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Counterfeit DFI Motherboards Surface In Indonesia

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the wonder-whose-chips-those-are dept.

Hardware 216

crazyeyes writes "Those crazy counterfeiters have done it again. First they made counterfeit Intel boxed processors, now they are counterfeiting DFI motherboards! Quoting: 'The detail to the packaging, documentation and the motherboard printing really makes you wonder if the people responsible for this have only limited their activities to DFI motherboards. It's quite possible that there are fake ASUS or Gigabyte motherboards in the market as well.'" Update: 04/15 12:59 GMT by Z : As noted in the comments, the articles offer no speculation as to the origins of the counterfeits. Updated to clarify that.

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216 comments

Prejudice? (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075090)

The crazy Chinese have done it again

Neither article presents proof (or even speculation) as to the origins of the fakes.

Re:Prejudice? (1, Flamebait)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075250)

yes its clearly racist.

Re:Prejudice? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075530)

Chinks didn't do it. It was the nig nogs.

Re:Prejudice? (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075270)

Neither article presents proof (or even speculation) as to the origins of the fakes.

And ten sources back the article was about growing banana trees on the pole. Got to love modern media.

Re:Prejudice? (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075508)

you mean web 2.0?

The Irony (5, Insightful)

amasiancrasian (1132031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075296)

The irony is that most of the "genuine" boards are made by Chinese companies, such as ASUS (CEO is ethnically Chinese, but born in Taiwan) who has operations in China. How do you tell a fake from a real these days? A friend of mine told me that the same factories that make real DVD boxes during the day are run at night and make *exactly* the same packaging for counterfeiting. Sometimes the counterfeit is the real McCoy.

Re:The Irony (5, Insightful)

amasiancrasian (1132031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075330)

I should also add the only way they'd be able to detect in some cases is that the serial number isn't listed in the official database. The packaging will be exactly the same if they're knock-offs during the night; they'll just be unrecorded in the books.

Re:The Irony (5, Interesting)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075620)

These guys have the manufacturing capability to make anything; what's lacking is official will to enforce IP. Ironic isn't it? The Chinese government's official line is that they won't do anything to jeopardize economic growth. The fact is the government is rolling in cash - over $1 TRILLION in foreign reserves (the exact opposite of a national debt) and hold big chunks of US Gov't debt. Probably because of this, there also seems to be no real will among western governments to call them on it, despite increasing industry opposition.

Basically the Chinese have the world by the balls and they know it. I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords, provided I can has pork fried rice.

BTW I'm not racist and certainly the Chinese have the right to economic development. I just think it's time they started playing by the rules.

Re:The Irony (5, Insightful)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075822)

"BTW I'm not racist and certainly the Chinese have the right to economic development. I just think it's time they started playing by the rules."

How do you think the USA jump started their economic development after the revolution?

And who do you think control the current "rules" and to who's benefit?

The Irony indeed ...

Re:The Irony (-1, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075428)

Chinese companies, such as ASUS (CEO is ethnically Chinese, but born in Taiwan)
Taiwan is China?

Who knew?

Re:The Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075654)

Taiwan is China?

I'm assuming you're trolling and not just plain dumb (though it's hard to tell around these parts). Ever heard of "Taiwan R.O.C."? Do you know what the R.O.C. stands for? Republic of China.

Re:The Irony (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23076014)

I remember going with my then GF to the Chinese Embassy in London in 1985 to try to get her visa for Taiwan sorted out.

They very politely informed us that we had the wrong China, but to come back in 2000 and they would have unified.

Ain't happened yet, but it's not unimaginable if the drift towards economic freedom leads to eventual political freedom in PROC.

Anyway, those Formosans make very good motherboards :P

Re:Prejudice? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075438)

The world belongs to technically competent madmen and their madames.

Re:Prejudice? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075526)

either the submitter or kdawson is racist. I assume they are both fukcing jew who coordinated the recent China bashing and instigation of Tibet separatist. Case closed.

Oh come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075556)

The chinks are ALWAYS behind this sort of thing. Give the race-baiting a rest already.

Re:Prejudice? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075634)

The proof is simple; with the exception of Taiwan, China is the only country left with the engineering capability to do this. India hasn't yet caught up and the US has long forgotten. Now, according to their own definition, Taiwan is a part of China. Thus this can only possibly be done by the Chinese. QED.

Re:Prejudice? (0, Redundant)

kampangptlk (1252914) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075936)

I'm Indonesian Chinese, you insensitive clod

Re:Prejudice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075958)

Tibetans use AMD and Linux, FREE TIBET!

Just how counterfeit are they? (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075102)

In the small island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (where some people might be surfing from this at this moment), they have slave labor factories for designer apparel makers like Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, and J.Crew. The price of the merchandise is pretty steep compared to what you can get at Target, but some people really like to spend a little extra to look good in the latest duds from these designers.

