Buying the gadgets from eBay might be potentially rewarding, but it might be quite risky at the same time.
My case of buying an USB flash drive from eBay
I was considering already for a while to get an USB flash drive which I could keep it on my keys ring. In this case, I would never forget to bring to work or other places.
Well, assuming that I do not forget my keys too 😀 So, I analysed different options from well known brands, however I could not find anything with right design and performance, being (or at least looking) pretty robust and for reasonable price.
It looks that there is a certain level of the fraud on eBay which depends on the gadget type. USB flash drives are one of them 😉
You might experience yourself or at least read/heart, that somebody got an USB flash drive from eBay and after a while it appeared that it’s fake. If you would look into the amount of the articles, which Google results about the USB flash drive fraud on eBay, it is numerous.
Even know that, but I still decided to get a non-branded USB flash drive from eBay.
How USB flash fraud works
Some guys learnt pretty quickly that (wrongly) programming the USB flash controller chip can sky-rock their sales on eBay. That resulted in not small quantities of the USB drives with ‘increased’ capacity 😀
Normally, bigger capacity of the USB flash drives can be target of the fraud.
Nevertheless, smaller drives can be the target too.
If you get such USB drive,and you start to fill it with the data, the real cells would be used until you will be ‘switched’ to virtual and non-existing addresses. Everything looks quite OK until you re-plug the USB flash and realize that something is missing 😉
Steps to follow when you buy USB flash drive from eBay…
Here are steps which you could use to counter-fight the fraud when buying any electronic gadget on eBay:
- Don’t be in rush to leave a feedback
(well I saw that some eBay sellers try to related the warranty duration to the speed of leaving positive feedback)
- You have 30-days eBay money back warranty
Use it wisely! The 1st rule about not beeing in rush for leaving the feedback is still valid 😉
- Test it, test it and again test it!
Or at least check for the (potential) differences between your item and original one (if such exist)
Test your USB flash drive
So, you need perform at least couple tests in order to make sure that the capacity of the USB flash drive is real (of course, before leaving positive feedback).
Somehow, I came across this little program called ‘h2testw ‘, which does precisely what is needed. The USB should be empty before using it this program.
Here is the screenshot of the interface:
So, it detected that the USB flash drive is programmed to appear as 8GB.
Let’s check it! -> ‘Verify’ button
It will take a little bit (depends on the size of the USB flash drive)
At the same time, this program will test the speed of your USB flash drive for you. At the end, the program should produce something like this:
Test finished without errors. You can now delete the test files *.h2w or verify them again. Writing speed: 6.48 MByte/s Reading speed: 13.7 MByte/s H2testw v1.4
As you can see, the results presented here are in Byte/s, while the transfer speed is normally measured by bits/s. So, just multiply by x8:
write speed 6.48 MByte/s => 51.84Mbits/s read speed 13.7 MByte/s => 109.6Mbit/s
As for no-name USB flash, it is not too bad 🙂 Compared with CD-ROM/DVD-ROM reading speeds the speeds of this USB flash look really good.
Extract the ‘anatomy’ of this USB flash drive
I found a program USBFlashinfo on some Russian website.
Basically, it is Flash Drive Information Extractor 🙂
Well, it produces quite useful info. For instance, here:
Controller: Silicon Motion SM3257 ENLT Possible Memory Chip(s): SanDisk SDTNQFAMA-008G SanDisk SDZNQFAMA-008G SanDisk SDTNQGAMA-008G SanDisk SDYNQFAMA-008G SanDisk SDYNQGAMA-008G
It shows used flash memory type too 😉
Memory Type: MLC
Hope, both programs will help you avoid or counter-fight the USB flash drive fraud on eBay.
Enjoy your full capacity USB flash drive!