Arguably, the two most important components of an SSD are the controller and NAND flash memory. In the memory industry, manufacturers may dispose of sub-par memory on the open market where, at least in the case of SSDs, more suitable applications may be found.
The potential downside to this commonplace practice is the memory has the potential to be counterfeited and sold, while often suffering performance or capacity concerns.
Up until this report, we have yet to see any instances of counterfeit SSDs. This analysis provides pictures, identification and full analysis of a fake SSD, offering the consumer a tool to assist should they ever believe that their SSD ‘just isn’t quite what it seems’.
As much as counterfeiting hasn’t been seen in the SSD industry (at least not that we could find), it is commonplace with flash drives. The Internet is littered with instances of EBay purchases where an incredible deal was indeed ‘too good to be true’. The common thread between the two is that both contain NAND flash memory, this component being the main culprit with flash drive forgery.
As much as it seems a bit unusual that we cannot locate prior instances of fake or counterfeit SSDs, we would never have predicted our own receipt of a counterfeit SSD in a sealed package, and from the manufacturer directly. We guarantee the manufacturer never expected this review.
Can you identify the fake? Click on any of our pictures for a higher resolution shot.
This report involves the SSD manufacturer KingFast, as well as Micron and OCZ with respect to NAND flash memory. It is our opinion that all three companies are victims of this occurrence and had no knowledge of, or intent to produce or distribute the counterfeit SSD received. All three companies have been contacted for background and assistance and have been very accommodating in assisting with this report.
BACKGROUND AND INITIAL CLUES
In January 2013, The SSD review received a KingFast F3 Plus 240GB from a KingFast representative. On receipt, the exterior package and the interior clear plastic SSD were both sealed. Within the exterior packaging of the KingFast F3 Plus SSD was a certification sticker, acknowledging that it had been inspected prior to leaving the factory. There was an additional seal on the side of the drive that also acknowledged inspection of the F3 SSD.
Traditionally, we might take pictures of the SSD before testing but our first clue as this SSDs characteristics became apparent when we saw the performance test below left. In assisting us with this report, KingFast has sent another F3 Plus SSD and its result for the same test is below right. It was after this that we elected to do an Internet search on other similar KingFast reviews and we discovered that, regardless of SSD model, all KingFast SSDs utilized Intel memory exclusively.
For those new to the game, AS SSD tests with highly incompressible data samples and is the bread and butter for determining write transfer speeds when it comes to incompressible data, the data type we most often see in movies, music and photography. This metric is key to so many industry professionals migrating to SSDs because, simply put, faster data transfer equates to more work being completed in a smaller time span.
In today’s SSD arena, high sequential read and write performance of upper tier SSDs (which this should be) can be expected to be somewhere in the 300-500MB/s. When we see results of 213MB/s read and152MB/s write, alarms start to go off.
Things weren’t much different when we took a look at the AS SSD IOPS and then conducted an AS SSD Copy Bench Test where, once again, performance deviations between the same model drive were very evident.