Comparison: Intel i350-T4 Genuine vs Fake

DACmaddy

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Nov 3, 2020
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I am new to the Serve the Home forum, but I have been reading off and on for a while. The last time I bought used NIC's was in the Smoothwall Pentium II days. I received my DELL INTEL I350-T4 THGMP 4-PORT GIGABIT SERVER ADAPTER LOW PROFILE a few days ago via a seller on a popular auction site. I planned to use it in a non-critical HP T730 pfsense build in the next week or so. Crossed my fingers and prayed I would get a genuine used NIC on the cheap. However, it looks like some of the telltale signs of not-genuine are apparent. The NIC was supposed to have been pulled from a server, multiple NIC's were sold from the one listing. The auction pictures seem to indicate the NIC would be used and genuine.

Here are my observations:

1) Photo "nic - 09.jpg" ---> TXC crystal doesn't seem to match the one in the original post back in 2015
2) Photo "nic - 13.jpg" ---> terminals have minimal witness marks & the NIC looks brand new to me.
3) Photo "nic - 15.jpg" +++> heat sink height (size) looks OK
4) Photo "nic - 03.jpg" ---> low profile bracket was added on after "pull"?
5) Photo "nic - 08.jpg" ---> large inductor at the corner seems to be placed on the board slanted, perhaps reworked. Should have been a QC reject? It also doesn't match any I have seen.
6) Photo "nic - 11.jpg" ---> twin inductors seem different from ones in the original post back in 2015.
7) Photo "nic - 12.jpg" +++> word Delta seems to be molded into the ethernet transformers.
8) Photo "INTEL I350-T4 THGMP 4-PORT GIGABIT SERVER ADAPTER LP auction1.png" and "INTEL I350-T4 THGMP 4-PORT GIGABIT SERVER ADAPTER LP auction2".png ==> are screenshots - these are a lower resolution version of what I had to reference before buying. They seem to show a NIC that they was used, which is what I hoped to receive.



Looking forward to the forum's comments. Has anyone successfully returned a suspect Intel NIC ? Hopefully, this will inform others about buying a "used" Intel i350-T4. My education, as is the norm, comes after it was needed.

Look for posts of my HP T730 pfsense build.
 

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larrysb

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Nov 7, 2018
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I've been on the other side of this situation, where counterfeit components slipped into the supply chain. I remember one instance of quartz oscillators that were counterfeited and slipped into the production process. It caused a production line stop while we struggled to determine the reason for high failure rates during burn-in test, traced it to oscillator failures, sent samples to the crystal vendor who came back and said, "not our product". Luckily, we caught all of them and traced it to an unverified vendor many steps back in the supply chain.

On another instance, I personally saw my product, completely counterfeited, branded, sold openly in Europe. The board design for Europe had a different version for compliance. But I saw them, with the Europe trade markings on them, wrong board and not the approved BOM components of the genuine board. It was however, our PCB artwork, silkscreen and printed boxes and likely firmware. I'm certain they were produced on our tooling and most likely, on our contractor's manufacturing line. It is hard to imagine someone faking a product that retails for ~$60 US with very small margins, much less a crystal that's worth maybe $0.09 each in reel quantities. But they do.
 
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sclawrenc

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Jan 22, 2021
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First of all, I'm new to this forum, but I've been reading it quite a bit lately. I'm in the middle of building a pfSense box using a HP 730t and a quad port Intel I350-T4, and I'm hoping someone could help me in determining if this is a fake Intel or not. Based on the original pictures in this thread from back in 2015, mine looks like a fake, but I would love if it someone could chime in with their thoughts. I paid $48 for it. Thanks in advance!IMG_0111copy.jpegIMG_0110copy.jpeg
 
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sclawrenc

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Jan 22, 2021
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I am new to the Serve the Home forum, but I have been reading off and on for a while. The last time I bought used NIC's was in the Smoothwall Pentium II days. I received my DELL INTEL I350-T4 THGMP 4-PORT GIGABIT SERVER ADAPTER LOW PROFILE a few days ago via a seller on a popular auction site. I planned to use it in a non-critical HP T730 pfsense build in the next week or so. Crossed my fingers and prayed I would get a genuine used NIC on the cheap. However, it looks like some of the telltale signs of not-genuine are apparent. The NIC was supposed to have been pulled from a server, multiple NIC's were sold from the one listing. The auction pictures seem to indicate the NIC would be used and genuine.

