Ordered memory from Chinese ebay seller computex_tech

April 13, 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, I thought it time to attempt a ram boost in the VMWare server. This would be to give me more headroom to do some Windows 10 testing. My normal suppliers (Newegg and Amazon) either didn’t have the DDR2 memory or it was priced like gold. So I decided to gamble and make an ebay purchase. A Chinese seller named computex_tech (storefront Computex_ifixit) in specific. I’m going to relay my entire experience; realize your experiences may differ.

I made the order from this auction, selling ‘New Samsung DDR2 16GB AMD RAM 4X4GB PC2-6400 800 Mhz 240pin For AMD CPU Chipset‘. The purchase went smoothly and the ram arrived in about ten days, well within my expectations. So good so far.

FullListing

smallListing

IMG_5103_2015-04-03

I found some free time (not the easiest thing to do), suspended each of the running virtual machines, and powered down the host. I flipped the power switch off on the back of the machine, opened it up, and swapped out the existing 2GB sticks with the new ram. Then I powered it back up. I gave it a couple minutes, then attempted to connect with the vSphere client. Nothing. After several more attempts over a ten minute window, still no connection. Okay, time to pull the machine and take to my upstairs kvm to see what is going on.

I connected it to the kvm switch and powered up the PC, watching the output on the monitor. After an extended boot time, ESXi ‘purple screened’. I restarted and got the identical result again. Below shows the result.

Letting PC boot with Samsung memory

I powered down, swapped back in the original memory and took back to the basement. Powered back up so the media pool would be available to everyone again.

I contacted the seller. Over the course of the next week (he’d reply in the middle of the night due to the time difference) we each replied once a day. The first few replies were eliminating simple mistakes and were scripted (“What MB? It is only for AMD.” and “if XP, check 32 or 64 bits.”) (I could include the exchanges for humor’s sake but there is really no point.)

I finally found time, powered down, moved the machine back upstairs, and ran memtest. I stopped it at a little over two hours as that was all the evidence I needed.

Memtest_for_Samsung_memory

The memory was bad. Very bad. Errors were scattered across all 16GB meaning all four sticks of memory were bad. There was no way they could have tested this successfully, without errors, before shipping as they claimed. So I sent this information to them (along with the screenshot). They replied back that 667Mhz instead of 800 in the motherboard BIOS would cause these errors. Okay, the existing memory is 800 speed so I know the BIOS was showing 800, but I had no proof. So I shut it down, carted it upstairs for the third time, swapped the memory (I’m getting very quick with it at this point), and got to the BIOS screen. Lo and behold, it was showing 800 just as I knew. Screenshot and emailed info.

Samsung memory speed in BIOS

Quite obviously computex_tech has different Saturday (or was it Sunday?) employees than the rest of the week as their reply was gibberish.

Now they have offered to trade the memory, but I have found out that would cost more than the purchase price, even more than that if I want tracking. They suggested I just “stamps on it” but I would still need the very expensive tracking. I did some googling to see why China-to-USA was so much cheaper. Google ‘epacket ebay’ for some enjoyable reading. Basically our USPS service and the Chinese government are subsidizing sellers so they can dump cheap items into our country. It is set up so you can buy cheaply, but if you have to return a defective product, good luck. Buyer beware. This was a $51 lesson I’ve learned. They can send you absolutely defective product (like my four sticks) and know that you really can’t do much about it. Computex_tech knows this. I would not even attempt to return for replacement as if I was four-for-four in failed memory, I can only imagine the chances of getting good stock would be.

This post is meant to just give a headsup so you know what you might run into purchasing from Chinese auctions. You might get perfectly functioning product. But if you do not, realize you’ve thrown away good money. It will cost more to return (for refund or exchange) than you paid, so you’ll be stuck with a small pile of bad ram.

What a good memtest looks like
Below you will see what I got when I tested the GSkill memory that has been running 24×7 for the past five years. Perfection!!!

The original GSkill Memory from the last five years

The original GSkill Memory from the last five years


27 Responses to “Ordered memory from Chinese ebay seller computex_tech”

  1. Thank you for this information, i’m looking into these “AMD Only memory” and i’m skeptical, think i’m going to skip this type of memory.

  2. I would skip as well. If all four of my sticks were bad, I would be leery of any purchase. Hopefully this post has saved you a potential headache.

  3. I had a similar experience, no idea which seller. I didn’t memtest, but no combination of 1 to 4 of the sticks would work so I got a refund, they didn’t even ask for the ram back so I get the impression they knew it was problematic. I’m now searching for “ddr2 -amd” to avoid this rubbish.

