How you can Identify and Test Fake Storage Cards

While many of us in the photography globe spend time talking about the necessity of double memory card slots and their significance on modern digital cameras, few appear to truly understand bigger problems associated with storage media. One of the biggest issues that the particular photography community faces today is certainly fake memory cards that appear in many online stores, including the most popular types such as Amazon. Some of these fake memory space cards have no-name brands, several of them look legit under huge brand names such as SanDisk and Lexar. The problem with fake memory credit cards is that they either completely misrepresent their own true capabilities, or contain a lot less storage than advertised, which can lead to storage failures with unrecoverable information. Understanding which memory cards are usually real vs fake is extremely important, this is why we decided to write this article.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Card

1 . Buying Cheap Memory Credit cards Online

Undeniably, photographers love great deals, especially when considering memory cards. Why spend numerous dollars on expensive storage, whenever you can pay much less? That’ s the normal thought process of many photographers and that’ s understandable – after-all, provided how expensive camera equipment is, it really is tough to spend even more money upon accessories. Personally, I only go shopping for memory cards when they are on selling about once a year, as I also believe that it is not necessary to pay full price with an item that often goes on sale. Nevertheless , while shopping for memory cards, we ought to always pay close attention to things like memory card brand name, speed, size, price and vendor. The last is especially important, because purchasing from an untrusted source can lead to receiving a fake product. Unfortunately, points are getting more complicated today, because also trusted companies end up selling artificial products, often without knowing about it.

For example , the online giant Amazon. com can be perceived as a trusted seller, but several photographers have experienced receiving camera containers filled with sand, bricks and other rubbish, while those who have purchased memory credit cards through Amazon received fake SanDisk and Lexar memory cards. As well as the worst part is, some of the items were marked as “ Prime”, sold and shipped by Amazon . com. Does this mean that one should not have to get buying from Amazon? Not necessarily. Amazon . com is a huge company and as a result, it occasionally gets scammed by resellers and occasionally by some customers, who purchase legitimate products and return fake types to get a full refund. The bogus product might then recirculate plus end up with another customer. Since Amazon . com handles so many returns, its employees might not be able to understand differences in between a real and a fake product.

Personally, I do buy considerably from Amazon, but I always ensure that you test electronics out after getting, to make sure that they are not fake. If I don’ t want to go through these hassles, I simply buy camera gear and add-ons from the companies I trust: B& H Photo Video and Adorama . These companies are much smaller than Amazon . com and they are specialized in camera gear, computer systems and storage. The staff these people employ in their return departments are generally very knowledgeable, and if they notice anything wrong with the return, they will won’ t issue a repayment. Smaller companies take returns really seriously, because it is one area which could get out of hand quickly and lead to huge financial losses to the business. As a result, such companies are less likely to obtain scammed. In addition , they have a popularity to maintain – if they ever deliver a fake product, they understand that the news will quickly propagate across the Web and hurt their businesses over time. That’ s why they take additional measures to only purchase products straight from manufacturers and they never allow one to resell their products on their online systems.

However , many online stores such as Amazon, NewEgg and Walmart allow third party sellers on their systems and that’ s typically exactly where most of the troubles come from. When purchasing from such websites, I always be sure that the product is shipped and sold from the same company. For example , when purchasing from Amazon, I always make sure that I actually get the product that is marked because “ Shipped and sold simply by Amazon”. The same goes for others.

Be especially careful whenever buying from websites such as auction web sites and Craigslist. eBay is filled up with sellers with high ratings that are involved in selling counterfeit products, whilst Craigslist or other online discussion boards are going to be mostly selling used, restored or counterfeit memory cards you are not going to be able to test before you hands them your money. In fact , it is not really worth buying used and refurbished memory space cards, because you won’ t have the ability to tell how heavily those credit cards had been used.

2 . Types of False Memory Cards

When it comes to counterfeit memory cards, you will discover a number of different types of them out there:

