give you all a few facts…. Flash memory chips, USB memory sticks, MP3 players etc!
It has been written from research by those FAR LONGER in the game than I, that 90-95% of all these items are either fake capacity or poor performing counterfeits made to look like the products of such leaders in the technology as Kingston, SanDisk, Transcend.

I am going to present here just one example of a fake Kingston DT200 look-alike.  This model has only been out 6 months, comes in 3 sizes  32GB, 64GB & 128GB, each variety  has a different colour inner part,  so the version is easily recognisable.  It didn’t take the counterfeiters long to come up with their version of the housing,  which to the untrained eye is identical to the real one,  the difference is only noticeable once you pop the lid off the casing,  then you see not a nice large printed circuit board with all the right microchips and bits,  but a tiny and rather tatty looking printed board,  roughly finished off,  crammed up into one end of the case.


Kingston DT200 (Fake) Top View

Turning the device over reveals the removeable cover


Kingston DT200 (Fake) Back View

Removing the cover plate,  reveals the inner workings


Kingston DT200 (Fake) Inside view

NOTE all the spare “Real Estate” in the box,  and the bottom view of the printed board with the vital FLASH memory chip.

Kingston DT200 (Fake) Flash Chip

All the evidence that would point to the actual capacity of the flash chip has conveniently been removed by a process of scouring,  normally the surface of this chip would be smooth and shiny with the makers part number containing the actual capacity in megabits.

On test this fake USB stick returned only 500 Kbytes of real capacity (1/2 of 1MB),  the remaining of the stated 32GB was returned as corrupted and overwritten,  meaning that test program (H2testw) had tried to write it’s unique pattern of data over and over into the same small area of real memory.

Another piece of damning evidence observable during the test is the slow speed at which the test program was able to write to the fake device,  about 2 mbytes/second the makers of the genuine article quote write speeds of 15-20 m bytes/second and a read speed in excess of 20 mbytes/second,  so with this fake you not only didn’t get the capacity you paid for,  you also didn’t get the speed you expected…

Report from H2testw v1.4 after freshly formatting the FAKE USB drive

(Test limited to 1000mB to save time)

Warning: Only 1000 of 32484 MByte tested.
The media is likely to be defective.
535.5 KByte OK (1071 sectors)
999.4 MByte DATA LOST (2046929 sectors)
Details:518.3 MByte overwritten (1061580 sectors)
58.5 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 117 sectors)
481.0 MByte corrupted (985232 sectors)
594 KByte aliased memory (1188 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x0000000000000000
Expected: 0x0000000000000000
Found: 0x000000003e700200
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 2.07 MByte/s
Reading speed: 3.87 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

From this figure of 535 KBytes I must conclude the real capacity of the FLASH chip was probably 512 KBytes,  so most likely a 4 mbit capacity chip (Bits=8 times Bytes)

For a general view of all Kingston Flash products, so you may recognise them


To follow the day-to-day reports of suspect flash sellers on eBay visit FIGHTFLASHFRAUD

and for details of past and present proven fraudulent sellers SOSFAKEFLASH


Written by nandinium

December 5, 2009 at 11:59 pm