Fight Fake Capacity Flash Memory

The Difference Between A Fake USB Memory Pen Stick And A Substandard One

Posted by techchips on September 8, 2009

Major brand manufacturers have placed large orders for flash memory chips. Prices are rising. Many facilities in China have scaled back production to clear existing inventory. It costs a lot to create quality memory nand storage chips. No one can not afford to sell below production costs.

The pricing information the FrankenFlash project has in What Are The Real Costs For Flash Chips In China? Guide 2009 may now contain prices that are lower then current costs.

Recently a website in New Zealand has hit the radar.  It is called:

The Oceania team has been examining this site for some time. There are fake usb pen drives being sold there. According to this team, it is not the only problem. It appears that many sellers at this site are receiving substandard merchandise from China.

There is a difference between a “fake” and a sub standard usb flash drive. The first is a small usb flash chip that has been digitally altered to report a much larger size to an operating system. In the case of a substandard chip, the size is close to what was advertised by the manufacturing facility. Instead, the chips contact a lot of bad sectors. not locked out by the low level formatting preparation. It is important to know the difference.

Recently one seller on Trademe, ordered a large quantity of 16GB usb flash drives to sell. The usb flash drives arrived and were tested. They were not fakes, but substandard as the test results revealed.


The seller on TradeMe was familiar with nand memory technology and make sure to test every single usb flash drive before offering for sale. Only good pen sticks were sold. A lot of sellers on TradeMe probably do not test, they are not aware that they need to.

If you chose to buy on make sure that you test your usb flash drive on arrival and prior to storing any important files on the pen stick. Your results will tell you if you have a genuine capacity item read to use, a substandard item or the false capacity item known as a “fake“.

2 Responses to “The Difference Between A Fake USB Memory Pen Stick And A Substandard One”

  1. ITGuy said

    Based on the H2testw output it is obvious that the flash controller’s bad block management (BBM) software is not working. The question is why?

    Has the controller’s software been hacked so that it ignores memory errors?

    Is it because of a defect in the flash controller’s software?

    Is it because the BBM software can only handle a limited number of errors?

    I believe the reason is the latter. The reason I say this is that some manufactures allocate a small fixed sized area of the memory on the flash drive for use by the BBM routines. When the area reserved for bad block replacement is fully utilized, you will get data errors.

    This is one reason why poor quality flash drives appear to work for a while, but as memory blocks fail, the reserved block area fills up resulting in data errors and lost data. Poor quality memory chips are “data loss just waiting to happen”.

    For further details on BBM, see paragraph on Reserve Block Method in this document
    and Extract from :
    NAND relies on ECC to compensate for bits that may spontaneously fail during normal device operation. This ECC may correct as little as one bit error in each 2048 bits, or up to 22 bits in each 2048 bits. If ECC cannot correct the error during read, it may still detect the error. When doing erase or program operations, the device can detect blocks that fail to program or erase and mark them bad. The data is then written to a different, good block, and the bad block map is updated

  2. FakeStopper said

    I totally agree with this. Alot of seller will not understand, if a flash drive fail testing, even if it contain one bad sectors, it actually implies POOR quality chips. These chips would only mean they are poor quality which are actually off the “back door”.

    No matter what you buy, flash drive, MP player, memory stick etc, you will always need to test this. This even include external hard disk.


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