  1. Reduced Learn / Write Speed : This is very common. You buy a memory that shows something like “ optimum 95 MB/sec read and ninety MB/sec write speed” and a “ V30” label that is supposed to ensure a minimum write speed of thirty MB/sec. But when copying a file utilizing a fast memory card reader, you might not also get more than 5-10 MB/sec. Older, slow memory cards are inexpensive and some companies simply change labeling on unsold memory cards to create them look fast, when actually they are very slow. The only way to try such memory cards is simply by performing file read / create operations. While such fake credit cards are unfortunate to come by, these people rarely result in data loss and sometimes get used continuously, without the proprietor even knowing about it.
  2. Reduced Capacity : An additional very common issue, where the card can report large capacity to your pc, camera or storage device, whenever in reality it contains only a very small portion of the overall capacity. For example , a 512 GB SD card might show up because 512 GB on your computer, but in actuality contain only 16 GB of storage tissues. This happens because the microchip (a small part of the memory card that is responsible for confirming the total amount of storage available) inside the memory card has been reprogrammed to statement a different size to the host. This kind of memory cards are extremely dangerous, since you might never be able to tell they are fakes until you start filling all of them up. In this particular case, the very first 16 GB of storage might work great, but anything past that is going to generate data errors. Counterfeit memory credit cards with reduced capacities should be prevented the most, because they will most certainly lead to data loss.
  3. Fake Brand : Some storage cards have big brand labeling attached to them and sold at reduced price, when in reality they are produced from cheap parts by some unknown producer in Asia. In some cases, it could be a little manufacturer that sells “ rejects” from bigger brands, and in various other cases it could be a real OEM item from a legitimate manufacturer with misconstrued specifications. Such products are often harder to identify and might require a contact to the manufacturer to verify the particular serial number.
  4. Unrealistic Capacity : There are storage cards that are sold on auction web sites and some other websites that advertise completely unrealistic storage space sizes. For example , if you search auction web sites for microSD memory cards, you will find cards with capacities as huge as 2 TB:
    Fake 2TB microSD Memory Card

    In reality, the largest capacity microSD card you can buy today is only 512 GB. Similarly, 1 TB+ SECURE DIGITAL cards have been sold on eBay for some time now, when SanDisk made a good announcement in 2016 that it had a 1 TB Sdcard prototype, which still has not managed to get to the consumer market in 2019. So where does the other 1 . five GB of storage come from? A “ reprogrammed” controller, of course. The real storage space such cards might be 16 GB, 32 GIGABYTE or even 64 GB, but they review themselves as 2 TB towards the host. Until one fully testing the card over its “ real” capacity, it is impossible to tell just how much of that 2 TB is actually functional!

  5. Bogus and Non-Working : Some memory credit cards are sold at incredibly low prices simply by unknown sellers. Buy one of these and you may quickly regret your purchasing choice, as these cards are pieces of plastic-type that don’ t work. You are able to forget about trying to contact the seller plus returning such memory cards.

3. Fake Memory Card Issues

So what happens when you do have a fake / counterfeit memory card? Properly, as you can see from the earlier section, the problems can range from getting very sluggish speeds all the way to data reduction and unusable memory cards. Of all the potential issues, data loss could be the biggest risk, especially when a large capability memory card is used. The problem with bogus memory cards with reduced capability, is that many photographers might not realize that once they go over a certain capacity, every data from that point on will be corrupt. Therefore everything might appear to be working excellent at first, only to have troubles appear later. This is especially problematic whenever photographers plan expensive trips exactly where memory cards fail after a couple of days of use. So the biggest risk 1 might run into, is loss of information – that’ s where you usually do not want to end up! And having a double memory card slot camera is not going to aid in any way with fake cards, due to the fact both will fail at some point. That is why it is especially important to identify phony memory cards and get rid of all of them.

4. How to Identify a Phony Memory Card

Should you have already purchased a memory card, there are some things you can inspect and simple tests you can run in order to determine a fake memory card:

  1. Inspect Product Packaging : First, start by inspecting the product packaging of the memory card, if you still have this. If it looks very cheap with unusual, inconsistent printing and no seals, that may be the first sign of a fake credit card.
    SanDisk Extreme Pro Packaging

    Make sure that the back of the deal contains information about the product such as the specifications and card speed, along with all the appropriate labels, warranty details and a proper UPC, as demonstrated below:

    SanDisk Package deal Back

    Keep in mind that if the package appears fake, the product itself is most likely false.

  2. Inspect Memory : If you don’ t possess the product packaging anymore, the next step is to aesthetically inspect the memory card itself. Begin with the front label of the memory card – is it positioned more or less evenly, or even does it look tilted? Does the particular label look properly printed within high quality? Does it look like it will quickly peel off? Those are all signs of possibly fake memory cards. However , the greatest sign is lack of an unique serial number that identifies the card. If you fail to find any long strings that contains numbers or letters with amounts, the memory card is most likely fake.
    SanDisk Fake SD Card Back

    The location of the serial number will be different depending on memory card type and producer. If you have a SanDisk card, check out this article , which details the particular possible location of serial figures on its storage products.