  4. This seller would not give a refund without me shipping it back. It would have cost as much to ship it back as the original purchase price, and that didn’t include tracking. So I kept it and went this route.

  5. I bought the same 4x4GB Samsung DDR2 from another ebay seller for 32€. Full of errors running at 800 Mhz and the pc would not boot at 400 or 533. But at 667 Mhz they ran and they passed memtest without errors. Hope it helps someone.
    Cpu-z: http://i.imgur.com/SH7JBoS.jpg

  6. I bought the same exact stuff. Loaded with errors when using all 4 sticks. I’m in the process of testing them in pairs and singles now.

  7. Testing one stick at a time yielded no errors.
    Testing two sticks at a time yielded no errors.
    Three and four sticks yielded errors.

    Tested old set of 4 sticks yielded no errors.

    I have a feeling there may be compatibility issues with the memory controller or running at improper Mhz but my system doesn’t let me micro adjust those settings, only the voltage.

    Any voltage changes yielded errors with 3 and 4 sticks.

    I most likely will just use the two sticks and keep the other two as backups.

  8. Thanks for the update Dan. I needed all four sticks as replacements for the four existing, 2GB sticks, so I did not even go down the road of testing a stick at a time.

  9. Mike, here’s a few links you should read.

    Maybe those rams aren’t bad, but that it’s of another specs in terms of high density vs. low density, just like some card readers aren’t able to read some higher density SD cards while other card readers can. I have experienced it myself.

    I’m looking to buy 16 gigs too.

    http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/why-is-this-ddr2-amd-only.114684/

    In particular, read up on rickyticky

    This is an old thread, but there is a serious lack of concrete answers to this question…..so please read on before slam-dunking this post

    I too have come across ddr2 ram labelled as AMD….and there seems to be a lot of ambiguity about what works where….

    So a bit of research was the order of the day.

    See section 5 of this excellent article http://www.ocfreaks.com/ram-overclocking-guide-tutorial

    To summarize:

    1) An industry standard DDR2 module must ship with an SPD chip to be compliant. (SPD = serial presence detect)

    2) The SPD chip contains JEDEC information which identifies the RAM module to the PC bios .

    3) The SPD chip may also include additional information to help the BIOS configure optimal memory settings.

    4) Intel call this extra information XMP

    5) AMD call this extra information EPP

    6) If the PC bios cannot understand EPP or XMP is falls back to the JEDEC information.

    7) All PC bios systems can understand JEDEC, irrespective of what other config data is on the SPD chip.

    7) So, an industry standard DDR2 module could in theory contain JEDEC, XMP and EPP configuration data.

    8) Which means (in theory) any DDR2 PC bios can at least recognize the installed DDR2 module. (compatible ram timings or not)

    9) It is an entirely separate issue if the RAM module timing specs are incompatible.(i.e. CL4 RAM in a “CL6 only” PC)

    Example 1:

    I own an Intel PC that needs CL5 ram modules. I purchase an “AMD” CL5 ram module and install it. BIOS cannot read the AMD EPP info on the SPD but can recognize the CL5 timing info in the JEDEC data table. PC BIOS auto configures for the AMD ram module and boots normally.

    Example 2:

    I own an AMD PC that needs CL6 ram modules. I purchase an “INTEL” CL6 ram module and install it. BIOS cannot read the INTEL XMP info on the SPD but can recognize the CL6 timing info in JEDEC data table. PC BIOS auto configures for the AMD ram module and boots normally.

    Example 3:

    I own an INTEL PC that needs CL6 ram modules. I purchase an “AMD” CL4 ram module and install it. INTEL BIOS cannot read the AMD EPP info on the SPD but can recognize the CL4 timing info in JEDEC data table. PC BIOS recognizes module timings as incompatible and refuses to boot.

    I was researching this all damn nite, and found your blog. Thanks. Good thing I didn’t fall for it. I have an intel chip, and for sure, they would have shot me down. So question is, is there such a thing as memory for amd only given that if one’s motherboard allows you to tweak all 4 timings manually. Maybe you should try tweaking the timings manually instead of relying on auto. try 5-5-5-15. or 5-5-5-12. Did you check one stick at a time and see which is the bad one? If you found that some are bad and some are good, and since you have an AMD board, I would dispute it with Ebay. Ebay would send you a free shipping return label, or they refund you without you needing to ship it back since ebay have their Money Back Guarantee.

    Did you try upgrading the bios?

    One question i have is, if they are really selling bad rams, wouldn’t the guy have lots of negative reviews? I don’t see it.