On Saipan, though, you can get knock-off Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, and J.Crew clothes for really cheap. Almost cheaper than the price of materials. These knock-offs are so good that even an expert wouldn't be able to tell a real one from a fake one.

The reason is that they are all real ones produced by the same factory. The only difference is whether the apparel was passed through proper distribution channels or swiped from a table at quitting time.

So, if I can save 80% of my money buying a "counterfeit" motherboard, is my little indiscretion going to break the global economy? Why can't I save a bit on the mobo and splurge a bit on something else? The design and manufacturing knowledge to build them is out there, shouldn't anyone be able to replicate the boards? And if they come from the same assembly line, what differentiates a real one from a fake one? Isn't "proper distribution channels" an artificial construct to bilk customers?

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (2, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075138)

I find the line "the crazy chinese have done it again" funny. They're the ones that make them in the first place! It would probably more fitting to describe them as "trademark abusing" or whatever. I'd guess it's probably a bit of a challenge to "counterfeit" all parts of a motherboard.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075310)

They counterfeit aswell. I guess if it was the real thing "stolen" from the factory that make them in the first place, that would be more or less alright.

But if you are going to do something illegal why not try to maximize your profit: there is more money to be done by just copying only the visible markings and slam it onto the cheapest hardware as possible.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075156)

Other then paying for the materials, labor, design and research ... none.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (3, Insightful)

Christophotron (812632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075176)

I agree with you in theory, but in practice...um...not so much. You're going to skimp on the most important component of your system? A counterfeit motherboard might look the same but you have no way of knowing if it REALLY IS the same. Also, you would get no warranty from the manufacturer unless you lied and defrauded them yourself. How much are you really saving?

You may want to risk frying your new shiny 9800GX2 and your 4GB of DDR3, but not I, sir.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075572)

Since these items are generally produced by the same factories and from the same designs as the originals, it is not very likely to cause a problem. No more than the originals are, anyway.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (4, Insightful)

KUHurdler (584689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075782)

or they could very well be the boards that failed tests, and were supposed to be disposed of.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (4, Insightful)

Freexe (717562) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075204)

> Isn't "proper distribution channels" an artificial construct to bilk customers

No. They might make their 10-15% profit, but that is reward for the risk and hardwork they put into the R&D that goes into making those chips/boards.

You are IMHO robbing from society as a whole by buying stolen goods. Sure sometimes it's for the greater good, breaking the rules is a good way to influence change. But you can't do it forever. Someone has to pay for the R&D.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075216)

Wouldn't these companies be producing chips whether they were getting paid or not? Real chipmakers do it because it's what they love to do.

I wasn't going to pay full price for a super-duper chip anyway. It's not like they lost a sale on me.

But the police sell stolen goods (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075604)

You are IMHO robbing from society as a whole by buying stolen goods.
You can't be right, because the police are not in the business of helping robbers, yet they sell stolen goods. I got my first bike from a police auction btw.

Move over eBay - this is the police [guardian.co.uk] ...
This website [bumblebeeauctions.co.uk] disposes of property that the police have seized or has been handed in, and where the police can't locate the original owner. Stuff on sale reflects criminal tastes; lots of mountain bikes (many "as new"), Nike trainers (new, boxed), jewellery and electrical goods such as laptops and iPods.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075842)

> Isn't "proper distribution channels" an artificial construct to bilk customers

No. They might make their 10-15% profit, but that is reward for the risk and hardwork they put into the R&D that goes into making those chips/boards.
But, but... is it my job to reward those poor blokes for their hard work?
Do they reward me for my hard work?

You are IMHO robbing from society as a whole by buying stolen goods.
Those goods aren't stolen -- just made at a night shift...

Someone has to pay for the R&D.
Ahh. The poor corporations as benefactors of Humankind. Fairy tales and that.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (4, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075232)

Isn't "proper distribution channels" an artificial construct to bilk customers?

Wow. Just...wow. A proper distribution channel exists so a company that spends money on R&D, engineering, manufaturing, etc. can turn a (relatively low margin) profit.

I just love how you rationalize that it's OK to buy counterfeit gear just because it's cheaper. Cutting out the 'evil capitalistic profits' eh? If it were not for profit there would be no incentive for DFI or any other company to make any product in the first place.

You show either a very shallow understanding of economics or a strong Marxist bias. Or it could just be you didn't have your coffee before you posted, or you just want to rationalize your purchase of low cost counterfeit products so you don't feel guilty.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075254)

You sure about that? DFI may contract for these boards, but the manufacture, test, and packaging is all done by the factory. What exactly is DFI providing?

Perhaps they could assert that buying a "genuine" DFI motherboard provides extra peace of mind and a valid warranty, but if all the parts come from the same materials and the same manufacturing techniques (in fact the same exact production line), then the difference is the label and warranty, right?

Or is the knowledge to build chips somehow purely DFI's to own?