Here are my observations:

1) Photo "nic - 09.jpg" ---> TXC crystal doesn't seem to match the one in the original post back in 2015
2) Photo "nic - 13.jpg" ---> terminals have minimal witness marks & the NIC looks brand new to me.
3) Photo "nic - 15.jpg" +++> heat sink height (size) looks OK
4) Photo "nic - 03.jpg" ---> low profile bracket was added on after "pull"?
5) Photo "nic - 08.jpg" ---> large inductor at the corner seems to be placed on the board slanted, perhaps reworked. Should have been a QC reject? It also doesn't match any I have seen.
6) Photo "nic - 11.jpg" ---> twin inductors seem different from ones in the original post back in 2015.
7) Photo "nic - 12.jpg" +++> word Delta seems to be molded into the ethernet transformers.
8) Photo "INTEL I350-T4 THGMP 4-PORT GIGABIT SERVER ADAPTER LP auction1.png" and "INTEL I350-T4 THGMP 4-PORT GIGABIT SERVER ADAPTER LP auction2".png ==> are screenshots - these are a lower resolution version of what I had to reference before buying. They seem to show a NIC that they was used, which is what I hoped to receive.



Looking forward to the forum's comments. Has anyone successfully returned a suspect Intel NIC ? Hopefully, this will inform others about buying a "used" Intel i350-T4. My education, as is the norm, comes after it was needed.

Look for posts of my HP T730 pfsense build.
Hi DACmaddy,

What did you ever find out on this? I'm in a similar situation trying to make sense of it all.

Thanks!
 
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Terry Kennedy

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First of all, I'm new to this forum, but I've been reading it quite a bit lately. I'm in the middle of building a pfSense box using a HP 730t and a quad port Intel I350-T4, and I'm hoping someone could help me in determining if this is a fake Intel or not. Based on the original pictures in this thread from back in 2015, mine looks like a fake, but I would love if it someone could chime in with their thoughts. I paid $48 for it. Thanks in advance!
This is a conundrum. Your card has a valid Dell part number sticker on it, but the date code on the Delta pulse transformers is late 2017 (and I think the date encoded on the Dell part number sticker is as well), yet the date on the FCC sticker is 1/2019. I find it had to believe that Intel had these transformers sitting around in inventory for well over a year. I can't make out any date codes on the smaller ICs. The FCC E-number is the correct one for this card, but that doesn't guarantee anything.

I've previously expressed my frustration with the way Intel fails to label their cards. They often (but not always) use YottaMark or BradyID anti-counterfeiting stickers on the boards they manufacture for retail sale as Intel-branded adapters, but that is a tiny amount of their total production. Cards they label for OEMs like Dell don't get the stickers, and boards they manufacture for other "brands" like Vogzone, Tangxi, etc. (at least Intel has never publicly disavowed building those cards) get identical or confusingly similar labeling as Intel OEM cards. It would be wonderful if Intel switched to (for the above case) "Ethernet Server Adapter I350-T3 built by Intel" for products intended for other "brands" and only used "Intel Server Adapter I350-T3" for cards that they put into their own retail channel or sell to OEMs like Dell. But they seem profoundly disinterested in making any sort of change like this on new cards going forward, or even having a MAC address lookup tool where you could put in the MAC address and either get back a production date or a "nope, not one of ours" answer.
 
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agerta4j8z.a

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Mar 13, 2021
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Wanna see something really weird I just purchased? -> Have a look here: Carte Réseau INTEL I350T4V2 Quatre Portes | eBay
I didn't look closely to the picture or the text (even though I already bought a fake card one year ago which I now need to replace... seems I'm only up to bargains - shame on me) because I could have seen the single one most obvious ever fake indication directly on picture two of the ebay pictures.
For a close-up see here:

Yes, this is a x1-card. And yes, this has been clearly written in the ebay item-description. But it seems I was simply to stupid to read it. And again (as many many posts have written it in the last years in this thread) the not embossed word DELTA on the transformers - this time clearly to be seen on the ebay pictures as well. ... ... ...
I just received back my money from the seller so I am up to the next bargain. But this time I made sure it comes from a DELL server, the seller has obviously experience with it (so he is not some little counterfeit reseller) and the pictures look promising (at least for the embossed DELTA) ;)
 
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Samir

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I just received back my money from the seller so I am up to the next bargain. But this time I made sure it comes from a DELL server, the seller has obviously experience with it (so he is not some little counterfeit reseller) and the pictures look promising (at least for the embossed DELTA) ;)
FWIW, I ran into Dell fakes a lot too--and this was back when I was looking for a PCI-X nic. I think you'd have better luck looking for the HP version, and also it seems both the Dell and HP versions have different firmware and can't be cross-flashed, but that may not be completely accurate as I was only skimming some posts.
 
