Cheap M1015 on eBay from China? Legit or no?

pricklypunter

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2015
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470
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Canada
Actually, that card looks genuine to me. Here is an example of one that looks like a knock off :)

There's obviously debate over whether the cheaper knock off cards are as reliable as their original ones, given that they use the same Chipset etc. These cards do generally use cheaper parts in other areas, like inductors, capacitors, regulators etc from smaller lesser known manufacturers. My own personal experience is that there is a sliding scale of quality of production. At the higher end the knock offs have proved to be just as reliable for me as the genuine article, however at the lower end they are poorly constructed with shortcuts taken all over the board and fail in short order.

So how to tell what's a good card and what ones to avoid? Well, I look very closely at component alignment across the whole board. Are they properly aligned? There was a time when you could look at soldering quality, but modern manufacturing processes have all but eliminated poor soldering. I then look at the larger components that are easily identified and look up the manufacturers data, is it comparable to the original part used? I then look at track layout, does it closely follow the original? If I can tick most of those boxes as being comparable to the original, it's a fair bet that the card will be reliable, as it is closely following the original in terms of both construction quality and accuracy of design. If on the other hand I am unable to tick those boxes or identify component manufacturers, I'll avoid the card. I don't think I have been disappointed yet by my selection :)
 
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Stephan

IT Professional
Apr 21, 2017
136
44
28
Bavaria, Germany
Card looks genuine. But are you certain the seller hasn't just put up a photograph of the one genuine card he owns and will send you a knockoff instead? Make sure you can file a complaint with the payment processor (like Paypal) if things turn out not so genuine.

That other card has some characteristics of a clone, like lighter PCB, cheaper capacitors (skipped on the more expensive tantal SMD), different coils and apparently they couldn't also be bothered enough to fake the "Made in Thailand 2010-..." decal that also has the IBM FRU on it.
 

pricklypunter

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2015
1,606
470
83
Canada
There's no shortage of good reliable cards, at reasonable cost, from all corners of the world, all you need to do is start right in the for sale forum here :)