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Graphics Crime Hardware

Fake NVIDIA Graphics Cards Show Up In Germany 76

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-they're-just-resting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Several fake NVIDIA cards — probably GeForce GT 440 — have had their BIOS reflashed to report themselves as GeForce GTX 660. They were sold under the brand "GTX660 4096MB Nvidia Bulk" but only deliver 1/4 of the speed of a real GTX 660. Investigations are ongoing into who did the reflashing, but several hundred of them have already been sold and are now being recalled."
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Fake NVIDIA Graphics Cards Show Up In Germany

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  • interesting case.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MeistaDieb (3647703) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @02:30AM (#47772415)
    The cards were all sold by the Distributor "Kosatec". Kosatec itself bought the cards directly from Point of View in the Netherlands (proof was given by invoices and transport packaging). The statement of Point of View is that they have not produced the cards... Could get real interesting :-D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @04:00AM (#47772581)

    [Disclaimer: These performance results are from gpuboss, which I first heard of today when I searched for gpu comparisons.]

    6x better floating point performance (theoretical max GFLOPS)
    5.8x better 3DMark score
    5x difference in passmark score (4.8x better passmark direct compute score)
    4.2x higher Civ5 framerate (* this is a very poor metric)

    * Framerate is a VERY stupid comparison. 72.2 fps = 13.85 ms; 17.3 fps = 57.80 ms. Why it's stupid: we're not told how much CPU time was spent on the main thread (yet IO time is fair game). For example, 1.29ms CPU would tell us 4.5x faster, 2.86ms CPU would tell us 5x faster, and 5.06 ms CPU would tell us 6x faster.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @04:26AM (#47772643) Homepage

    Back in the late 90's there was a serious issue with videocard's and their bios being reflashed to something else. Wish I had the magazines with the articles on it still, but it ended up being a rather large investigation. Happened with ati, nvidia, matrox cards quite a bit.

    There was also the massive, and I do mean massive counterfeiting of fake Intel and AMD cpus, the most common thing that was done was resilkscreening the cpu. They would turn around and take a cyrix, or lower end amd/intel cpu scrub off the designations, then reapply them, and sell them back on the market. You didn't know that they were fake until you plugged them into the motherboard and surprise that $600 intel cpu was a resilked el-crapo cyrix chip.

    In all these cases, the primary source for these were from SE-Asia, mainly Thailand, and Vietnam. It was so bad, that these things were showing up in legitimate supply chains from major distributors like Ingram Micro, Supercom, etc. Even the packaging was legit, serial numbers on the packages were legit, so it was a very well organized scam.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @05:10AM (#47772773) Journal
    It would be interesting for an intermediary to be involved since producing/obtaining correctly faked GPUs is a comparatively specialized task. Not rocket science, pick the cheapest Nvidia silicon that is close enough to not react horribly to drivers expecting the real thing, tamper with the identifying portions of the firmware, replace any packaging, stickers, or other labels; but it's hardly the old 'purchase thing from best buy, return brick in the box' scam.

    This doesn't mean that it isn't one of the intermediaries; but if it is they are working with considerably more sophistication than the 'fell off the truck' level of supply chain skimming.
  • Not faked GPUs... (Score:5, Informative)

    by OmniGeek (72743) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @08:40AM (#47773585)

    I've read the Heise articles in the original German, and the GPUs were not faked; the cards were an older generation graphics card (~10% of the graphics throughput of the claimed item) with the video BIOS hacked to zero out the card manufacturer ID and the GPU type twiddled to fool the driver into thinking it was the newer card. According to the articles, NVidia is tracing the GPUs through the supply chain by their internal serial numbers.

    I would speculate that someone bought up a truckload of obsolete cards, reflashed the BIOS images, and relabeled them with plausible product ID labels. Could have been the Chinese manufacturer, could have been someone elsewhere in the pipeline.

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