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (5, Informative)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075712)

You sure about that? DFI may contract for these boards, but the manufacture, test, and packaging is all done by the factory. What exactly is DFI providing?

Perhaps they could assert that buying a "genuine" DFI motherboard provides extra peace of mind and a valid warranty, but if all the parts come from the same materials and the same manufacturing techniques (in fact the same exact production line), then the difference is the label and warranty, right?

Or is the knowledge to build chips somehow purely DFI's to own?
Reputation. That's really the big deal about buying a name brand board. Reputation that the company in question has some quality control standards, builds their product within specifications, will provide bios updates, and replace the product in the unlikely event that it is defective.

A counterfeit board might have the following issues:

1) Counterfeit bios, or a poorly implemented one.
2) Inferior parts... voltage regulars that overheat, under rated caps, shitty resisters, fuzzy silk screening, poor materials.
3) Mislabled parts... claims to use one chipset but really under the heatsync is another.
4) Dummy parts... looks like a slot, but ain't hooked up to anything.
5) Unknown factor. I can read reviews on Brand X's 123 board vs Brand Y's 123 board. Each model will have it's own features, and performance benefits. Counterfeit 123s may not even share the same attributes (jacks, ports, slots, layout) as a genuine board.

But what does DFI provide? They provide a product worthy of putting their label on it. They accept responsibility for it. They might not even have designed or manufactured it, but it bears their brand and at the end of they day they are accountable for a product they sold. A good reputation is what people pay money for... assurance that they won't get stuck with a product that they'll have to return or lose their money on.

It doesn't matter if we are talking lightbulbs, toasters, motherboards, macrame coat hangers, if you put your brand on a product, you take the blame if that product is crap.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075292)

It's not easy to produce a motherboard, you need specialist equipment and trained staff. It's not like digital media where anyone can produce a free or extremely low cost copy.
If the prices of the branded goods weren't artificially inflated, it would be harder to produce cheaper copies. Similarly, if the cheaper copies are actually inferior they will soon earn a reputation for being so, unlike digital media where the cheap copies are often better (removal of unskippable commercials and forced activation/code schemes).

The problem is even worse with designer clothes, these clothes are mass produced in the same factories that produce bargain basement clothing... But the selling price is massively and disproportionately higher, opening up a huge hole for cheap copies. If designed clothes were sold with low profit margins, like regular affordable clothing, it wouldn't be profitable to counterfeit them so it wouldn't happen.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (2, Insightful)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075334)

Similarly, if the cheaper copies are actually inferior they will soon earn a reputation for being so [...]

This is where you argument falls down.

The fakes are (allegedly -- TFA offers no facts) being sold as "genuine DFI(TM) motherboards". Now if they were sold as "genuine ChinaCorp Fake(TM) motherboards" then you could consider the reputation of DFI versus the reputation of the fakes, and perhaps the fakes would be just as good. That is not possible if the fakes pretend to be a DFI motherboard and the consumer can't tell when purchasing which reputation they are choosing.

This is why trademark laws are actually a mostly good sort of monopoly protection.

Rich.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075792)

Yes, that's a valid point..
However, so strong is the marketing surrounding the well known products, that a noname producer has a hard time getting any sales, even if their products are both superior and cheaper. The current system is geared up to keep incumbents at the top, while providing an unnaturally high barrier of entry.
Maybe sales and marketing should be banned, and accountable non profit groups set up with experts in particular fields independently reviewing and publishing the results. It should cut down on inferior overpriced products still selling if they're well marketed, and ensuring that the best value products rightfully succeed.
Far too often, inferior and more expensive products have succeeded when the only thing going for them was successful marketing.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075764)

A proper distribution channel exists so a company that spends money on R&D, engineering, manufaturing, etc. can turn a (relatively low margin) profit.

For motherboards, your argument works. For handbags made by slave labor from $0.15 worth of raw materials that sell for a few hundred dollars, not so much.



Cutting out the 'evil capitalistic profits' eh? If it were not for profit there would be no incentive for DFI or any other company to make any product in the first place.

If the workers can't afford to buy what they make, you have an inherently unsustainable economy. Call it Marxism if you want, but output can't exceed input in a closed system. For most of modern history, that "worked" due to economic imperialism. In the next 50 years, that will break down as the "third world" ceases to exist (at least in an exploitable sense).



or you just want to rationalize your purchase of low cost counterfeit products so you don't feel guilty.

I'll pay for name-brand when that actually correlates with quality. When it comes to matters of "fashion", where people pay only for the name - I'd actually prefer to buy the knockoff at the same price, just to punish the idiots that really believe a name has value.

You one dumb MoFo !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075258)

yOU ARE A DUMB mOfO OF THE FIRST ORDER

dOES YOU MAMA NO YOU ARE SO stpuid!!

Re:You one dumb MoFo !! (1, Funny)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075942)

dOES YOU MAMA NO YOU ARE SO stpuid!!
Know she doesn't!

