Intel X540-T2 Fake/Chinese/Counterfeit

Discussion in 'Networking' started by s3ntro, May 2, 2016.

  1. s3ntro

    s3ntro Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    5
    I bought this X540-T2 from Amazon for $185: Amazon.com: Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X540-T2 - Network Adapter - Pci Express 2.1 X8 Low Profile - 10Gb Ethernet X 2 "Product Type: Networking/Gigabit Ethernet": Computers & Accessories

    The card made it about 3 minutes in one of my PCs before shutting itself off due to heat. I put a 120mm fan blowing directly on it and it still overheated within minutes - and this was with no traffic going through it. Taking a peek between the heat sink and the card, it looked like there was no thermal grease between the chip and the heat sink but I didn't remove the heat sink to verify it; I just sent the whole card back. "Alex" processed my return and, in broken English, told me that the card runs hot but that it runs fine. I told him about the overheating and the apparent lack of thermal grease. He asked me to remove the heat sink and put some on. I said I wouldn't be doing that and instead, needed a refund.

    I took some cell phone pictures of it for future reference. Maybe some of you will find it useful. The biggest tip-off to me was the lack of a sticker specifying where it was made. The legit cards are made in Malaysia. I wish I had comparison pictures of legit cards but I was too eager to get them installed (though I found one online via Ebay, see below).

    Apologies for the background. It was early in the morning and I used my dining room table for the pictures. It was tough to get the card positioned to remove glare from the light. The orange place mats...well you'll just have to squint.

    Here's the packaging. Looked identical to the plastic casing I've seen on supposedly legitimate Intel cards. Then again, I don't know what's counterfeit and not at this point. The packaging did include a driver CD that I never opened. The box itself was not sealed and had no Intel or other manufacturer stickers on it.
    Packaging.jpg

    The PulseJacks look identical to legit cards.
    PulseJacks.jpg

    The rear of the top. This also looked the same except for the signal transformer (circular bit on the bottom next to the heat sink). This one was labeled "Pulse" and is clearly from China. Legit cards that I've seen just have numbers.
    Rear Top.jpg

    Here's the most important (IMO) picture and the clearest means of seeing that it's a counterfeit: no date of manufacture/manufacture location sticker.
    Rear bottom.jpg

    A legitimate card, by comparison: http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/ixkAAOSwAuNW8dEM/$_57.JPG

    And rounding out the pictures...
    Front bottom.jpg
     
    #1
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
    Stux, EluRex and JustinClift like this.
  2. miraculix

    miraculix Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    24
    Good looking out. This seems harder to differentiate compared to other counterfeit posts. Even the "circular bit" (signal transformer) could be seen as a legit manufacturing deviation.
     
    #2
  3. s3ntro

    s3ntro Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    5
    Thanks for the correction on the signal transformer. I edited the post to include the correct term (but kept my layman description too).

    They certainly look the part but there was no comparison when it came to performance. Perhaps I got a particularly bad clone but there's no way it was usable in any system. I sent the card back on Friday and still waiting on a refund...
     
    #3
  4. fossxplorer

    fossxplorer Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2016
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    43
    And now we can't even trust even if we see a label with manufactured in Malaysia, ref Intel X540-T2 10G Dual RJ45 Ports PCI-Express Ethernet Converged Network Adapter:
    one of the buyers comment:
    Not authentic Intel hardware - beware

    Despite being advertised as Intel X540-T2 NICs, these are actually Chinese knockoffs. I grew suspicious after receiving the cards and the driver CD-ROMs. Nothing showed the Intel logo and the CD-ROMs were clearly burned on a PC and not professionally pressed. When I contacted the seller he admitted that they were not actual Intel hardware, but supposedly use all the same parts. I will say that the cards feel sturdy and well made and for the price I reluctantly decided to keep them. The drivers installed without any problems and my system sees the NICs as Intel X540-T2s.
     
    #4
  5. mephisto

    mephisto Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    2
    I got about 6 X540-T1 from ebay about 3 months ago, I didn;t know they were fake but considering I've paid about £100 each they must be. Anyway, they are working 24/7 on several servers for nearly 3-4 months now, no problems, but I'm now concerned about this knowing these cards are fairly certain to be fake.

    the packaging was perfect, the CD printer like the intel original CD, I can't said they were fake or anything, they looked very legit, but judging by price and that they came from china, surely they must be
     
    #5
  6. Terry Kennedy

    Terry Kennedy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    462
    There are a number of different ways counterfeit / "unofficial" products get made:
    • Products made during "ghost shifts", which may be completely identical (same components, same assembly process, same testing) as official products contract-manufactured in that factory.
    • Ghost shift products made with many of the same components, but with substitutions in order to lower costs or to avoid alerting the intellectual property owner that this is going on.
    • Legitimate specialty components diverted and assembled in a different factory with alternative parts for non-specialty components (for example, it is easier to duplicate a printed circuit board than it is to make a functional clone of a large-scale integrated circuit).
    • Complete counterfeits which use no legitimate components, but which are functional to some extent (at least for a period of time).
    • Dummy products which superficially appear to be the same as the legitimate product, but which are obviously non-functional "right out of the box" (if indeed there is even anything other than filler in the box).
    As an example of the first, there were lots of ghost shift Cisco [advertising link, not mine] products floating around some years ago. These were indistinguishable from legitimate products and had unique serial numbers which Cisco processed as legitimate, and people could put these on a Cisco maintenance contract with no problems. When Cisco introduced hologram stickers, the manufacturer just used their supply of real stickers to "legitimize" the ghost shift products. Hologram stickers (without individual serial numbers) are completely useless in determining authenticity - when Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mandated holographic stickers on electrical cords back in 2009, the fakes showed up months before any legitimate ones.

