By: Jason R. Wilson
China has been inventive in its attempts at smuggling technology into the country over the last few years. We analyzed the numerous attempts and found that nearly four million dollars in technology have been tried to travel across borders. Most cases have been memory, processors, and graphics cards. However, the attempts climbed in cost rapidly since the country has been cut off from several companies due to US government officials’ directives. In a recent smuggling attempt, a cargo of live lobsters numbered 200 and weighing 280 kg (617 lbs) was hiding 70 NVIDIA Quadro K2200 GPUs, according to The Register.
Live lobsters assist in smuggling 70 NVIDIA Quadro K2200 GPUs across China’s borders in a recent smuggling case
The lobsters were being transported by land vehicle, a van to be specific, attempting to cross the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. This bridge combines 55 kilometers “of roads, bridges, and tunnels around the Pearl River Delta.” The vehicle had no paperwork available, but the total value estimated by Hong Kong Customs is $76,500. The value is estimated to be combined between NVIDIA Quadro K2200 GPUs and crooked crustaceans.
NVIDIA’s Quadro K2200 graphics cards were initially released in 2014. The GPUs are based on the Maxwell architecture, offering 4 GB of GDDR5 memory with a memory interface of 128 bits. The memory bandwidth is 80 GB/s and offers 640 CUDA cores. The NVIDIA Quadro K2200 graphics card uses the PCIe 2.0 x 16 interface with a max power consumption of 68 W.
Thermals are controlled with an ultra-quiet active fansink. Display connectors on the NVIDIA Quadro K2200 are a single DVI-I DL and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports and can connect up to three displays directly or four through the multi-stream functionality of the DP 1.2 ports. Max resolution is 3840 x 2160 through DP 1.2, 2560 x 1600 through DVI-I DL, and 1920 x 1200 through DVI-I SL. It also has a maximum VGA resolution of 2048 x 1536 px, with the previously mentioned resolutions at 60 Hz and the VGA resolution at 85 Hz.
Looking at Amazon’s current prices for the graphics card it is hovering around the $159 range from numerous manufacturers. Estimating the cost and multiplying it against the number of NVIDIA Quadro K2200 GPUs acquired is around $11,130. Added to our current total, we calculated last month, the total cases have reached nearly $290,414. That total is the maximum as we have had to estimate most of the smuggling attempts made over the last year and a half (2022 to current).
It is no wonder that China has made so many previous attempts. It has been reported that the country has gone as far as to purchase consumer PC components off sites like eBay and second seller sites as it is challenging to enhance its military and, more importantly, scientific developments. Priority will always fall upon military advancement, but to have an area unable to assist the rest of the world in sciences and technology for the betterment of the world is unfortunate.
Previous attempts by China’s smugglers have been SSDs and processors found inside a five-seater passenger car’s gearbox, 239 Intel i5-13400F processors wrapped around a person’s body crossing the border, 84 Kingston SSDs in the front shaft of an electric scooter, 200 processors in a prosthetic pregnancy belly and a few mobile phones, and another person smuggling CPUs and phones around their torso in early 2022.