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (3, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075290)

So, if I can save 80% of my money buying a "counterfeit" motherboard, is my little indiscretion going to break the global economy?
Same as printing your own money... alone you won't break the world economy, but if too many people do it the system falls apart.

And if they come from the same assembly line, what differentiates a real one from a fake one? Isn't "proper distribution channels" an artificial construct to bilk customers?
Assembly lines create rejects... most often the "knockoffs" taken from factories are those that don't meet assembly/reliability standards and are "liberated" from the reject bin. Proper distribution channels is not just to bilk customers, it's also to control the quality of goods shipped to customers.
For example leaking capacitors and exploding batteries are the risks of poor control in the non-proper channels.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (3, Funny)

luke2063 (1137533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075354)

exploding batteries are the risks of poor control in the non-proper channels.
Looks like there was a run on forged Sony laptops last year...

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075456)

The difference here is that Sony and Toshiba have recalled and replaced the defective batteries, whereas DFI will not be inclined to even touch the 'fake' boards.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075376)

Same as printing your own money... alone you won't break the world economy, but if too many people do it they get together and create a central bank to support their "business".
There, fixed that for you.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075452)

Same as printing your own money... alone you won't break the world economy, but if too many people do it the system falls apart.

Ahhh, If only the central bankers were concerned about the system falling apart from printing funny money...

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (2, Informative)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075632)

Ahhh, If only the central bankers were concerned about the system falling apart from printing funny money...
Actually they are - which is why they are pseudo-governement entities. For the finanical market keeping big government in check is just as important as anybody else, and traditionaly governments had the power to print money at will.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (2, Interesting)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075306)

The design and manufacturing knowledge to build them is out there, shouldn't anyone be able to replicate the boards?
On the point of copied products (not stolen/diverted goods):

And when the company that spent money obtaining the design and manufacturing knowledge (ie: R&D) goes under because they couldn't compete with the barely above cost copies? The company that invests in designing the next generation of a product is gone, and the company that's producing the cheap knockoffs doesn't do design, so where do the next set of improvements come from?

Expecting a company to simply write off its design costs and compete purely on production costs is unworkable.

I know here in slashdotville anything related to IP is treated with scorn, but despite the undeniable increases in abuse IP does serve a valuable purpose when applied correctly.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (2, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075318)

Basically R&D.

Any firm subsidies the R&D spend by selling their current range at a competitive profit. Any one line only stays in the field for a limited length of time and by then a new product must be ready to roll or the company folds.

This goes double for "arms race" technologies like the IT field, where a mobo will be deprecated in ~8 months. They NEED to sell a certain number in order to fund the development of the next model and so on. Every new fork in the technology will leave a few smaller companies on the graveyard because they either backed the wrong branch or will not have the capital to change.

So along comes a knock off firm who takes the whole IP without doing any R&D and pushes it out at a lower margin and steals profit from the designer. What happens? the original firm suffers and the balance is risked. A similar situation exists in patent car parts and 3rd party parts - when you buy original manufacturer parts you are helping design the next model of car. Without that income the whole system hangs in jeopardy.

Take a step back from your naive, narrow minded viewpoint and try and look at the market as whole. Apart from the legality of the issue Chinese knockoff invariably add nothing to quality, save little on price and carry far greater hidden risks then most people think.

The trick here is to mentally predict what will happen in another 15 years if this continues. My opinion is based on experience and facts as I see them, and yes - I traveled to china 6 times a year for >5 years when working in the CE industry so I have some limited experience in this.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075828)

This goes double for "arms race" technologies like the IT field, where a mobo will be deprecated in ~8 months. They NEED to sell a certain number in order to fund the development of the next model and so on
I disagree.

In "arms race" technologies, emphasis on the race, they probably have the least need to prevent true copy-cats precisely because of the short duration of profitability. Copy-cats don't literally spring up over night, it takes time to reverse engineer the system, source the components and bring up the manufacturing line. By then, most of the profit from a true "arms race" product has already been realized.

Shoddy knock-offs are another thing, I'm talking about true copy-cats. Trademarks are generally useful to the public at large whereas my point is that patents and copyrights are not so utilitarian.

Similarly, there was a report that video games make 50% of their sales in the first month and 25% of their sales in the first week with 8% as pre-orders. Its a lot easier to pirate a video game since it does not require any reverse engineering and the production line can literally be started over night. Yet, a well managed video game developer ought to be able to preload the distribution channels to take advantage of having 'first access' to the product and monopolize the first few weeks of availability where most of the revenue is at.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075328)

The reason is that they are all real ones produced by the same factory. The only difference is whether the apparel was passed through proper distribution channels or swiped from a table at quitting time.
They're not always swiped from a table. Sometimes the same factory produces the "fakes" in bulk.

