Fake Graphics Cards And How To Fix Them

When shopping online, there’s plenty of great deals out there on modern graphics hardware. Of course, if you’re like [Dawid] and bought a GTX1050 Ti for $48 from Wish, you probably suspect it’s too good to be true. Of course, you’d be correct.

[Dawid] notes from the outset that the packaging the card ships in is unusual. While it’s covered in NVIDIA and GeForce branding, there’s no note of the model number or even the overarching series. The card is loosely packed in bubblewrap, free to bounce around in transit. Upon installation, the card reports itself as a GTX1050 Ti, but refuses to properly work with NVIDIA drivers and routinely causes a Blue Screen of Death.

Upon disassembly, it becomes apparent that the card is merely a poorly manufactured GTS450 Revision 2, over five generations older than the card it was advertised as. Thanks to the mismatch between the actual hardware and what the card reports as, the drivers are unable to properly work with the card.

For those that have been scammed, there is some hope. [Phil] has had experience with several of these cards, which similarly misreport their actual hardware. To correct this, the cards need to have their BIOS flashed to reflect reality, but the fake cards don’t work with NVIDIA’s NVFlash tool. Instead, they must be flashed manually using an EEPROM programmer. Once the cards are flashed with an appropriate BIOS, they can be used with the proper drivers and will function properly, albeit with much less performance than was advertised.

It’s an interesting insight into the state of online shopping platforms, and the old adage remains true – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Plus, hacking GPUs can often have great results. Video after the break.

48 thoughts on “Fake Graphics Cards And How To Fix Them

      1. I totally agree. The “fix” for this is filing a dispute with the seller. If more people did that than screwed around with “fixing” them, that would drive the shady sellers out of business, and the market would be better for everyone.

        1. The shady sellers profit even if they have to pay you back.

          It’s no different from “cashbacks” where the company essentially borrows money from a whole bunch of customers at zero interest. That money is used for overnight trading, and as a bonus they’re also dumping their unwanted inventory on you to avoid paying for disposal.

          All the products that failed QA are essentially shipped overseas at any excuse, because the shipping for export-only companies is subsidized by the state in China, and the delivery is subsidized by the international postal agreements, so it costs virtually nothing to them.

          They just get to keep your money for the time it takes you to file the complaint, plus the people who never file complaints. That keeps the fake sellers’ bank accounts in the positive and that then enables them to do other business like stock trading, or raising credit, or selling “disposal” services which means other companies selling them their faulty products to be shipped overseas for profit.

        2. i agree with:
          reg @:
          August 2, 2019 at 4:34 am

          This is a disgusting way of business even worse is that in this day and age, its STILL going on…

          People who are first getting into computers and wanting to ‘build their own’ would get more hurt from these shady sellers than anyone else me thinks and may even dishearten them in creating their own custom systems…

          LOL @ BastetFurry says:
          August 2, 2019 at 3:49 am @ Free Graphics Card haha

          Still… This is such a bad practice, we should try to do as much as we can to discourage shady sellers mis-representing tech like this, i know i will….

          Just imagine This text includes a long list of swear-words directed at shady-sellers lol

      2. *maybe* I ordered the cheapest 640*480 projector I could find to test out a project idea, it arrive and it was actually 340×240 and I sent all my documentation in for a refund, or at least half, and they denied because they couldn’t understand the difference

        1. @ Erik Johnson says:
          August 2, 2019 at 6:43 am

          Please DONT Let this one go – you can STILL open a case and speak to someone else to re-look into it, like a second-opinion through AliExpress’s customer service, try to use live chat and go into the converation as if your not leaving without a full refund or replacement and offer to give the projector back too, that will work in your favor.

          Thats just horrible way to treat customers, especially if one has been buying from Aliexpress for years aka a loyal customer…..

          Please, Dont let it go.

    1. No, 8GB Radeon cards on eBay all the time for 100$+, not used either but “open box” as in they came with machines and were pulled from them and sold;, bought two successfully this far for mining.

    1. I have seen many many reviews of Wish items being fake. I cannot understand how they can continue to function. Any other retailer would have been fined/sued out of existence. The only way I see they survive is the products are so short lived and every visitor seems to get a completely different set of products. Fly-By-Night to the extreme.

    2. Wish actually sells very cheap solder if you need some. Bought a spool of 100 g 60/40 0.5 comm rosinr core solder for like 2$. Just took a month to arrive but still a great deal.

      1. Have you checked to see if it is radioactive? Hey, you never know. But seriously, it may contain other dangerous materials that you could be exposed to while soldering.

        1. Why would anyone bother to use expensive radioactive material in their products? Also, do you really think customs wouldn’t catch possibly deadly radioactive material? In the US at least, they check for that stuff.

    3. In exchange for signing up (I’m going to give some of their terminal blocks a try, it’s kind of hard to screw THOSE up…), I got a USB-A to USB-C cable with a right angle connector.

      It at least seems to charge non-PD devices at sane rates and hasn’t blown anything up, and right-angle USB-C cables are RARE.

      1. “right-angle USB-C cables are RARE”

        Sarcasm or are they actually rare where you live? Not trying to play the “everything’s better in Japan” card that was never accurate to begin with, but here they are on the shelves in 100 yen shops.

  1. Here’s why I hate ordering anything not brand spanking “new” from secondhand sellers off Amazon: I remember when I bought a GPU off Amazon a few years ago, the seller sent the GPU in a box that was NOT for the listed GPU! Also, on top of that, the GPU in the box that was not for the listing was a separate GPU than either the GPU in the listing or labeled on the opened box! PLUS the GPU was in no way like the condition described and because of how loose and falling apart the GPU components were and how much dust was in the GPU (on top of it being completely uncared for), I would wager the GPU had been through at least 3 or 4 years of heavy use in the dustiest and moistest room in the world!

