Fake Samsung SSDs Found at Etailer, Then Benchmarked

The adage about some things being too good to be true never gets old, as demonstrated by TechTuber Roman ‘der8auer’ Hartung in his latest video. The extreme overclocking expert was alerted by a friendly subscriber about some very attractively priced Samsung branded 4TB SSDs on the AliExpress marketplace. To cut a long story short, as you can see from the video title below, these drives were fake.

Der8auer’s skepticism with regard to these AliExpress advertized SSDs being genuine was not just aroused by the incredible pricing — this particular ‘Samsung’ 4TB SSD was €40 (about $44). Another warning about whether this was a genuine product came from the model name/number. The ‘Samsung 980 EVO’ doesn’t even exist in Samsung’s product catalogs, never mind a 4TB version.

Pondering over the packaging, many other blunders or inconsistencies from the knock-off makers were apparent. On the front of the ‘Samsung 980 EVO’ we see a single-keyed M.2 device, which should be an NVMe device, however, the advertised transfer speeds would have tallied with an M.2 SATA device. Indeed, unpackaging the drive showed it was M.2 SATA. On the rear of the packaging was a mishmash of copied slogans, terms, and warranty promises.

(Image credit: der8auer)

After unboxing, der8auer continued his visual inspection, raising various peculiar flags for a ‘Samsung’ drive. Peeling the sticker showed that whoever put together this M.2 device erased any identifying markings off the SSD controller chip. Despite being able to read some code numbers on the flash NAND chips, of which there were just two (on this single-sided SSD), der8auer couldn’t find any technical information about them.

Moving onto testing, der8auer decided to put his new ‘Samsung 980 EVO 4TB’ drive through some system info and benchmarking tools. Upon connecting the M.2 device, Windows showed it as a 3.72 TB free volume. CrystalDisk Info agreed with this initial assessment, and the info fields were fully populated.

(Image credit: der8auer)

Der8auer’s attempt to verify the capacity of the new SSD hit a practical roadblock when it became apparent that completing this process would take at least 24 hours. Yes, it started to go very slowly after an initial burst of speed. Switching to the same tool’s benchmarking tab showed why any capacity verification task would be “painful and slow,” with sequential read and write speeds of 36.25 MB/s and 0.84 MB/s, respectively. It is hard to find such slow flash storage nowadays, so this is kind of a negative achievement.

Other Storage Products Which You Should Definitely Avoid

As a footnote, der8auer noticed some other irresistible SSDs while browsing for the headlining ‘Samsung 980 EVO 4TB’. He couldn’t stop himself from adding the following to his basket:

  • An external ‘Seagate’ SSD with an advertized 64TB capacity,
  • A similar ‘Seagate’ external SSD with an incredible 128TB claimed capacity,
  • And another M.2 drive, this time claimed to be a ‘Samsung 980 PRO 4TB’ (a Samsung SKU which isn’t shipping yet).

(Image credit: der8auer)

The above bullet-pointed external drives were found to contain a small PCB with 64GB microSD cards glued into a socket. However, the purported Samsung 980 PRO 4TB (€50) offered an almost acceptable performance of 2,473 MB/s reads and 1,057 MB/s writes until the lack of cache became apparent. Again, the capacity (4TB in this case) was faked. Moreover, the so-called 980 PRO 4TB was probably “best case 1TB” in capacity, said der8auer.