    Here’s this guy’s refund policy:

    http://stores.ebay.com/Computex-ifixit-MemoryTech/return-policy.html#&panel1-1

    Clearly, you have a AM3 socket, and you got the right ram, so, it’s not your fault, so he should be sending you a return envelop.

    I mean, seriously, how does he maintain that number of positive reviews??

  10. I did not upgrade my BIOS. This is a vmware whitebox that ran perfectly for five years before trying this ram (and ever since putting back the original sticks). All four sticks showed as bad. My machine is AMD and that is what I got; they just were all rubbish.
    I have no idea how he is not showing a bunch of negatives. No idea at all. I tried ebay… I MUST send the memory back to the shipper AND prove the memory arrived. Read: Chu-ching! The seller knew exactly what he was doing. I would get one reply a day due to the time difference. For two weeks I went back and forth with this seller. Short of paying ridiculous amounts to ship it back, I went the other route. Eat the cost and try to warn others.

    Edit: I did some googling about ebay and defective products and found a lot of material. This one was particularly enlightening (http://budgetlightforum.com/node/37314) and worth sharing.

  11. Hey Mike, whatever the issue is, you saved me some money tonight:

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1810938

    Others are able to get their amd only DDR3 to work in amd but not on intel. it’s a damn shame!

  12. I came across this post when researching possibilities for purchasing DDR2 for an old PC. I have also been tempted at ebay purchase. However, much of it appear to be lower-speed modules relabel to a higher speed.

    For others being tempted at purchasing RAM on ebay. Make sure that the photo is not just for illustration purposes. Check the chip number and not the label on the module. It is easy to relabel a module and alter the SPD. I.e. making a DDR2-666 module appear to be a DDR2-800.

    Notice on your photo. The memory chips are Samsung K4T1G044QQ-HCE6. This is a DDR2-666 5-5-5 memory chip.

    The number should be K4T1G044QQ-HCE7 for DDR2-800 5-5-5, or -HCF7 for DDR2-800 6-6-6

    See this datasheet http://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/view/211291/SAMSUNG/K4T1G044QQ.html

  13. Thanks for the replies, Niels. Hopefully your posts will help someone else who stumbles upon this post. I did not try them at 666. A seller that is misrepresenting and changing the labels on their products, I would certainly question the quality of the ram itself.

  14. Clearly the module is either counterfeit or a relabeled DDR2-666

  15. This appears to be genuine. But the price is much higher. Notice the speed grade of the chips. They are marked HCF7

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-SAMSUNG-4GB-DDR2-PC2-6400-DDR2-800MHz-240pin-DIMM-Desktop-Memory-Low-Density-/171861263112?hash=item2803bac308:g:qK0AAOSw~gRVqIpU

  16. The auction title states Samsung and the photo shows a Samsung, but curiously the details list the brand as
    “Hynix”. Guess they can ship whatever they want and still say they shipped the correct product?

  17. The memory controller for DDR2 on the AM2+/AM3 cpus simply can’t handle four sticks at their rated speed — https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=amd+ddr2+limitation

    I too purchased this kit and had to drop them all the way down to 667 6-6-6-18 for a crash free 2+ hour run of Prime 95 torture test.

    However, with only two of the sticks. I managed to get them stable at 800 5-5-5-15 plus a 200MHz bump on the northbridge all for a measly extra 0.1V on the RAM.

  18. I have had four sticks of DDR2 800 running flawlessly at speed in that machine since Feb 2010. I’m not sure what those links are talking about.

  19. What capacities are they? Just curious.

  20. They are 2GB each (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122).

    It looks like the problem might have been related to just 1066 memory, not 800.

  21. Hello,

    here my experience about these cheap sticks.

    I’ve bought 4x4GB “micron chipped” rams from HK to fit my AMD mobo (gigabyte) that is certified for 4GB modules @800mhz for a total of 16GB.

    If I leave the bios settings in auto 4 memories together are not recognized at all (blank screen no signal).

    2 memories in the same channel (8gb total) leaving all in auto in the bios lets the OS startup but I received a lot ofo errors (IRQ, DMI, i/o memory error) and the system stops with a bsod after few minutes.

    I have lowered the mhz from bios to 667. I was able to run 3 memories together (12GB total) with no errors using SPD settings.

    I’ve lowered once again the memories mhz to 533 and now works with 16GB with no errors (seems to be really stable).

    I need to play with timings to find a “perfect” configuration. Now these sticks runs, smoothly, with 5-4-4-16 @533mhz.

    The problem should be in the fake SPD declared from the RAM themselves.
    Probably these rams are overclocked (runs with 1,95V instead of the declared 1,8v – and no cares the frequence youu set ’em).