    The next-to-last type is illustrated by the fake FTDI chip, although that is a component-level fake and not a complete product. Fakes did end up (by accident or otherwise) in complete retail adapters, though.

    An example of the last type is the fake Intel i7 CPU some 6 years ago.

    Some manufacturers apparently care more about this than others. Intel puts YottaMark stickers on retail versions of some of their adapters, but apprently does not do this for OEM products (I expect there's a per-label fee charged by the YottaMark folks and Intel doesn't want to lower the margin on their OEM adapters). This ignores the quantity of OEM adapters that end up on closeout sites, auction sites, etc.

    I hope the above explains why some of these products are "just as good" as the official ones, if you don't care about warranty status or supporting IP theft, while others are completely worthless.

    For further reading, the book Poorly Made in China goes into the mindset that causes this type of issue (although it mainly deals with falling quality in "official" products). For one hobbyist's personal experience with getting a product built in China, read this ch00ftech article.
     
    #6
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  7. Hank C

    Hank C Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    66
  8. 0xbit

    0xbit New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2017
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    I see a number of Mellanox cards are beginning to be manufactured in China.
    I avoid these cards like the plague when purchasing on ebay.
    Tech Companies want higher margins and knowingly place their products, quality, and reputation at stake.

    What's funny about all this is that this practice is going to lead to their downfall and collapse as the manufacturing companies begin spinning their own whitebox versions and selling them direct to U.S markets. It's happened for a large number of things already. There's not a person I know that doesn't shop Alibaba. Even ebay is getting cut out of the loop as most vendors on their purchase a bulk order from Alibaba, add a 50-100% markup and sell it to people in the U.S.

    Amazon bose cable : $30
    Ebay retailer : $7
    Alibaba : $3.50

    Computer case from : coolermaster/etc/etc are nothing more than rebrands of super cheap chinese made cases. Buy a $250 case from a U.S relabeler w/ 2 fans or buy the same case for $100 w/ 5 fans direct from Shenzhen...

    Everyone wants to chase the mighty dollar and insane profit margins...
    > mfw it eventually results in their demise and ruin

    When at all possible I avoid high dollar complex parts and products made in china.
    Everything else, since U.S companies merely put their logo on low cost chinese products, I go directly to Alibaba and cut the insane profit margin (slap my logo on it) middle men out of the loop.

    As for as networking... Pair commoditized components w/ whitebox hardware and now SDN and most of these juggernauts are dead men walking.
     
    #8
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  9. ivanov

    ivanov New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello everyone,

    greetings to all Serverhome members, my first post here. Before I start complaining about bugs and issues :) I would like to begin on a positive note :

    Purchased one adapter which was listed as below and it took about 10 days to ship:

    Intel chipsets x540-T2 10G PCI-Express dual RJ45 ports Network Adapter

    from a seller in China with 1000+ positive feedback for 80EUR including shipping. I can see the prices climbed since, not sure why... It "looked" ok or even genuine to me, but it could have been a replica, didn't know how to verify that.

    iSCSI boot of Windows 2016 server worked perfectly as a hardware initiator, using a software target from another Windows Server. Had to download the Intel utilities to write an iSCSI-enabled firmware to and both, the initiator part as well as windows boot were problem free. The bandwidth was also very decent, as promised, it delivers on the 10Gb and does not overheat (tested in a server, not sure how it would be in a workstation) As for reliability, the card was very heavily used in a NAS setup for a month before I finally decided to go for a SFP+ card instead.

    So I have to give one thumbs up to those Ebay cards, but please assess the risk on your own, I prefer using older SFP+ cards,

    Cheers
     
    #9
  10. s3ntro

    s3ntro Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    5
    Could they be fake? Sure. Are they? Hrmmm.

    I'm less familiar with the Dell OEM models, but feel a bit safer about them compared to the retail Intel kits. I'm more confident when they say they're pulled from servers rather than appearing in their own packaging. So the first card looks better than the second from that perspective.
     
    #10
  11. TrevorX

    TrevorX New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    3
    Why is it that Amazon don't have restrictions on vendors selling cards as 'genuine' when they're not? I was just looking at Intel i350 cards and there's a massive difference in price between genuine authorised distribution channel cards (which I know are definitely Intel cards) and Amazon cards claiming to be 'genuine retail' cards half to a third the price. Surely if a vendor lists a card as genuine when it isn't, they should have their seller status revoked (at minimum, not to mention being charged for supplying counterfiet products)? This kind of practice hurts everyone but the dishonest vendors making a killing selling fake products - it hurts the consumer, the brand (eg Intel) and Amazon. Why is there no crackdown?
     
    #11
  12. i386

    i386 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    393
    It's too much work ($$)
     
    #12
  13. Terry Kennedy

    Terry Kennedy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    462
    Amazon doesn't open and inspect items if they come in for "Fulfilled by Amazon", and they have no control over what Amazon Marketplace vendors do if the fulfillment isn't by Amazon.

    There is also the issue of evaluating reports from purchasers as to their credibility. Look at what happened on eBay, where manufacturers routinely send "this item is counterfeit" reports to get sellers of both new and used items to take the listings down, or risk getting thrown off the site.

    Manufacturers have methods available for end users to validate authenticity - for example, Intel uses YottaMark for their high-value retail adapters, but not for OEM / bulk or inexpensive cards.
     
    #13
Similar Threads: Intel X540-T2
Forum Title Date
Networking z87 system With Dell/Intel X540-T2 not booting Oct 19, 2018
Networking Intel X540-T2 bs X550-T2 in Synology Aug 22, 2017
Networking Dell Intel X540-T2 10Gb Jul 6, 2015
Networking Chinese Intel X540-t2 - any experiences? Mar 14, 2015
Networking Intel X540-T2 - passive or active cooling Dec 24, 2014

Share This Page