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How do you tell fake memory from the real deal?

Welsh distie calls for better guidance from vendors

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Welsh components distie Redstar Marketing is calling for clearer guidance from manufacturers on how to spot fake memory after inadvertently distributing a batch of counterfeit goods.

Redstar only became aware that a batch of memory it bought in early June was fake after some of it reached customers. Since then Redstar has been assisting Berkshire Trading Standards in recovering the counterfeit Micron and Hynix components.

There's no suggestion that there was any criminal intent to Redstar's actions in distributing the fake memory, which we understand were a one off.

But Hynix argues that spotting fake memory deals is not as difficult at Redstar suggests. Redstar disputes this assertion and is calling on manufacturers to do more.

Hynix Semiconductor Europe spokesperson Richard Lindo said that a 'bona fide' memory distributor should be capable of identifying counterfeit products via a number of factors, including the price of products and whether a manufacturers' normal product markings are present on memory.

"If dealers have any concerns about the provenance of products they should review and look further," Lindo told us. "Hynix would advise people in the channel to purchase from known reputable source rather than an ad hoc dealer."

James Turvey, Sales and Marketing Manager at Redstar Marketing, said that Hynix's advice was fine - up to a point - but failed to address some of the practical problems the channel faces in the memory market.

"Memory is a commodity which varies in price from day to day. If you're offered a competitive price, as opposed to overly aggressive price, then there's nothing in the nature of the transaction to tell you something is amiss," said Turvey.

"We bought from what we believed to be reputable source. This could have happened to any distributor."

"We're an innocent party. In our situation, we're listening to reps from maybe 20 or 30 companies trying to sell us product. It's very difficult to tell whether people are genuine or not," he added.

"Vendors like to keep this information close to their chest - because it could help counterfeiters make more realistic products. Nonetheless manufacturers need to provide clearer guidance and communication to the channel."

Redstar declined to specify the value or quantity of the counterfeit memory involved, but the company has issued a statement explaining its take on whole episode. ®

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