COUNTERFEIT DDR3 MEMORY

We have numerous DDR3 sticks in our trays. We have trays for DDR2 as well but we have not experienced nearly the
problems that DDR3 has presented. The DDR3 on this page was purchased largely from eBay. We have noticed that stores are loaded with vast amounts of problematic memory.

The serial presence detect (SPD) tables are inconsistent with the speeds indicated suggesting there is a problem. We have the SPD tables from 2 different vendors on eBay for DDR3. One came from a pair of DDR3-1066 which does not work as a pair. The other pair of DDR3-1600 will not work at all unless the BIOS can be reset to a lower speed and once again they do not work as a pair.

We have several AMD and Intel machines to test memory with.

The upcoming Zen will bring the old K10 forward with better SSE support and more registers etc. in addition to better power consumption and performance.

See the RAM Timing page for more information on how RAM timings work.

KNOWN GOOD RAM

We have several name brand memory sticks which are not problematic. We have only seen issues with generic OEM memory.

RAM PURCHASED THAT HAS BEEN PROVED FAKE/DEFECTIVE/COUNTERFEIT

We purchase a lot of RAM as workloads on our machines can be very demanding. Generally we populate all vacant memory slots.

We are aware that Linux developers have open source code that has been modified by miscreants to altered the SPD tables. They do this to be able to conceal the defective memory to make it appear that is valid and functional.

DDR3-1066 PC3-8500F

Micron bought Elpida in 2013. The tables show that these sticks are actually DDR3-1333. The SPD was set to the lower speed grade as the memory fails at DDR3-1333 timings. Micron uses the Crucial brand for consumer memory products. The SPD shows Kingston but the part number is Elpida, Kingston would start with KVR for their value RAM series. ELPIDA EBJ21UE8BDF0-AE-F  is Micron DDR3-1333 which are actually blue in color.

Installing a single stick does POST. Installing 2 sticks in dual channel mode does not POST. Installing 2 sticks in single channel mode does POST but the second stick is flagged as hardware reserved. Our Elpida memory is also DDR3-1066 and we tried using that with each of the 2 sticks with no change in the results.

 

CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC FREQ
6-6-6-17-23 457 MHz
7-7-7-20-27 533 MHz
8-7-7-20-27 533 MHz
9-7-7-20-27 533 MHz
SPD from counterfeit Kingston DDR3-1066 showing it as server memory SPD table from counterfeit Kingston DDR3-1600

The last table entry is for DDR3-1333H which is nominally 9-9-9-24-33. This shows the memory has been binned from the factory then subsequently it was reprogrammed for DDR3-1066 to try to market it for use in older machines. Only 3 table entries are needed for DDR3-1066.

We have reported this counterfeit memory to Kingston. This is the item on eBay. Curiously this transaction disappeared from the purchase history which is of deeper concern.

DDR3-1600 PC3-12800

As seen in the photograph, the RAM chips are made by Hynix. The RAM was sold as DDR3-1600 which is clearly false. The chip marking were also very difficult to read suggesting some effort to conceal their identity was taken. 9905470-009.A00 is not in the Kingston catalogs suggesting this memory has been widely counterfeited. We contacted Kingston over the fake RAM and they confirmed it was fake.

Installing a single stick does not POST. Using the MemOK feature of the Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 resets the memory to DDR3-1333 and a single stick will POST. Installing 2 sticks in dual channel mode does not POST and MemOK resets the memory to DDR3-1333 but 2048MB is flagged as hardware reserved. Installing 2 sticks in single channel mode does not POST and MemOK resets the memory to DDR3-1333 but again the second stick is hardware reserved.

 

CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC FREQ
6-6-6-18-24 457 MHz
7-7-7-20-27 533 MHz
8-8-8-23-31 609 MHz
9-9-9-26-31 685 MHz

The table shows this is DDR3-1333 and not DDR3-1600 so the speed was counterfeited to the higher rate.

We have reported this counterfeit memory to Kingston. This is the item on eBay.

CONCLUSIONS

Clearly some memory has been reprogrammed to higher speeds in order to sell it at a higher price point. Others are simply bad memory that has deeper problems. With 6 table spaces for JEDEC DDR3 its not rocket science to test the memory and set 3-6 tables as needed for the maximum speed the RAM can handle.

It may be necessary for memory factories to use programmable read only memory (PROM) which is not alterable once set. PROM was widely used before electrically erasable PROM (EEPROM) memory became available and today flash memory is the most widely manufactured. The old PROM however is more secure.

PHOTOS

Looking at the photograph below, one pair shows that the RAM is actually made by Hynix while the other pair is made by Elpida (Micron). Over time we intend to expand the gallery of memory sticks.

Notice how the RAM chip marking have been removed. It’s possible to read them using a stereoscopic microscope, Genuine memory chips are clearly marked and are easily legible. We have many memory sticks, and the counterfeits are easily spotted as they try to conceal markings.