Beware of fake ConnectX-3 Pro (MCX312B-XCCT) from eBay

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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I purchased what supposedly is a MCX312B-XCCT from a Chinese eBay seller. When trying to upgrade the firmware (mlxfwmanager --online -u) I get an error message that apparently the hardware ID doesn't match the image:
Code:
Fail : Device/Image mismatch: FW image file cannot be programmed to device ConnectX-3 A1, it is intended for: ConnectX-3Pro only
I'm suspecting the card is counterfeit.

Checksumming the installed image against the ConnectX-3 Pro Image of the same version downloaded from Mellanox suggests it is what is installed in the card:
Code:
# flint -i ../fw-ConnectX3Pro-rel-2_40_7000-MCX312B-XCC_Ax-FlexBoot-3.4.746.bin cs
-I- Calculating Checksum ...
Checksum: 0957f086a3b56ffe393431c852e33508
# flint -d /dev/mst/mt4103_pci_cr0 cs
-I- Calculating Checksum ...
Checksum: 0957f086a3b56ffe393431c852e33508
Here's some output from the various Mellanox tools. MAC addresses look weird as they don't appear to have a proper Mellanox vendor prefix.
Code:
# flint -d /dev/mst/mt4103_pci_cr0 q full
Image type:            FS2
FW Version:            2.40.7000
FW Release Date:       22.3.2017
MIC Version:           2.0.0
Config Sectors:        2
PRS Name:              cx3pro_MCX312B_2mb.prs
Product Version:       02.40.70.00
Rom Info:              type=PXE version=3.4.746
Device ID:             4103
Description:           Node             Port1            Port2            Sys image
GUIDs:                 24be05ffffac6c30 24be05ffffac6c31 24be05ffffac6c32 24be05ffffac6c33 
MACs:                                       e41d5134b2cf     e41d5134b2d0
VSD:                   
PSID:                  MT_1200111023

This suggests that this is a ConnectX-3 A1 (HwDevId 501 / HwRevId 0x1)
Code:
# flint -d /dev/mst/mt4103_pci_cr0 hw query
HW Info:
  HwDevId                 501
  HwRevId                 0x1
Flash Info:
  Type                    W25QxxBV
  TotalSize               0x200000
  Banks                   0x1
  SectorSize              0x1000
  WriteBlockSize          0x10
  CmdSet                  0x80
  QuadEn                  0
  Flash0.WriteProtected   Disabled
  JEDEC_ID                0x1540ef
Apparently this is an A6 revision.
Code:
# mlxburn -d /dev/mst/mt4103_pci_cr0 vpd
  VPD-KEYWORD    DESCRIPTION             VALUE
  -----------    -----------             -----
Read Only Section:

  PN             Part Number             MCX312B-XCCT
  EC             Revision                A6
  SN             Serial Number           MT1527X73308
  V0             Misc Info               PCIe Gen3 x8
  RV             Checksum Complement     0x66
  IDTAG          Board Id                CX312B - ConnectX-3 Pro SFP+
Has anyone seen this before? Firmware seems to be one version behind the latest version. The card generally functions and can push 2x 10Gb/s. So if it's just not possible to upgrade the firmware on this card I'd just let it be.
I'll try to get some pictures of the card when I'm back at the machine it's in right now tomorrow.
 

prdtabim

Active Member
Jan 29, 2022
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prdtabim

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Jan 29, 2022
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The MACs are strange. Looking the GUIDs the MACS must be 24be05ac6c31 and 24be05ac6c32 .
 

i386

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
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I had to set the mac manually on my cx-3 (not pros) after fooling around with the firmware and restoring firmware via recovery pins. Maybe the seller tried something similar...
 

prdtabim

Active Member
Jan 29, 2022
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I had to set the mac manually on my cx-3 (not pros) after fooling around with the firmware and restoring firmware via recovery pins. Maybe the seller tried something similar...
Interesting. Could you please point the commands used to set the MACs ?
 

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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Thanks for the input. It's much appreciated!

@pdatabim, yes this is the firmware I tried flashing. I also downloaded the release that's already running on the card to do some checksumming to confirm it's the same firmware (as seen in my first post).

So I managed to take some pictures of the card.
The serial number matches with the sticker, which identifies it as a A4 revision. The MAC address is quite obviously incorrect, so it seems someone has been messing with the card's config. So maybe I can set it to the correct HwDevId and HwRevId, set the correct MAC addresses and call it a day.

Pictures are slightly blurry due to bad lighting in my basement. Apologies.
Front
cx3pro-front.jpg
Back
cx3pro-back.jpg
 

prdtabim

Active Member
Jan 29, 2022
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Just realize that the CX312B is a Connectx-3 PRO EN card.
The screenshots in the 1st post show GUIDs ... ???
I think that only VPI an IB cards have GUIDs.
 

