Sunday , 20 April 2014
Learn What SSDs Can Do For You:

KingFast Unknowingly Sends Counterfeit SSD With Fake Memory For Review

KingFast F3 Plus Counterfeit SSD Featured ImageArguably, 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’.

INTRODUCTION

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.

KingFast F3 Plus Counterfeit SSD Micron PCBKingFast F3 Plus Counterfeit SSD Intel PCB

DISCLAIMER

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.

KingFast Fake Sealed Fake SSD With CertificationKingFast Fake SSD Side Seal

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.

KingFast F3 Plus Fake AS SSD ResultKingfast New F3 AS SSD BenchIn 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.

KingFast F3 Plus Fake AS SSD IOPS ResultKingfast New F3 AS SSD IOPS

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.

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • TechonNapkins

    “…a concern may be evident in SMART IDs 01, C3, c9 and CC where read errors seem to have occurred.” I would not be concerned with these results in CrystalDiskInfo. I have 2 SSDs in my system with the same or also same figures (and no, they are not counterfit, I tested them)

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Thanks for the input! Appreciated.

  • neon

    to be frank, this is sort of “norm” in this industry. someone “junk” can be others “treasure”.

  • johndoe

    Some guy over [H], who told me he used to work for PNY, said they’ve done this before. I told him that he was BS’ing me and that a company like PNY wouldn’t be doing such thing. Then he went on to tell me that it was my money and that I was wasting it. I wasn’t though as I have a pair of Deneva 2R SLC’s that retail $1450 each LOL.

    That said, KingFast has a load of RANDOM drives on eBay. Just look up for KingFast and you’ll find many colorful and silly pages of SLC SSD’s being sold…

    and those SLC’s are mostly based on that old Micron JMF controller with the shuttering bug. You know, the first SSD controller that got into the public back in late 2007.

    They still sell proper and nice SLC drives though they’re all SATA2 drives based on old Indilix Barefoot controllers.

  • canthearu

    Huh, that micron NAND is definitely Async Only.

    http://www.micron.com/~/media/Documents/Products/Part%20Numbering%20Guide/numngnand.pdf

    The last A in the product number means it is Async Only.

    This is kingfast playing loose and fast with it’s NAND control, not even checking what it is soldering onto the board, and the sandforce happily using whatever it is given.

    I was worried the NAND was fake, and we would start seeing strange barely working solid state drives like we do for counterfeit USB chips

    • canthearu

      Also:

      a) I should read reviews before commenting. I see how they are faked now … however the micron marking is correct. They have been marked Aysnc only.

      b) For the SMART IDs 01, C3, C9 and CC on sandforce drives, this raw counter is some kind of internal error rate tracker. It will be always non-zero on sandforce drives after they have been reading/writing for a bit. Even drives with high quality NAND will show non-zero here. The important number is the normalised number of 01, if that falls below 50, it means the drive is having to correct too many errors internally and will likely show external errors.

Footer 930x64
SSD QUICK SEARCH