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nighty2k7

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Mar 26, 2021
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Hi,
just received a I350-T4, have a feeling this one is legit. (looked used, some fingerprints and scratches on plate, seller also sold socks, audio equipment etc..), and it was wrapped into TP-Link tape. Would do you think?
 

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NablaSquaredG

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Sticker on the transformer, embossed delta, oscillator with brand and a big heatsink. I'd say your chances are pretty good that it's genuine
 
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Samir

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Yep, and the Dell part number helps too as there's less fake Dells and HPs (although they DO exist).
 

Fritz

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I'm using a Silicom branded i350 6x in my PfSense box. No issues.
 

ak2021

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Jun 28, 2021
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So this looks like a fake then?

The sellers picture on ebay is different from the one he sent mefake.jpg
 
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creidhne

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Apr 11, 2020
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So this looks like a fake then?

The sellers picture on ebay is different from the one he sent me
That looks very much fake to me from all the components on the board, and it's only 1x pcie slot... I would return that for a full refund asap.
 
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ak2021

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Jun 28, 2021
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That looks very much fake to me from all the components on the board, and it's only 1x pcie slot... I would return that for a full refund asap.
I did get a f ull reund, this what he said when I contacted the seller:

All cards came from the same OEM tray. We've used/sold all the others successfully. In any case, for £25 I'm not about to waste time arguing. Full refund on the way.
I've ordered another one from another seller, this one looks genuine.
good.jpg
 
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creidhne

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Oh, my bad then, I didn't see the earlier posts. So yep, that was a fake, and a big one x) The 2nd one, looking from just a single photo, indeed looks genuine.

Our of curiosity, there seems to be a lot of i350-t4's on local Polish market, and majority of them looks genuine to me. People don't do a lot of homelabbing here, so those go for cheap - and I mean really cheap, I'm looking at one priced at 32usd at this very moment, never used. Would people here be interested in those? I already got my fill; and I wouldn't mind to buy more, check them myself and resell at cost to people abroad that can't seem to find a good deal.
 
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Nom

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Oct 5, 2015
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That looks very much fake to me from all the components on the board, and it's only 1x pcie slot... I would return that for a full refund asap.
Our of curiosity, there seems to be a lot of i350-t4's on local Polish market, and majority of them looks genuine to me.
All these cards use genuine Intel controllers - but what we've found is that plenty of other companies than Intel are churning out the cards. Some use brands, some are unbranded, and some try hard to make their cards look like Intel cards.

The none-Intel cards are significantly cheaper, and 99.9% of the time work just fine - you definitely don't need to return these cards for refund as "fakes". But you do need to understand the differences and only pay none-Intel prices for the none-Intel cards.

The counterfeit discussion is only valid when somebody is trying to pass off none-Intel cards as Intel cards, and pricing them as Intel cards. These are the sales to avoid and return if you get stung !

There's nothing dishonest about a card not made by Intel, as long as you know it's not made by Intel...
 
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ak2021

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Jun 28, 2021
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All these cards use genuine Intel controllers - but what we've found is that plenty of other companies than Intel are churning out the cards. Some use brands, some are unbranded, and some try hard to make their cards look like Intel cards.

The none-Intel cards are significantly cheaper, and 99.9% of the time work just fine - you definitely don't need to return these cards for refund as "fakes". But you do need to understand the differences and only pay none-Intel prices for the none-Intel cards.

The counterfeit discussion is only valid when somebody is trying to pass off none-Intel cards as Intel cards, and pricing them as Intel cards. These are the sales to avoid and return if you get stung !

There's nothing dishonest about a card not made by Intel, as long as you know it's not made by Intel...
In my case this is what he advertised, the first pic and the second pic is what he sent me , feels like a scammer to me.
 

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