    1. That reminded me of a win that I had. This chronic dude with money kept going through GPU’s. Said he was cursed. He gave me a broken one for free. The thing reeked badly of cigarette smoke and marijuana. The vents were caked with this oily dust/nicotine/THC layer that had the consitency of gooey tar. The fan was completely dead. I bought a new fan, and did careful surgery removing all tar I could. The card then worked perfectly fine, but the computer gave off the rankest smell for months as all the volatiles baked off. It’s still running.

    2. I bought a 1080TI on Ebay with great success. Got a good deal, arrived fast for where it came from and was in original packaging and antistatic bags and couldn’t even tell it had ever been used except for the marks on the PCIe connector that revealed it had in fact been plugged in. Got it for 600 dollars, which at the time was about 100 dollars less than most other used 1080ti’s went for and 200 dollars below what i had to pay for a used one locally. This was in December, and in europe most 1080ti’s still go for about 550-600 dollars from more sketchy countries and for the cheaper brands.
      Just saying that all used GPUs aren’t like that

  2. I don’t bother with wish, but I buy plenty from fleaBay and olliexpress. And I don’t hesitate to file a complaint if something is not what it claims to be. Most recently I got my money back on a bunch of LED floodlights which were supposed be 20 watt but were actually 5, and some flicker bulbs that didn’t flicker. I’ve started watching for things that appear fake knowing that I can probably end up getting them for free.

      1. It is when you get about 50 rechargeable AA batteries with incorrect capacities. They aren’t good enough to be used in heavy drain items as was originally planned but they are great for TV remotes and such. Once I found out the seller was deliberately selling mislabeled batteries (the too cheap slogan applies here), I went and bought a whole bunch of them, ran them through a test to make sure I wasn’t lying, and then filed complaints. Boom. Free batteries.

      2. It depends.
        In this case, if you need a 5W LED floodlight and buy a 20W one knowing that it won’t be, then you can get the 5W that you need for free.
        Althought if it was 20W, then you get something bigger than what you need.

    1. I consistently get wholesale prices from china. once you get to recognize their style its much easier to see the wholesalers vs the scammers. Maybe once every 25 orders i have a problem that quickly gets covered. The worst expereince yet, was an ebay listing for a bench psu for 20 $. Now they sale for 39 all the time on sale so I knew when i did it i was gonna be loaning them 20 $ for 3 months. The problem was as soon as i sent the payment for it ebay scortched earth his account, all his listings, and all his datum of his store. The bottom line when I pushed thru the refund it said it refunded me 20 $ but no card ever got the 20$. Its gone. You will get burnt but when you do the math even with those included you will come out ahead if you use some common sense buying low priced stuff. Most places show the volume of the seller. Sometimes new sellers will give amazing deals to secure their first sales.

      i dont touch wish but fleabay, ali, banggood , all the usual sources are full of actual sellers of the same stuff you will eventually find resold in us stores for 9 times the cost. It will be interesting to see how trumps tarrifs and stuff work out for us.

  3. I want to see an article on how to properly fix fake SD cards so they report their actual capacity. Not some lame workaround with creating a smaller partition. The fakers can program them, why can’t we change that to set them right?

    1. Same as a usb drive, with the factory utility to configure the onboard controller. But really, the best would be to trash them. These fake cards will decide to crap out just seconds after you store the only copy of that very important file in them.

    2. Flashboot.ru for USB stick programming tools. SD card tools are harder to find, but searching the controller name on the Chinese internet usually works. Often in forum threads on how to fake the capacity.

    3. use fakeflashtest or h2testw to check the real capacity, then use gparted to create a partition smaller than that.
      For example if h2testw says that your 128gb micro sd from china is actually a 8GB micro sd, make a gparted partition of 7,5GB and you will be able to use that flash drive/micro sd card without loss of data due to overwriting.

  4. Hi Great video regarding the fake cards, I have also been duped and bought a fake “GTX 970 4GB memory” it has a GF116-400-A1 chip with 1gb of Elpida gddr5 memory. I checked it with GPU-Z then complained to Cdiscount (French eBay / Amazon) type online retailer, got full refund but was told by seller that it was genuine but must be faulty. I made a backup using GPU-Z then downloaded NV-Flash. Tried a few commands just to try and read the information from the BIOS including trying to save the BIOS to a file. Never used this utility before should I have disabled the card in settings before trying to save as when I tried it the PC video failed all I could do was power off the PC then it failed to restart had to use Windows 10 offline fix tool to get it to work again. I have ordered the USB BIOS flash tool with a connector, but it has not arrived.
    I have 2 questions
    1, I have looked at many documents on the net but cannot get an exact match for the card I have bought, I thought that it is most similar to GTX550 ti but there is no PCI-E power connector. So any idea’s about the card’s real identity
    2, When I get the USB BIOS flasher where can I get a suitable BIOS from.

    1. Hello Pal, unfortunately I was caught by chinese scammers too. It was supposed to be GTX960 but the real specs are exactly as yours… Did you manage to get the right BIOS to your GPU? I´ve done some research and it looks like it´s a KFA2 GTX550ti but that missing PCI-E power connector is still a mistery… I don´t have a BIOS programmer tool to re-flash it, I´ll try to find someone to do that to me. Will try this one:
      Thanks and best regard, Tamber (Brazil)

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