Beware when buying nVidia GPU cards

Like the article says.

GTX 660 and 650 cards have turned up that had a real nVidia chip (which was also confirmed by nVidia), but it turned out to be old Fermi-generation leftover stock chips, with less than 1/4 of the performance of the real GTX660/650 cards.

nVidia has refused to give further information about this, even though they have confirmed that they've tracked the chips to their own production.

The cards were branded Zotac, the wholeseller that put them into circulation claimed that they had been bought from Point-of-View, but Point-of-View doesn't recognise the SKU's or the serial numbers and claims not having produced the cards.

It's seriously smelly business this. A GPU card, even from 2010, can't just be produced by any old Chinese sweatshop. Specialized production lines are required. In that regard, it's very strange that nVidia refuses to comment further on these cards, except for the confirmation that the GPU chips themselves are nVidia leftover stock.

The BIOS has been tampered with to make believe that these cards are in fact GTX660/650 cards, and as nVidia hasn't been adding new features or different drivers since 2010, unknowledgeable users might not be able to detect that they have been screwed.

In case of doubt, it's easy to check if the card is genuinely what you've paid a lot of money for: if you type lspci, you'll see the vendor string. If this is "0000" instead of "nVidia", you know that there is a problem. You can also see the chip identifier string in the output of glxinfo (you need mesa-utils for this).

wow that's nuts. so sketchy

well its nothing new. NV been doing that since 500 series... even today 680's are exact same gpus as 770's...

They lost a lot of money since 400 series as their process of creating lower tier gpu's (was cutting waffle) making them waste 1/5 of this or so as i remember... they've been doing this ever since.

This wasn't Nvidia doing this, though. It was a third party that produced bulk amounts of counterfeit GPUs with much lower specs than the original card and not Nvidia re-branding old GPUs.

If go on like aliexpress you will find these all over the place.

oh my. I'm using a zotac card. hope its no counterfeit. 

I think you aren't really getting the original post.

+1 good looking out!

I'm just surprised they tried to get away with this in Germany of all places. Unless they also had some smaller store chain in on the scam, they would surely be found out pretty fast. But perhaps that will also prove to have been the case. 4GB is a wierd amount of ram to stick onto a 660 too...

The plot thickens. Apparently, the wholeseller has submitted conclusive proof (bills, photos of the delivery cartons) that the cards were supplied by nVidia product partner Point-of-View, a Dutch company that produces official nVidia cards in China.

Point-of-View has apparently reacted towards the Heise redaction by a threat, demanding that they would not be mentioned in relation to this matter any further. Of course, Heise, the publisher of c't Magazine, the largest computer related press entity in Continental Europe, is not impressed by Point-of-View, and have reacted by publishing the proof that was provided by the German wholeseller.

This is a very nasty incident, and I can imagine that nVidia is not amused...

man fuck nvidia. dirty fucking greedy money grubbers

Probably someone in China turning a profit. China has been doing shady business for a very long time now. Prisoners aren't just stamping out license plates in that country. Surprised the tek didn't say anything on the matter when they visited that plant in China. From what I remember Logan only talked about the slowdown of the building boom. I was slightely dissappointed but I suppose I don't know enough to form a solid opinion either way. Censorship and propaganda make things too damn confusing.

AMD is over here like Oprah, YOU GET A 290! YOU GET A 290! YOU GET A 290! YOU ALL GET A 290!!!

Yeah I wish I was at the 30th anniversary.. everybody got a free 290.  

What ? where was that ?

I WANNA 290 :=D

AMD streamed their 30th anniversary a week ago. Part 2 everybody got a 290.


It's always the one that screams the loudest that he's innocent, right...

Point-of-View said that the article number wasn't known by them, yet the Heise redaction has found out that the same cards with the same article numbers are also listed as Point-of-View cards.

All traces lead to the Dutch Point-of-View, not to China, not to nVidia. Point-of-View is a hardware partner of nVidia that makes a lot of nVidia cards, and that makes sense, because you really need a specialized production line and pretty detailed technical information from the GPU chip manufacturer to make such cards, it's not something that any Chinese board bakery can do.


This kind of thing has happened with AMD cards years ago also. AMD reacted by putting forward strict rules for hardware partners. For instance, every AMD chip has a unique trace code inside the chip that cannot be tampered with, hardware partners have to protocol every step of the manufacturing process of every single part that has an AMD chip, and AMD takes unused chips back instead of leaving overstock or surplus stock out there. Aside from that, it's exponentially more difficult and expensive to make an AMD board than to make an nVidia board, because AMD boards generally have bigger silicon and broader buses, with much more memory chips (nVidia has narrower buses so that the cards are cheaper to produce, and to make partly up for loss of bandwidth, they set the cards for higher memory clock speeds, which makes the cards less stable, so they have a Greenlight program that limits what hardware partners can do with cards, and hardware partners can differentiate by leaving out chip features instead of adding extra performance, whereas with AMD, it's the other way around, hardware partners are not limited by AMD in terms of specs, they can go wild on specs as much as they want, even if this leads to pretty silly cards, but they have to guarantee that the card is entirely compliant and that all chip features are implemented).

Wow nvidia just loves to dig holes: blocking AMD from games, locking physx, relasing cards that people don't want, overpricing GPUs, the list goes on.

I don't think nVidia is actively involved in this scam. However, had they had a chip return policy and individual chip tracking like AMD has implemented years ago, this would not have happened. It's strange that nVidia doesn't track hardware, when they are the kings of walled garden locked in technologies... I'm sure nVidia is not feeling happy about yet another shitstorm coming their way. They've already lost so much market share, they're having a hard time figuring out what marketing hype to puke out to make people buy their overpriced next gen GPU's that hardly perform any better without help from sabotage software to hold down other products, and they're just not making it in the ARM business, despite all of the YouTube sponsorship.

I knew quite a lot of people that invested in the GTX680, me included, but to be honest, I don't know anyone that has bought a 780, I know a couple of people that have gotten one for free from nVidia or their hardware partners, but nobody that has bought anything more than a 770, and most are still shopping around for 660's and 670's if they want nVidia for some reason, and there are still plenty of those available everywhere, even non-counterfit ones.