They do that so they can get a sizeable cut of the fake market: they're first to market, even with the fakes, so they corner the "fake" market.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (4, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075342)

So, if I can save 80% of my money buying a "counterfeit" motherboard, is my little indiscretion going to break the global economy?
Well... You would have to show me a case where you actually save 80%, as in a $150 motherboard for $30. I'm not talking surplus or last years model here.... things released in the $150 bracket for $30.

Second... how reliable do you think a 80% cheaper board is? I know during the 486 era I was hip to buying some cheap arse boards. We're talking rebranded PC chips crap. Even the socket 754 line which was designed to be the cheap line... even true blue asus boards had a high return rate. I'm sure other /. users could tell us of their horror stories. A board failure is bad enough, not to speak of damage to other parts such as cpu and memory odds are you spent more than $30.00 on.

And third... support from a counterfeit board. Bios updates are ultra handy. Even from a non-counterfeit board i've seen a lack of updates in the pentium III class where win2k or xp refused to work (I forget the issue, but something MS and intel hashed out). Imagine a pirated bios with no chance of an update.

And lastly... let's say you "could" get a $30 motherboard. Odds are you're going to have to replace that sucker relatively soon with another $30 board because of failure, lack of updates, or whatever. You're out $60. You might as well have bought a $60 board, which to me represents an older model, overstock, or closeout deal.

So to sum up

1) 80% savings is too good to be true for new gear.
2) You risk failure or damage to your equipment
3) Lack of support and updates make it a headache
4) Under pretty ideal conditions, you'll likely be better off with a realistic discount for a realistic reason.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075446)

Well, if you're the only one who does it, then it's not a problem. If half of DFI's customers walk off with motherboards at cost price or lower, then the company stops making motherboards. The tragedy of the commons, I think.

Justify anything can we? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075512)

Sorry but you really seem to want us to all chime in and excuse you for your poor judgement, let alone ethical outlook.

You want to know the problem, its called theft. By your example which you tried to use clever words to cover up its pure theft.

"Proper Distribution Channels" - Thats rich.

You are receiving stolen goods, worse you acknowledge they are stolen. You they try to excuse it by tossing all the PC key phrases to assign the guilt back to the party being harmed... as in "using slave labor, low wages, poor living conditions" Yeah I added a few terms but why not, I was expecting them.

Is this how your outlook is? You can excuse bad behavior, lack of ethics and morals, by claiming someone else is worse?

Re:Justify anything can we? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075546)

No, the slave labor conditions in Saipan were only added for color. The point has nothing to do with working conditions and everything to do with the perceived value of a good.

Do you think that a factory which has the ability to produce goods (and indeed does produce the goods for an OEM) should be barred from producing the same product for themselves?

Re:Justify anything can we? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075562)

Actually, in most cases this stuff isn't stolen, at least not in the traditional sense. Usually, a factory in China or India is given an order for some number of goods (say, 5000 motherboards), and they produce more than that (6000), then sell the extras on their own (counterfeits). It is only stealing if you believe in the concept of intellectual property.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075750)

Why knock offs? They are often real. Surplus or night jobs depending on the way the manufacturing is set up.

For example, all of my suits for the last 5-7 years are YSL or PC in anything but a label. I buy them when on holiday in Bulgaria (and I know where to buy them from). When YSL, PC or any of the other usual suspects orders a batch to a specific design the factory always makes 10-20% surplus to ensure that enough of them survive through quality control.

The surplus is after that sold unlabelled on the local market. The resulting product has different buttons, zips, etc which in the original are branded. For the surplus the factory uses generic analogues instead. As there is no branding visible the label is not bothered to make the factory destroy these if they are not sold for export.

End of the day you get a proper suit and it costs a fraction of the cost of the crappiest Chinese slaveshop P.O.S. sold in Walmart.

Re:Just how counterfeit are they? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075856)

If you really want to plug an expensive CPU, GPU, memory, hard disk into a knock-off board, and run then run power said motherboard just to save maybe $50 then be my guest.

Personally I would be more concerned about frying my hardware, electrocuting myself or possibly burning the whole house down. It doesn't matter either if the mobo is actually genuine in the stolen sense. Who knows if the thing passed QC or not. For all anyone knows, it came out of the reject pile and has something seriously wrong with it.

It's not quite up there with knowingly using counterfeit drugs to save money, but its certainly a risk that I consider to be far in excess of any money saved.

Well great (2, Interesting)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075106)

All those motherboards have all the right looking shininess, capacitors, traces etc etc. How does a person without a PhD in I dunno--hardware something--tell these apart from legit boards (apart from the legit boards not being sold in the country of sale.)

Re:Well great (3, Funny)

malinha (1273344) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075126)

Look for the "Vista capable" logo!?

Re:Well great (2, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075450)

All those motherboards have all the right looking shininess, capacitors, traces etc etc. How does a person without a PhD in I dunno--hardware something--tell these apart from legit boards (apart from the legit boards not being sold in the country of sale.)
This is a legit enough question, one where there is no easy answer. I remember back in 2000 when some parts dealers were popping up all had fliers for their special of the month. Some were legit, but some used boards with counterfeit bios. The only way one can tell by looking at it was looking up the BIOS ID what was flashed for a moment upon bootup.

