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Hardware Technology

Counterfeit DFI Motherboards Surface In Indonesia 216

Posted by kdawson
from the wonder-whose-chips-those-are dept.
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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Counterfeit DFI Motherboards Surface In Indonesia

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  • Prejudice? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:06AM (#23075090) Homepage Journal
    The crazy Chinese have done it again

    Neither article presents proof (or even speculation) as to the origins of the fakes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      yes its clearly racist.
    • The Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amasiancrasian (1132031) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:59AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by amasiancrasian (1132031) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @07:04AM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by aurispector (530273) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @07:52AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by McGiraf (196030) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @08:19AM (#23075822) Homepage
            "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 ...
            • Which rules?

              USA rules - Strict IP with Software Patents

              European Rules - Fairly strict IP without Software patents

              UN Rules - Strict IP without patents but respecting counties Patent systems

              China has a huge cheap workforce so IP is largely irrelevant to them at this stage (as it was in Japan when they ignored IP rights, now they have their own IP to protect and an expensive workforce they enforce other countries IP)
          • 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.

            Remember the golden rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules.

            In a Chinese world, these are the new rules, and all of us in the West had better get used to it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Rules? what rules? our rules? their rules?

            The rule of the majority?

            The rule of might makes right?

            The rule of he who has the gold makes the rules?

            They don't have to play by 'our' rules at all if they don't want to. And the rest of the world can't make them.

            Just because we pressured alot of other countries into playing by our set of rules. Don't think for a second you can do the same to china. They have the population and resources to make their own rules. and force US to play by them.

            They make all our s
        • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @08:45AM (#23076024) Journal
          If you buy a knock-off you won't have access to all that great customer support that always comes from hardware vendors!
    • The world belongs to technically competent madmen and their madames.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:10AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordVader717 (888547)
      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.
      • by gutnor (872759)
        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.
        • In which case the user would clearly notice a difference in the specs given and the performance, the drivers and support. Generaly the kind of customer to buy a computer motherboard isn't the kind that you can sell cheap knock-offs to.
      • by Amouth (879122)
        i find it all kinda crazy when they loose sight..

        anyone remember the outfit that completely copied NEC? to the point where they started developing their own products with their own inovation, not just ripping off NEC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.

    • by Freexe (717562) <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:37AM (#23075204) Homepage
      > 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.
    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:44AM (#23075232) Homepage Journal
      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.
      • by Bert64 (520050)
        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/cod
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          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

          • by Bert64 (520050)
            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
            • Great idea, but not one you'd ever get past the baseball / football / soccer / <insert sport here> lobbies.

              How else do you think the multi-million dollar salaries for overgrown rounders players are funded?

              No marketing => little or no professional sport.

              Not to mention the revenue streams of the media, Google, etc. etc.

              You're especially right about the designer clothes, though - as far as I'm concerned anything that puts the designers' noses out of joint is a Good Thing(TM).

            • What I would like to see is a compulsory labeling of the Original Manufacturer, the same as we have for country of origin. With counterfeits the customer is deceived. But the widespread rebranding of products is also a case of consumer deception. Customers are misled over who makes the product.
      • by pla (258480)
        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 a
        • by jotok (728554)
          I'd give it more than 50 years. We still have South America and Africa to exploit (this time, with feeling!), and after another couple decades of the economy tanking, the US will itself be colonized, don't you think? Just because the bourgeoisie are no longer Westerners doesn't mean the system is going to change radically.

          Also, "name" branding does have value. As with the appearance of the clothing itself and estimation of its "quality," it has a rather arbitrary value. With some goods the brand maps ra
        • 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.

          Ish. I'm sitting at my desk dressed head to toe in designer clothes [rapha.cc]. It's expensive. But the brand sponsor a team [britishcycling.org.uk] in a sport I support, and not being a mainstream sport, it needs all the sponsors it can get.

          The reasons for buying a particular brand are not necessarily simply to do with what you get for your money.

    • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:56AM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by luke2063 (1137533)

        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...
      • by JonathanR (852748)

        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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Icarium (1109647)

      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 pu

      • by jamar0303 (896820)
        I then have to say "maybe if you weren't trying so hard to cut costs...". There's a risk involved in outsourcing production; a risk that people will take your product, copy it, and you can't do anything about it because of a lack of means of enforcement.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by apodyopsis (1048476)
      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 sm
      • 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 gen

      • by Comboman (895500)
        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.

        Firstly, I doubt that replacement auto parts form any significant percentage of

      • This is precisely what Japan was doing some years ago (to kick start their economy) it's when "Made in Japan" was synonymous with cheap rubbish and fakes, they slowly pulled their economy up until it is now producing state of the art originals and leading the market in many fields

        China is just getting going but will probably take longer since it has a larger pool of cheap labour ...
    • by zakezuke (229119) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @07:04AM (#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.

      • by SharpFang (651121)
        That is all assuming these boards come from a 3rd party that has nothing in common with the manufacturer of the originals.