    CL, just for example is not 6 as declared on the ad and on the stickers, but 5.

    Hope these infos can help someone that want to buy these cheap modules….

    ciao!

  22. Thanks for your observations. That info might indeed help someone down the road.

  23. Did anyone of you think about the load on the memory controller?
    Did you check the 4GB sticks individually?
    Did you change any of the settings neccessary to run 8 or more GBs of DDR2 in an old system?

    The RAM you’re talking about might all be good, but your motherboards’ memory controller cannot handle 16GB of DDR2 the way it can handle 4 or 8GB.

    For example, on an Intel P45 chipset you’d have to raise the memory controller voltage (in your case: Northbridge Volt Control) from 1.1v to 1.4v, relax the tREAD / tRD / Performance Level (raise to loosen timings, in “DRAM Configuration”) to 15. If you have set up your motherboard correctly, then you can be sure the motherboard is not causing instabilities.
    Note: The memory controller voltages and tRD values differ on an AMD system.

    My own old Intel PC runs fine with 2x2GB 1066mhz RAM and refuses to boot when I simply add a second identical 2x2GB 1066mhz set. The system won’t even POST and if it does, it’ll crash in Memtest in the first minute! I’d have to remove the second set of ram, set timings manually (higher memory controller voltage, loosen timings), reinstall the second set and voila – everything will work perfectly.
    On the other hand, some sets that are Memtest-checked in other PCs will not work in mine. If possible, check in a different system.

    Note about tREAD / Performance Level:
    The lower the value, the better the performance. Some motherboards fail to set this value properly and it could cause instabilities.
    My Intel system (overclocked Xeon CPU, 450mhz FSB):
    4GB will not function under tREAD value of ‘8’
    8GB will not function under tREAD value of ’10’
    If I was to install 16GB of DDR2, I’d probably start at ’15’ and start lowering it as much as I can.

  24. @MarcoGancio

    Wow I can’t believe you only just posted this today. That’s a bloody miracle. I bought the exact same cheap ‘Micron’ RAM.

    I can confirm that downclocking to 533 Mhz does in fact work and my system can see all 16 GB of RAM and seems to be stable. For now at least.

    I’m not too troubled by it, since I need the memory for virtual machines, and my HDD’s and Athlon II are probably bigger bottlenecks in this scenario. And for $20 I can’t complain if it remains stable. Its certainly better than the 4 GB I had originally.

  25. @demache

    glad to helped you.
    I’ve posted this info only these days just because I bought ’em for curiosity and memories arrived at the begin of this june.
    Before these sticks I had 4 genuine Kingston (4x2GB @800mhz) that worked for years without any problems with JDEC default values.
    I am now curious to bench my system to see if some timings or data transfers are better than before but I guess that the old configuration @800 mhz was a bit faster (I need to have more time to test).

    Just for your knowledge: I have lowered timings and without any problem I can set the 16GB configuration at 533mhz with these settings:

    CL: 3
    tRCD: 4
    tRP: 4
    tRAS: 11
    tRC: 16
    CR: 2T

    FSB:DRAM is now 3:4
    voltage (I cannot decrease it in the bios so the mobo/controller works in overvoltage/overclock) is 1.952 V

    ciao!

  26. You guys might be interested on my experience with those AMD only memory.

    I made two purchases, 2Gx4 (8G) and 4Gx4 (16G). I have two AMD motherboards, MSI 790XT-G45 (790 chipset), ASUS M4A78-EM (785 chipset).

    2Gx4 worked on both motherboard, running at 800MHz, BIOS memory setting at AUTO. Memorytest for two hours, all pass.

    4Gx4 didn’t work on both motherboard when I set BIOS to Auto.

    4G memory at slot 1 and 2, 2G at slot 3 & 4, total 12GB. Using this configruation, running at 800MHz, BIOS memory setting at AUTO. Memorytest for two hours, all pass.

    Same momory, but swapped places, 4G memory at slot 3 and 4, 2G at slot 1 & 2, total 12GB, running at 800MHz, BIOS memory setting at AUTO. Memorytest failed.

    Removed 2G memory, 4G at slot 1 & 2, slot 3 & 4 empty, passed.
    Removed 2G memory, 4G at slot 3 & 4, slot 1 & 2 empty, failed.

    Both motherboards behaved the same.

    From above experiments, I could conclude that it was not a memory problem, but a memory controller issue.

  27. Follow up on my last post.

    Installed 4Gx4 at slot 1-4. BIOS memory setting to AUTO, change memory ratio to 1:1.66, 667MHz. Ran MemoryTest, all Passed.

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