Investigating fake Intel i350 network adapters

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Real or fake Intel i350
Real or fake Intel i350

Recently a forum member neo posted what could be one of the coolest posts of the year: Comparison: Intel i350-T4 Genuine vs Fake. The post takes a look at a genuine Intel i350-t4 purchased from Dell and compares it to a counterfeit adapter purchased from a Chinese seller.

Can you spot the fake?

Real or fake Intel i350
Real or fake Intel i350

While at first the counterfeit cards may work, many users are reporting in that thread that the counterfeit cards are failing early. As an anecdote, we purchased two of these knock-off Intel adapters about eight months ago and both have run into issues. That compares to zero issues with the Intel OEM cards (population is probably on the order of 100 genuine cards.)

Why are people buying counterfeit cards? They cost around $60 each versus the standard cards that can cost upwards of $300. This is not a small problem. In the thread users are reporting purchasing through both ebay and third parties being fulfilled through Amazon.com. Other sites like Alibaba have dozens of listings for similar cards. What we can see is a few of the latest ebay listings and some of the totals (as of this writing as the numbers are increasing):

Just those three examples show over 1000 cards sold.

If you want a great read, check the Comparison: Intel i350-T4 Genuine vs Fake thread in the STH forums. Individual components are compared between the cards sourced from both Dell and ebay. It is amazing how close the less durable cards look to the originals. Anyone that purchases these cards should take a close look so they can spot fakes. Users are reporting that they are coming with Intel driver CDs and everything to make them look legitimate.

We did contact Intel about this matter but have not received a response to date.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Who cares, considering how cheap they are, just buy a few spares and replace them if they fail after a year. We have a dozen of these Winyao T4 running 24/7 for over 2 years, still works.

    When we bought the cards we also wondered who Winyao was, turned out it was some 10 years old Chinese company, seems legit, so they probably got some Intel license in China or something, don’t care really, if it works then it works, almost everything else in the system is made in China anyway.

    Found this on Reddit:
    reddit.com/r/homelab/comments/2xmqrc/ebay_i350t4_for_68_thoughts/]Ebay i350-T4 for $68, thoughts?

    [–]just_insaneProxmox 3 points 7 months ago
    I just bought one of these a couple months ago on eBay. Shipping was fast from China, and I haven’t had any problems with it! Plug and play on ESXI 5.5. All 4 ports are gigabit, everything works like it should as far as is know.

    [–]thefoolishking 1 point 7 months ago
    Thanks for asking this question. I took the plunge a few weeks ago and have been waiting for my 350 card for an esxi whitebox. Good to know they function well.

    [–]rodeli[S] 1 point 7 months ago
    Let me know how it works out for you. I’m thinking of just ordering one. The rewards are worth the risk. If it doesn’t work properly I can always just contact ebay/paypal.

    Looks like everyone else is using them.

  2. Well I personally rather buy those “fake” quad i350 for around 120 usd, because in my country the Genuine ones costo around 500 usd. So for home usage it is working fine so far 6 months 24/7.

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