It's not like the deals were too good to be true. For about $100 from each dealer you could buy a reasonably cheap MB and Chip combo in OEM packaging and a sub par manual.

There was no real solution to ID fake boards, only the general advice of avoiding seedy dealers, which is none too helpful as no matter where you go, you always have to buy something from someone for the first time. And in the age of ordering online, shop loyalty has gone out the window.

Re:Well great (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075706)

Even with a PhD you probably wouldn't be able to tell, because there are so many different parts. Bad capacitors, poor soldering, cheap PCBs, there's too many things for any single person to identify what and where corners are cut. Which is why it's safer to go with a retail company that has a bunch of engineers dealing with the supplier from every step of the process. A good middle--man doesn't just pass stuff through, they conduct their own testing, and are dealing with the manufacturer on many more levels than an individual consumer can.

How refreshing - another clueless article on /. (0, Flamebait)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075112)

To the bozo poster of this "news": have you been in a coma since late 20th century?

They've been making fake Asus motherboards for 10+ years.

Are they worse than the original? (2, Interesting)

Confused (34234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075114)

In what way are those counterfeit motherboards worse than the original?

Is just DFI getting no money for them or can the end user experience any difference?

Confused.

Re:Are they worse than the original? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075272)

Yeah, i too had the same question.
In what way are they different?
Especially if they use:
1) the same die cast Intel uses
2) Uses same workers to do the job,
3) Uses the same tools to get it made
4) Uses same raw material

If it barks like a dog, looks like a dog, wags its tail like a dog and chases cats like a dog, then it is a dog to me.

Just because it is an unauthorized copy doesn't mean it is inferior.

Much like your GF making a copy of the 256 kbps MP3 song you bought from Amazon.com. Is the copy in anyway inferior to the original?

Crazy Chinese? (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075162)

Yes, crazy like a fox.

However, I don't see what nationality or ethnicity has to do with this. TFA doesn't even mention China.

Re:Crazy Chinese? (1)

Al_Lapalme (698542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075218)

Hahahahh! Those crazy fox commercials drive me nuts too.

Counterfeit boxes, not processors (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075166)

In the case of the counterfeit boxed processors mentioned in the summary, it's not the processors that are counterfeit, just the boxes and coolers. The processors are real Intel processors, but they don't come with the 3 year warranty that boxed processors have, and the cooler is bound to be worse.

Re:Counterfeit boxes, not processors (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075298)

Not necessarily, it could have a better cooler than the original. The original coolers aren't great and a lot of users replace them anyway. As for packaging, who cares? It just gets thrown away. The warrantee is the only thing to really be concerned about, but with the speed processors become obsolete 1 year isn't too bad anyway.

Twofo Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075172)

Eat my goatse'd penis! [twofo.co.uk] [goatse.ch]

You nerds love it.

It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (2, Interesting)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075200)

I have seen fake Nokia phones that run Nokia software. Back three years ago I didn't believe it. Now they fake IPhones, processors, mainboards. I heard (and didn't really believe) that they can, and sometimes do, fake just about everything.

Now take a step back and think about it: Pharmaceuticals, airplane spare parts, nuclear power plant spare parts ... (fill in what you want)

And I am thinking. If they are that skilled, why don't they just produce originals themselves (I heard that some fakes are even better than the originals, especially with products where a lot of value is in the brand instead of the product itself).

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075326)

'If they are that skilled, why don't they just produce originals themselves ...'

Because implementation (manufacturing) is a commodity service; research, design, and developement is hard.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075370)

Also, a brand name takes time to develop.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075350)

And I am thinking. If they are that skilled, why don't they just produce originals themselves
Resources - These companies hire talent for assembly and manufacturing because they manufacture the originals as well. So their skillset is focused on taking a design and figure out the right processes and tools to manufacture it. They however, don't have resources dedicated to handle the design aspects (industrial design, marketing, UI, etc) because that is beyond the scope of what they usually do.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (1)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075424)

In alot of cases, the fakes actually come from the same factory the originals do.

A factory may be under contract to produce say... 20,000 units a month. Well maybe they run another shift and crank out 30,000 units.

Those extra units have to go somewhere. If the original purchaser doesn't need more, the extras find themselves loaded onto a nondescript truck.

Thats really the problem with outsourcing, you lose control.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075616)

I your example the factory would have to produce 20,000 units that pass quality control per month. So they over produce so they always meet their quota. In a province where a friend of mine lives, they make replica sports team shirts. Everyone in the villages wears them as they get the extra stock. The shirts are all perfectly fine and would have passed quality control, just they over produce to ensure they always meet the targets required by the customer.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075540)

airplane spare parts,

There have been several air accidents due to fake aircraft parts, not to mention fake Titanic rivets.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075700)

Pharmaceuticals are already being counterfeit and have been for some time.

