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HBA adapter price variance cheap knockoff or real.

Posted on 2014-02-08
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Last Modified: 2014-02-09
Hi all,

We are upgrading our fileserver and I need to purchase a fiber HBA adapter card.  I was looking to purchase an Emulex LightPulse LPe1150 which is an older card but would be fine for our needs. I see a belwildering variance in price on these cards. I understand that some of the prices are for used cards, but I also see one for new cards that are hundreds less. My concern is that some of these places are selling cheap knockoff cards that are not true emulex.

For example some chains have these cards for over $800

http://www.insight.com/insightweb/search#searchResults#page=1#noCLP=false#shown=10#shownFlag=true#searchText=%22LPe1150%22

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/Emulex-LightPulse-LPe1150-F4-host-bus-adapter/859196.aspx

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Then I kind find others selling supposed new versions of these cards for around $100.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001PQ24RK/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

There must be a reason for the price discrepancy. Are these sellers simply lying and selling used cards or cheap unreliable knockoff cards?
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Question by:binovpd
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andyalder earned 300 total points
ID: 39845071
I don't think it's possible to make a fake HBA for less than the price of a genuine one, at least not in small batches which is all you could get away with since the market's so much smaller than for network cards. It's probably liquidation stock where a company goes broke and the stock is sold off at a fraction of the value to get what money the receiver can get quickly.

If you search CDW's site for 8 and 16Gb HBAs you'll find they are not much more expensive than the 4Gb ones so they're trying to sell them for full price, they'll probably have them left on the shelf for years since nobody's going to buy last year's model when there's a faster one available. They'll probably end up selling them to a broker at a loss just to clear the shelf space.

There's also the grey market, distributors and resellers have to buy through the channel so an American reseller buys from an American distributor who buys at the American price from the manufacturer. Prices vary around the world so it can be cheaper to import exactly the same thing from an APAC distributor into America but admittedly the price difference isn't as great as the card you point out.

Finally the "New" status on Amazon doesn't reflect the status on the vendor's website - your link shows a "new" one for $45 but the vendor's site says it's refurb. http://store.vibrant.com/Dell-LPE1150-E.html?utm_source=amazon&utm_medium=ads&utm_campaign=Dell-LPE1150-E

 There's nothing wrong with "refurbished" cards anyway, they've just had an extended (3 year) test inside a computer room then got removed during a server refresh. Some firms replace their servers every 3 years even though there's nothing wrong with them.
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Author Comment

by:binovpd
ID: 39845834
Thanks David. If what you say is true the markup on these is insane. Anyway thanks again for the input.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39846021
It's not the markup that's insane but the knockdown to get rid of old stock that surprises me - selling it for a quid on eBay now is better than keeping it on the shelf for 6 months and then selling it for full price because of the cost of the shelf space.
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