    Some manufacturers will include particular watermarks and other markings to distinguish their genuine products. For example , Kingston Technology uses “ Colorshift Verification” to identify genuine vs fake items. If your Kingston memory card does not have this kind of feature, it is fake. Take a look at the particular below video that demonstrates the way the Colorshift feature is supposed to look upon different products:

  3. Test Memory Card : Final, but not least, is to actually check the memory card on your computer. This is the most significant step and if you are going to perform this, you can skip the first two, that test will quickly reveal if the memory you are dealing with is real or even fake. I typically start with a fast file copy test that does not need any particular software. Since many fake memory cards significantly underperform when compared to genuine ones, one can rapidly identify such cards by executing a file copy. 1st, make sure that you have a fast memory card audience. If you don’ t, the speed check will be completely pointless. Next, grab a large file from the computer (a 1-2 GB video clip file is ideal for this) and simply pull and drop it into the memory and observe the average write velocity:
    File Copy Windows

    If you don’ t get more compared to 10-20 MB/sec on a memory card that will promises up to 90 MB/sec compose speeds, you probably have a fake cards. Once the file is copied, consider copying it back from the memory card to find out what kinds of read speeds you get by it. Again, note differences in read rate.

    If your operating system will not actively report MB/sec on understand and write operations, you will need to make use of third party software. For example , on Mac pc, try Disk Speed Test simply by Blackmagicdesign . It does a decent work at reporting read / compose speeds, as shown below:

    Disk Speed Test BlackMagicDesign

    Just make sure to give it sufficient time for you to test sequential write speeds, given that memory cards don’ t excel with random write operations. If you use a PC, CrystalDiskMark is a wonderful piece of software to test read and write speeds on any storage space media.

    If you are concerned about your memory card reporting larger than the real capacity, the next test utilizing the free H2Testw tool is going to identify such cards. Please be aware that the test is going to take time – the tool must go through every sector as it writes data, it has to re-read and verify everything that information. So if you have a large capability memory card that is very slow, it might take hours to complete. Please note that if you are planning to perform this particular test, you can completely skip the velocity tests above, as the tool positively reports read and write rates of speed of the memory card.

    In my opinion, H2Testw is the best memory card screening tool out there. It is designed particularly to identify fake memory cards that will over-report their total storage. As the tool is designed to work for Windows, you may also run a similar tool called “ F3” on MacOS (F3X may be the GUI version). Unfortunately, after getting on a Mac, I couldn’ to get F3X to run on the newest MacOs Mojave, so I ended up obtaining F3, which is a command-prompt version from the software (for those who do not know how you can compile software on a Mac, I suggest to just find a Windows PC or even run Windows on a virtualized atmosphere and use H2Testw instead).

    Once you download and set up H2Testw, run it, then choose the right storage media volume plus click the “ Write + Verify” button:

    H2Testw Tool

    The software may fire up another window, which will execute all read and write functions. After everything is complete, the program will report on its results:

    H2Testw Write and Read

    If the memory card you are making use of is fake, it will report mistakes and show how much actual data had been written and read from the credit card. In the case above, I used an authentic 16 GB SanDisk Extreme Professional memory card that I retired a while ago so that as you can see, the software not only showed absolutely no errors, but also reported an average look at and write speed of seventy MB/sec. If you perform a similar ensure that you see errors, you are dealing with the fake or a failing memory card!

  4. The last test is the most important but it will surely reveal any problems you may have on any of your memory cards. Before you decide to put your memory cards to utilize, I would highly recommend to run this software program!

    5. Memory Card Buying Tips

    Let’ s sum up the content with the below memory card buying tips:

    • Replace memory credit cards once every few years to reduce possible failure.
    • Do not purchase used or refurbished memory credit cards.
    • Be careful about inexpensive memory cards. Often times, if the cost seems too good to be real, it usually is. When there is a great discount on memory cards, it will typically come from the manufacturer and affect most retailers that are authorized resellers. If you see a massive discount which is only listed on one website, it could be a scam. “ One-day” specials using a particular seller like Amazon usually show up on their front page since “ today’ s deals” and the ones can usually be trusted.
    • Order from trusted resources such as B& H Photo Video clip and Adorama. When buying from the reseller such as Amazon, NewEgg, Walmart, etc ., always make sure that the memory card comes and shipped by the same organization.
    • Always make sure to buy through an authorized seller.
    • Constantly inspect and test each memory to make sure that it is genuine.
    • If you bought a counterfeit product through an authorized seller, do your best to contact both seller and the manufacturer and inform them about what happened. This way, they can attempt to identify the source of the problem plus hopefully stop others from obtaining a fake product. Always make sure to designate that the product is fake when coming back it and asking for a repayment or exchange.

    If you would like to find out more about memory credit cards, please check out the articles below:

    I hope this short article helps in identifying fake memory credit cards and testing them. If you have any kind of questions or concerns, please let me know in the feedback section below!

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