Re:It IS crazy thinking about what the can fake (3, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23076004)

If they are that skilled, why don't they just produce originals themselves

They will...

This is the same process that Japan went thru. If you're old enough you'll remember when "Made in Japan" meant crap quality, and back then there were few Japanese brand names. China if building up it's tech expertise (very quickly) building knock-off versions of brands that are easy to sell. As "Made in China" stops becoming synonymous with "cheap piece of crap", then you will see more and more Chinese brands, respected for themselves, rather than knock-offs.

So? (2, Insightful)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075202)

Aren't all of these boards Chinese in the first place? The factory probably just did some overtime runs to knock out several more thousand.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075346)

Perhaps you'll be a bit more discerning when your MoBo fails b/c it never passed QA...

Or worse yet, your "counterfeit" MoBo might simply be a board that didn't pass QA.

I speak from experience. I believe I was a victim of this myself regarding an ASUS MoBo. And that was over 3 years ago.

Re:So? (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075362)

Aren't all of these boards Chinese in the first place? The factory probably just did some overtime runs to knock out several more thousand.

That would be a good scenario. A bad scenario is that these are the motherboards which didn't pass QA or testing, in other words faulty motherboards which were liberated from the reject bin by enterprising workers. You'd be buying a known broken motherboard and wouldn't know about it until you got it home, or perhaps even until you'd been using it to process your critical data for a while.

Rich.

Why don't they get their own brand? (1)

shadyi (981862) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075208)

If they have the technology to build a motherboard and a processor, why don't they just create their own brand instead of faking other ones?

Re:Why don't they get their own brand? (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075244)

They have the technology to build them to specs, but they do not want to develop the specs themselves, that being the expensive part.

Re:Why don't they get their own brand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075280)

What are you talking about? DFI is a chinese company. Same for Asus, MSI etc.

and? (2, Informative)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075240)

Even if they understand it is illegal, they see nothing wrong with it. In my trips to china I saw some crazy stuff - taking somebody else's ideas and doing it better/cheaper is a normal business practice there.

look, on the bright side - it probably will not be fatal. if you really want a shocking (bad pun) Chinese fake, look at this one:-

http://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/internet/pws/pws.nsf/luAllByID/F2DAEE42760F06F3802573F3004D040C [schneider-electric.co.uk]

Re:and? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075360)

Yikes. I scanned the doc briefly but I couldn't see exactly what it defined as 'fake'. Does it mean that the circuit breaker has no internal workings at all or is it just of inferior quality?

Re:and? (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075484)

look at the pics! It is basically a very badly made switch designed to look like a MCB - in other words there is no over protection at all and it is dubious that even the switch component could handle the 32A rated. A fatality awaiting to happen.

Re:and? (1)

earthman (12244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075528)

It appears to contain only a simple switch instead of any circuit breaker.

Re:and? (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075598)

Taking a look at the pic... From the detail I could see at 2X magnification, it appears there's no actual "breaker" there -- the magnetic core that's supposed to "trip" was simply replaced by a plain wire. As best I could tell, and this part I couldn't be sure of from the picture but it seems logical, they had it rigged up to switch off if manually turned off, so it does look like it should function as a regular switch, thus effectively deceiving the user until the moment of truth, but the bulk of the thing, the part that should trip it automatically on overload, simply ISN'T THERE!

The wire looks a bit heavy for it but depending on the rated amps and the composition of the wire, if a buyer is /lucky/ (and the counterfeiter has /some/ conscience), it might fuse out, vaporizing the wire (or another component) rather than continuing to short and starting a fire or whatever, but even then, it'd be a (switched) fuse, not a resettable circuit breaker, dead on first use.

More likely it'd cause the main breaker -- hopefully there is one and it's not similarly rigged -- to trip, cutting off not just the single circuit but the entire panel along with all its circuits. Considering, at least over here in the US, that occasionally, for circuits such as alarm panels, security systems, and relay timing circuits, it's apparently accepted and not uncommon to see their breakers blocked ON, thus allowing serious overload to the point the load gets enough to trip the main breaker, this isn't /too/ unacceptable, or at least I can imagine the counterfeiter rationalizing such to himself. (I still have trouble rationalizing the on-block to myself, but whatever, I've seen it enough places, and with blocks obviously marketed for the purpose, to know it's gotta be accepted and legal, regardless of what they tell us about the safety of the system. Of course, we have 125V standard mains. It's possible such things aren't allowed at all on 250V standard mains, which I suppose they have where those were discovered.)

Duncan

Re:and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075968)

taking somebody else's ideas and doing it better/cheaper is a normal business practice there.
Funny, I always thought being better/cheaper than your competitor was the main idea behind the capitalism upon which our economy is founded, too.

Why Asus/Gigabyte hasn't been faked yet... (1)

strredwolf (532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075454)

*holds up Asus EeePc 701 and reads the label* "Made in China"

Ditto for Gigabyte motherboards.

