HWDB, a website run by household overclockers Christian Ney, Tapakah, and El Genieben, just published a remarkable article. In their latest memory review, they stumbled upon a memory kit with an incorrectly flashed SPD. The kit rated at DDR3-2400 had in fact the spec of DDR3-2933. As something smelled fishy, they went out and bought the same kit in retail.
As it turns out, the retail kit has different ICs on board than the media sample kit. The difference between Hynix MFR (media sample) and Hynix CFR (retail kit) isn't big, definitely not for regular gamers and other non-hardcore enthusiasts, but it may highlight a better overclocking range. While the manufacturer is not exactly lying or, even worse, producing false advertisement, there is difference between the product reviewed and the product you'll find in the retail store.
Providing media with high(er) quality hardware samples isn't uncommon practice. In very few cases the hardware is specifically binned for reviews and produces exceptional results as usually we see the samples that are amongst the better within the normal distribution. In this particular case the overclocking results may not reflect that of what you can expect with retail kits as the ICs used are different. We applaud HWDB for this investigative research. Too often we come across reviews from "trusted" sources which write about improbable (euphemism) overclocking results. We also strongly encourage hardware manufacturers to be more open and transparent about their products. In the end, customers don't like being deceived.
For more information, check out the full review over at HW-DB.com.