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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So just pulled the card out once more and it seems there has been some soldering going on with the U17 I2C EEPROM (top left of heatsink). So I guess this card would be considered "refurbished" but had incorrect VPD programmed. The rest of the card matches very closely what other CX312Bs look like so I'd assume the card is actually a CX312B. It works. I'll probably leave it at that.
 

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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Contacted the seller and they will send a new card. Will report back whether that one comes unmodified.
 

RzTen1

New Member
Nov 13, 2022
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I just picked up one of these from what I suspect is the same seller. I had the same issues with the firmware not wanting to be flashed and on a whim I tried the normal non-pro firmware image. It took it and booted just fine, other then a complaint about the PSID not matching.

I have an authentic ConnectX-3 Pro handy and it's worth noting that while it does look identical the chip under the heatsink has a totally different label. The Pro card's chip clearly says ConnectX(r)-3 Pro on it while this one is missing the Pro part of the stencil. The fake card's chip is also labeled MT27508 instead of MT2752X on the real card.

It looks like it should be pretty easy to verify the chip is authentic as long as you don't mind pulling the heatsink off, which you should probably do anyway as any original heatsink compound should be long dried out by now. The fake card already had fresh heatsink compound while the real one was crusty as hell, as expected.
 
Last edited:

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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Thanks for your reply! That's great that you have an authentic card for comparison.
So I have the new card coming in the mail hopefully in a week or two. Once it's there I'll verify what it says and then pull out the other card to do a Scooby-Doo like reveal of who we're dealing with here.
 

TheWired

New Member
Jun 14, 2020
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I hit the same issue - bought this one off eBay: MCX312B-XCCT MELLANOX CX312B ConnectX-3 Pro En 10GbE Ethernet Adapter Full Prof.
Seller's name is nhlfy411.
Firmware that is flashed on my card is the same 2.40.7000 as in FelixK's case. Flash chip is reported as M25PXxx with JEDEC ID 0x157120. HW IDs are the same as FelixK's card. On the card is soldered 25PX16VP made by ST.
Around U17 (and on the chip itself) I found signs of soldering and cleaning, not that obvious as pictured by FelixK. U17 is 24C32WP.
In my case mlxburn vpd says that card is revision A6, label on the back says it's A4, mlxmanager and flint say it's A1.

I removed the heatsink and took a picture to the chip itself:
20221120_153612_002.jpg
@RzTen1, could you please post a picture of the chip of your authentic card? It would be nice to see the differences :)
And last, the thermal paste is fresh. I think that they changed the VPD data (and maybe something else) and flashed Connectx-3 Pro firmware.
 

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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This is the same seller I purchased my card from as well. So I'd assume it's a ConnectX-3 (non Pro) as well.

Probably best to avoid this seller
Let's see if they will simply send me another fake card for the replacement.
 

CIR-Engineering

I am a functional adult?
Jan 14, 2021
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Chicago USA
www.cir-engineering.com
I'm still tempted to order this card because nobody else is selling them lately and I don't really need the PRO version. I'd rather not have a hacked up card though.

There are several sellers on eBay with the same basic deal. I bet they are all doing the same.

I also want both the high and low bracket which most are offering.
 

TheWired

New Member
Jun 14, 2020
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I contacted them too. They promised a replacement, but it will take some time. You may get yours earlier. Let's hope that we will get lucky this time. And if RzTen1 share picture of his chip we can compare.
 

FelixK

New Member
Nov 1, 2022
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Still haven't removed the first card I received to check which chip I have.
But the replacement has arrived today and there are no solder marks on U17 but the chip still reads ConnectX-3 (no Pro in sight). The laser etched markings are barely visible but I can decipher the MT27508A1 on the chip. So definitely no Pro. I edited the image to make the text a bit clearer but it's almost invisible to the naked eye. That's why the color is a bit off on the chip photo.

cx3-card.jpgcx3-chip.jpg

At this point I am personally certain that eBay dealer nhlfy411 is selling only fake ConnectX-3 Pro cards.
 
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TheWired

New Member
Jun 14, 2020
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Not happy to see this, but we shall accept the facts... My replacement will take longer to come and I expect it will be fake too. I ordered a HP-branded Connectx-3 Pro from another seller (in Germany :) ). When I get it will update you about the differences.
 

viper780

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Apr 17, 2021
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I've bought two HP 546sfp+ from the seller "ITsGuenstig" HPE 10GB 2-Port Adapter-Netzwerkkarte (779793-B21) online kaufen | eBay and they appear to be genuine ConnectX-3 Pro cards with the Pro chip and looks identical to the Mellanox design.

Do you want to see any pictures of the card or further informations?

You can get these cards here from germany: HP Mellanox ConnectX-3 546SFP+ Dual-Port 10GbE Server Adapter 790314-001 779793-B21 FP - Piospartslap I'm not affiliated in any ways with the seller and he is known for the Fujitsu S740 / S920 Deals.
You can find his offers also on ebay (compare shipping costs). He accepts bids