Are the fake ones better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075490)

As someone who's been suckered into buying a DFI motherboard in the past, I ask "can the knockoffs possibly be any worse quality?" I bet the knockoffs have a better RMA policy, too.

How about an anology (4, Interesting)

spasticfantastic (1118431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075522)

A friend of mine is a silversmith. He recently completed a contract for a high class jeweler to produce some bracelets. The cost of the silver used was around £15 but the bracelets were sold in the jewelers store for £120. When he finished the contract he used the original design specs and some left over silver to make a few more bracelets which he sold to friends for £30 - so are these fakes?

Re:How about an analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23075698)

It depends on if he marked them or sold them as genuine designer bracelets. While they may not be fakes your friend was probably under contract to only make this design of Bracelets for the company ordering them. Second the bracelet design may be copyrighted in which case the extra bracelets would violate the copyright. On an other note why did your friend make perfect copies of the bracelets, he could have redesigned them and sold them as his own design in which case he would be legally in the clear. He could also say that he the produced Jewlery that was sold in upscale Jewlery stores. However in this case were not talking about making a few to sell to your friends were talking about going into the other Jewelery Stores and sell them as Designer X genuine bracelets.

Re:How about an anology (1)

technos (73414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075772)

DFI never sold these motherboard models, (In your case, the 'jeweler' did.) and doesn't contract out to have other companies design and make boards for them. (In your case, the 'jeweler' did.)

So no. The friends that bought them were doing something more like "Oh, I know this fab designer and picked up one of his originals for £30!" instead of "I bought this £90 chunk of crap they told me 'jeweler' sells for £120, but they don't and it's actually worth only £15!"

In most places (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075778)

that would be called theft. And he could and SHOULD be taken to court over that. While it is uncommon in the west, that is exactly what regularly goes on in China. But keep in mind that it is not rare enough even in the west. Yesterday, Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against fisker. [theregister.co.uk] Turns out that fisker was designing the white star for Tesla, but purposely did a crap job. In addition, issues that Tesla had solved, fisker took back to his car as well as possibly to Quantum Q Drive. Now, is it true? No idea. Courts will have to solve that one. But it does happen. But then again, Musk should have known better then to trust this guy. Apparently, fisker has a long reputation of pulling similar stunts elsewhere. Hopefully, he has an iron clad contract and can stop this.

Re:In most places (1)

technos (73414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075948)

Crafted and technological art are sold under different terms. Things like his silversmith pal produces are typically not works for hire like the Tesla body design.

China is a country of possibilities (1)

eliteisland (1043222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075578)

Never assume. Anything is possible here.

Fakes are already very common (5, Interesting)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075682)

I work in a computer shop, and two weeks ago, a guy tried to sell us 1000 "corsair" RAM modules for a very cheap price. Before buying, my boss asked to test them: 8 out of ten wouldn't even boot the computer, and the two that did were actually "kingston" modules on which the brand name had been removed and replace by "Corsair". The packaging looked exactly the same as legit "corsair"'s. The RAM in fact was the rejects from some factory rebranded and resold.

Funny how accounting works (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075728)

Companies like Intel, AMD, DFI, etc have all moved loads of their operations to China and Indonesia because of "low" costs. Yet, in doing this, the local gov. will push for their locals to learn and duplicate it. Both Indonesia and China allows this because copyrights and patents do not matter to them. They view it as this is false property and it is just theft by those that have it. In addition, they have lousy quality to keep their costs down as well as due to the fact that they just do not know better. But is this their fault? Nope. It is the accountants and CEOs. For example, Intel recently announced that they were moving some major operations to China. Why? Because China is graduating loads of engineers. Ok, assume that these engineers are top quality. But the shear number is no where near what America, Japan, or even Germany has. So, is this the real reason? Nope. It came down to some account looking at upfront labor costs, but never thinking about the costs of theft, virus, low quality that it will lead to. Sad. The downfall of the west is being lead by accountants as well as short-term thinking CEO's.

Re:Funny how accounting works (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075878)

I read this quote a few days ago...

In the 1980s, Capitalism defeated Communism, in the 1990s it defeated Democracy...

Re:Funny how accounting works (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23075976)

I do not know whether to cry or laugh. I think that it has a lot of truth. Of course, to be honest, things are very rigged right now. For example, china has tariffs over 10% on ALL imports from the west (interestingly, they drop them for countries that they are trying hard to get to trade with them). China is now fighting that they are required to drop them according to WTO. After all, they had almost 8 years with them in place and now want another 3-5 years of them. Obviously, the west is not going to allow that. In addition, they are the only country that does not have freely floating money in the WTO. It is heavily tied to the dollar and designed to make imports to them even more difficult.

But I have to admit that I admire them, in the same context that I admire MS or Hitler. Capable of being #1 in their world, but only by cheating.
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