Fake Nvidia GTX 660 boards appear in Germany

August 28, 2014 // 11:12 a.m.

Tags: #bios #fake #fermi #flash #geforce #graphics-card #gt-440 #gtx-660 #heise #kosatec #nvidia #point-of-view #reflash #vbios #video-bios

Fake graphics cards claiming to be a Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 boards but fitted with older Fermi-class GeForce GT 440 chips have turned up in Germany, fooling buyers with a fraction of the performance they should offer.

Fake electronics are a common sight on online auction houses and electronic retailers that allow third-parties to list goods for sale. The most common of these is modified flash storage devices, taking obsolete 2GB and smaller SD cards and modifying them to report 32GB or 64GB of available space to the system. Coupled with a freshly-printed label and branded packaging, the devices are entirely convincing - until, of course, the user tries to store more than the genuine storage capacity of the original flash device.

A scam uncovered by Heise goes a step further: reflashing older Nvidia graphics cards to pretend to be a more up-to-date model. Boards being sold via German wholesaler Kosatec as 'Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 4096MB Bulk' at knock-down prices have been found to be an OEM model of GeForce GT 440 with a modified video BIOS that fools the system into reporting a newer model of graphics card. While the driver read-out may indicate all is well, benchmarks show the real story: the site's testing revealed that the modified boards scored less than a quarter of a real GTX 660 in 3DMark.

The site reports that Kosatec claims to have purchased the boards directly and in good faith from Point of View, but serial numbers provided to the company did not match any products in the company's database. Point of View has further told Heise that it had nothing to do with the boards, with Kosatec still maintaining that it was the supplier of the fake cards. Nvidia, meanwhile, is said to be investigating the matter itself.

Those who have purchased the faked graphics boards, which at present appear to be restricted to German retailers, are advised to return them for a full refund citing Heise's research into the matter.

UPDATE
Heise and c't have received a statement from Point of View's managing director Bjorn Solli stating that the company has arranged for Kosatec to send the fake cards in for inspection and is 'investigating the matter to understand what happened, both internally and at the factory in China where the cards were produced.' All cards which are found to not meet expected specifications will be recalled, Solli added.
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