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Samsung Nand Flash – How To Decode Flash Storage Chips To Find True Capacity

Posted by inspectortech on April 13, 2009

Suspect that you have a counterfeit (fake) MP Player, USB Flash drive or Memory Card that has been digitally altered to report a larger capacity than it really is? Known as “Fakes” you will find them for sale on eBay, on wholesaler internet sites and even in small retail stores around the world.

Real flash chips from genuine manufacturers have been are upgraded (reprogrammed) to lie about their real size to operating systems. Samsung Nand Flash chips have been targeted by those who engage in this devious activity. Only when one exceeds the real capacity of the chip, does data loss begin. Buyers trying to find why the devices fail frequently take them apart to find out why they don’t hold the advertised capacity.

The first step is to try and decode the chip being used. If the brand is Samsung you need to write down the information on the chip so you can find out what the real size is is for the chip.

The black market is busy changing the sizes of Flash nand chips with capacity of 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB to report sizes from 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 60GB, 64GB, 120GB, 128GB, 240GB, 250GB, 260GB, 320GB, 360GB, 500GB, 512GB. So how can you find out the real size of the chip in your MP Player, USB Flash Drive or Memory Card?

Samsung use coding, where each position in the chip’s serial identification has special meaning. You can use the chart to check the real size. The decoding chart is found at Samsung under Nand Flash. They also publish catalogues of the chips they make that you can download and consult.

For capacity storage sizing, Gb is Gigabits. 8 bits make a byte. So if you see 32Gb it is 32/8 = 4GB. Always divide by 8. GB is Gigabytes. Usually advertised sizes for storage use GB – Gigabytes. This is what consumers understand best for storage. It is very important to understand this difference when you consult a manufacturers decoder. If the ‘b’ is in lowercase they are referring to bits, not bytes as most everyone expects.

Samsung also offers Product Catalogues (Memory and Storage Selection Guide) in pdf file format that list all the flash drive storage chips they have made.

FixFakeFlash suggests you visit Samsung’s site get the most current information and download their pdf files:

You will find their decoder easy to use. Make sure that when you open your fake flash item that you copy all the information about the chip down correctly.



You can verify your results with H2testw 1.4 – Gold Standard In Detecting USB Counterfeit Drives

If you confirm that you have a fake – a digitally alterned storage chip, please report it to Samsung and let them know that one of their chips has been reprogrammed into frankenflash. The more information the genuine manufacturers receive the more it will help them to track and investigate.

If you have a digital camera, photograph the chip close up if you can so people can easily read the serial and also do one of the whole device. This is evidence you can submit in a legal claim or as additional information in a PayPal dispute issued for an eBay purchase.

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