2023 New Original SSD 990 PRO M2 2280 Nvme PCIe Gen 4.0X4 2TB 4TB Internal Solid State Disk SSD HDD for Laptop/PS5/PC (WHL #92)

Fake flash from China today!

Fake drives have been around for quite some time now, it started out as USB flash drives emulating 2.5″ regular hard disks, scamming some tourists into buying worthless drives (and a pair of hex nuts, to simulate the weight). While classic spinning rust is basically dead for most people’s data transfer needs, fake flash has evolved. Nowadays, a lot of trash flash seems to end up in super-high capacity drives for pennies. There are legit 1 and 2TB USB flash drives, but those are 50€+ and 150€+ respectively, while the Chinesium ones stack up to 128TB and cost less than a tenner (more fake capacity still costs more money, obviously).

It’s gotten so bad, a software called F3 (“Fight Flash Fraud”) is now available from standard Ubuntu/Debian repositories, which identifies such drives by writing data to it and checking the garbage they return. There’s usually two types – ones that just wrap around in a defined area (so it doesn’t fully corrupt the file system), and ones that just ignore data after a certain point. The former preserve the latest data, the latter the first.

Unsurprisingly, fake flash is also available in SD and SSD format, but I haven’t seen those myself. So I ordered some

Here’s a “990 Pro 4TB” SSD, the unholy combination of a counterfeit Samsung part plus Nvidia naming scheme – Samsung does sell 970, 980 and 990 NVMe drives in various Pro and Evo configurations (up to 4TB nowadays), but the Chinese sell this as second-tier product – top tier is the 1080 Pro, which is reminiscent of the GeForce GTX 1080, the successor of the GTX 980. Nvidia never shipped a 990, though…

Anyway, it all looks quite Samsung-ish, doesn’t it? They even fucked up deleting every “S” from Samsung when copying all of their links on the back of the packaging. It’s mostly amsung, a well known quality brand from China…

Data from the label says: DELAIHE ELECTRONICS CO:TLTD, PN MZVL21TOHCR, Model MZ-V8P4T0 (both Samsung-like for good measure)

Here’s the drive itself:

And back:

Here’s a real Samsung 990 Pro 4TB for reference:

I, by the way, paid 32€ for it, while a real 4TB drive is 200€+ nowadays and a real Samsung 990 Pro 4TB is closer to 300€. Totally legit pricing, nobody would know this cannot be the real thing.

Well, I had plans of torturing this device and finding out what’s really on the PCB, but unfortunately a) the markings on driver IC and all the flash (PCB is not fully populated!), and b) it already died after writing roughly 87GB of test data to it. So no further testing, no benchmarking, no nothing…

It’s not that it just entered some read-only mode which proper SSDs do once their flash is fully depleted…it stopped reporting any capacity entirely and now takes ~25s to present this:

usb 1-4: new high-speed USB device number 91 using xhci_hcd
usb 1-4: New USB device found, idVendor=0bda, idProduct=9210, bcdDevice=20.01
usb 1-4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
usb 1-4: Product: SSK Storage
usb 1-4: Manufacturer: SSK
usb 1-4: SerialNumber: 012345678913
usb-storage 1-4:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
scsi host1: usb-storage 1-4:1.0
scsi 1:0:0:0: Direct-Access     SSK      SSK Storage      1.00 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
sd 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg1 type 0
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Read Capacity(10) failed: Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Illegal Request [current]
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: Invalid command operation code
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 0 512-byte logical blocks: (0 B/0 B)
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 0-byte physical blocks
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Test WP failed, assume Write Enabled
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Asking for cache data failed
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk

Report in a regular NVMe slot on a mainboard is pretty much the same, it’s just harder to grep it. So this is from my USB to NVMe adapter that actually reads the Lenovo OEM SSD that no other system besides my Thinkpad even identifies as a drive. And it’s quite handy to see the SSD – it does have a red LED that started blinking once it entered that zero-byte mode. Great. So I made a shaky 30s video, uploaded it to AliExpress and asked for a shipping label.

Is that crap worth my time? Nope, certainly not. I’m not even going to keep a low capacity SSD that would be suitable for tests or something like that.

Did I enjoy the experience? Very much so. After watching Louis Rossmann’s rant about subpar quality items and their customer-does-QA policy, I decided to return any Chinese crap in 2024 – the cheaper, the better. It’ll cost them money shipping it back, handling it, and then fully refunding me while also taking a hit in the seller ranking on AliExpress.

I bought a second item from the same seller in the same transaction – a “1 TB” microSD card. That one works, but has limited capacity (no surprises here). I’ll torture it for the next blog post…

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