        The boards don't have to be sub-par. They might be substandard, as in 'failed to pass one of Q/A tests'. Or they may be run-off-the-mill standard devices, made at night on the same line as the originals.

        They will run on exactly the same drivers as the originals.

        You will replace your $150 motherboard in 2-3 years. That's about as long as your $30 one would serve you.

        We're not in an era wh
        • Just out of curiosity, since you mentioned factory rejects being sold on local markets: In which country do you live?
    • 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 wage
      • 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.
    • by arivanov (12034)
      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 lo
    • by DrXym (126579)
      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 i

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Firethorn (177587)

      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 differenti

    • by jonnythan (79727)
      It's not about "proper distribution channels."

      If the product is produced on the same production line but carted off and sold without the client's knowledge, it's tantamount to theft. It's a direct contract violation.

      It's not like it would be actual DFI motherboards that DFI sold or shipped to someone. These aren't gray market motherboards. They're illegally produced and sold without DFI's knowledge by a factory who violated their contract to produce boards to DFI's spec without their knowledge or consent.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      You know that "These are the same as the real deal, we just swiped them from the factory that makes them off the books" line is an ancient con, right? When my Dad was stationed in Korea back in the 80's, they made a bunch of stuff there too (like Nikes). And so the street counterfeiters would use that "we get these from the same factory" line to sell their crap to American GI's. But their stuff wasn't the same. They were cheap knockoffs designed to LOOK like the real thing. My Dad fell for it and sent me a
  • Well great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:12AM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by malinha (1273344)
      Look for the "Vista capable" logo!?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zakezuke (229119)

      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

    • 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 le
  • by Confused (34234) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:14AM (#23075114) Homepage
    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.
    • 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 inf
    • Now when you have a problem, the "tech support" at DFIStreet can tell you it's your power supply *and* that you have a counterfeit board, instead of admitting that DFI turns out shit product that doesn't go through QA.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      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.
  • by Britz (170620) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:36AM (#23075200) Homepage
    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).

    • by Mikkeles (698461)
      '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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696)
      airplane spare parts,

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

    • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @08:43AM (#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? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NaCh0 (6124)
    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.

    • 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

  • and? (Score:3, Informative)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @06:45AM (#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]
    • by dintech (998802)
      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?
      • 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.
      • by earthman (12244)
        It appears to contain only a simple switch instead of any circuit breaker.
    • Yet, my understanding is, they do not copy their own stuff. If a company has developed something original there, other companies will be blocked from copying it by enforcement of copyrights and patents. If the Chinese gov. applied the same laws everywhere I would be a lot more ok with it. But the lack of same application of the law is obviously designed to encourage local theft of western companies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by apodyopsis (1048476)
        Not from what I saw out there. They shamelessly ripped each other off with the same abandon as they did the western world.

        There was 1 difference though - the west was a easier target because the margins were so much better. It is the normal to see us ripped off left, right and center but there is less economic incentive for them to rip each other off.

        There is one point worth making though - they fully understand IP law (and find it hilarious), and they use it against the western world. They have creat
  • *holds up Asus EeePc 701 and reads the label* "Made in China"

    Ditto for Gigabyte motherboards.
    • Yeah, but the others are also made in China. The real reason that they are not counterfeited is because the companies are not Chinese. The fastest way to be ripped off is to be a western company and move your manufacturing to china. And supposedly, the Chinese gov. will fund the new start-up that does it.
  • How about an anology (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spasticfantastic (1118431) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @07:37AM (#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?
    • by technos (73414)
      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!"
    • 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. Cou
      • by technos (73414)
        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.
    • The "left over" silver was clearly stolen (unless it's a normal part of contracts like these that such material becomes the property of the silversmith). The harder question is the design that was used, but again it comes down to the contract: if he was handed a design and then used it later without proper license, he's stealing the IP (if you'll allow such an argument here; if you won't, then you might not even accept the notion of a counterfeit board in the first place). If he composed his own design, t

      • The "left over" silver was clearly stolen (unless it's a normal part of contracts like these that such material becomes the property of the silversmith).

        It also depends on whether the smith was responsible for buying it, or the company that bought the contract. At least in the machine shop world, which I'm a bit more familiar, the machine shop often handles their own materials purchases.
    • It's an interesting argument, and somewhat applicable, but in another way, it's not.

      That's because jewelry really doesn't need support, and in your example, they know the original silversmith. But electronics, should it fail, you'll want it fixed, or you'll want BIOS or driver updates. The real drivers might or might not work.
  • by Edzilla2000 (1261030) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @07:59AM (#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.
  • 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. B
    • I read this quote a few days ago...

      In the 1980s, Capitalism defeated Communism, in the 1990s it defeated Democracy...
      • 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 allo
  • I think a bigger question this begs is what if this isn't limited to motherboards? Remember the lead paint issue? And the tainted food? Once we started looking we found those problems went much deeper than the original discovery.

    The potential is massive. Think of all the embedded systems manufactured overseas...flight control, car computers, radar, medical diagnostics. It's a really long list.

    To me this is the real potential downside of outsourcing our manufacturing: Losing control of the QA/QC cha

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