I've been doing a metric ton of reading on the knock-off brand turbo's. There appears to be a pretty solid line in the knock-off world. The turbo's either last a few years or they die fairly quickly depending on how poorly the assembly process was. CXRacing seems to sell turbo's produced by a company that does balance the shafts. How well? I'm not going to venture a guess on that, but any balancing is better than none at all by a pretty large margin. You CAN opt for a ball bearing center section.
But why do they last for a couple years and then die? Why are there stories of them dying within a few months of ownership if they are any good?
I've found that the majority of people that have any sort of luck with no-name turbo's only run a low amount of boost. This is very important because as soon as the shaft speeds increase the turbo unasses itself. Some people buy a CXRacing turbo and install it on their car that was already running 15 psi thinking they have a solid replacement or upgrade. Well the difference in shaft speed from 8 psi up to 15 psi is greater than 100,000 rpm depending on the turbo. That's 1667 turns a second in just shaft speed difference. The max shaft speed turbo's usually see before they become heat pumps is about 300,000. 300,000 Fn thousand RPM. Probably should invest some coin in this department no? You don't want some dude getting paid 3 bucks a week assembling something that spins that fast, sorry.
I found a handful of genuine used turbo's for sale online for under $200. GPOP
will rebuild them for $350. That's long distance reliability, at real boost levels, for $550. The hassle and time saved alone makes the decision a no-brainer for me.
IMHO knock-off parts are awesome for us guys with working budgets of very little to no money. But buy the ones with no moving parts like intercoolers and etc. Leave the precision products to companies that actually have a Quality department.