Ramblings on the brands we love (or hate)

LiamC

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I have had a string of bad luck lately hardware wise, but this has enabled me to compare/notice a few things because I've had to swap hardware around while diagnosing.

I have three ATi video cards and one NVIDIA.

Old GeForce (2, 4) cards were pretty crap at 1024x960 on a DVNF 19" Trinitron. So I swapped to ATi—7000, and two 9550's. I just recently purchased a Sparkle 6600GT to go in the Gigabyte K8NS Ultra-939. On the Samsung 193T (1280 x 1024) flat panel with DVI, the Sparkle has noteably crisper text than either of the Radeon 9550's.

After resurrecting the DV19NF, The Radeon 9550's and 7000 are noticeably better than the Mirage graphics on an Asrock Socket A board. I now know why they dubbed it Mirage.

Asrock also make a PCI-e/AGP socket 939 board, which I used whilst troubleshooting the K8NS. The Gigabyte has 2 SATA-II (Ughh!) ports to the Asrocks 1. The K8NS has two Gb LAN, the Asrock 1 Fast Ethernet. The Asrock can take AGP or PCI-e graphics. The K8NS has three monitored fan headers, the Asrock two. The K8NS cost AU$150, the Asrock AU$95. I think it's a bit of a bargain.

I had swapped a Zalman 400W p/s into the Antec SLK1650. The Zalman's intake fan is positioned so it faces the front of the case. The Antec SmartPower 350W p/s that ships with the SLK has it's intake fan facing the CPU, i.e. the bottom of the power supply, sucking hot air from the CPU out of the case. With the case closed and no variation of outside temp, with the Antec p/s in the case, the CPU temp dropped by 6 degrees running two instances of F@H. Maybe there is more to case cooling than people think.

I've had two drive failures in the last six weeks, a Samsung and a Maxtor. Neither like dealing with end users when it comes to RMA's. Never had a problem with Western Digital or IBM/Hitachi RMA's—follow steps from Tech Support, send diagnostic codes. O.K. ship the dud here. Would Sir like an advanced replacement? Never used Seagate, but don't Seagate own Maxtor now?

YMMV of course.
 

Buck

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Interesting observations Liam. I've had a total of two Samsung drives fail over the past three years. I figured it wasn't worth the RMA process. I looked at their kludge of a setup they offer online and then tossed the drives in the trash.

WD have a very easy RMA process. The only trouble I've found is that their drives find themselves in all sorts of places that they don't belong and report as having No Limited warranty. For example, someone buys WD drives in the Far East, brings them here to the U.S. and the warranty remains in the FE, not here. Likewise, I've seen Compaq OEM drives at Fry's. The warranty is with Compaq, since that is how OEMs buy drives. You try to replace that beast with WD and it won't work. If you buy WD retail you're safe. I've seen Newegg make the same mistakes. They basically find the least expensive distribution points and expect that all warranties are the same and worldwide.
 

Mercutio

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Man, Maxtor used to have a great RMA service here in the USA before the Quantum merger. No questions asked. You could send a drive back for being dusty or for making a noise you didn't like.

Samsung's RMA here in the USA is on the same level with Hitachi and Seagate I think. I've . WD has the best RMA service, or they did. Of course, they'd better, 'cause WD drives spend as much time in transit back to the repair depot as they do in service.

Asrock is the budget arm of Asus. I can believe that Asrock products are actually better than Asus branded stuff in much the same way I know AOpen hardware is better than the stuff that says Acer on it.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Mercutio said:
...Seagate I think. I've .
I meant to say that "I've done Samsung RMAs three different times with a total of five drives. They got replacements back to me within a week of the ship date on my end." but I accidently deleted most of that line.
 

LiamC

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Yeah, I didn't want to touch Asrock 'cause as our 1337 friends would say (about ASUS), "teh r the major suck!!!!". But I needed a Socket A board, and they were the only one I could find new (AU$65.00), like $40.00 in real money, and I didn't have any major issues with it (apart from the sucky AMI BIOS), so a cheap 939 board with PCI-e and AGP was a no-brainer. Unless I go home tonight and the board has failed, then so long as it lasts, it will be an O.K. deal. Mind you, I have no idea about their failure rates.
 

CougTek

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My main issue with ASRock is their dumb "Press F2 to enter setup". Why not "Del" like the rest of the world? Except that, the few ASRock boards I've worked on were quite easy to configure and appeared to be reliable. I even recommend them for low-end systems.
 

Tannin

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We sold one model of Asrock board. One. Those boards, all the same, were an on-board video, VIA chipset Socket A thing. (A KM266? A bit newer than that I think, maybe a KM333.)

They were f&%^^%#$@#@ing terrible! The worst, the absolute worst motherboards we have seen since .... hmmm ..... well, there were those dreadful SiS-based ECS boards for Athlon Thunderbirds the name of which thankfully escapes me that some members here actually liked - but only two of those, both faulty, so maybe, just maybe, that was a glitch and the other ones were perfect (in your dreams, Batman) ... and then three were the pox-ridden ATC Super 7 boards with the worst implementation of an MVP-3 chipset on record .....

Most like the ATC boards, actually, as they (the Asrock vomit boards) behaved perfectly OK to begin with, then only later started giving a never-ending series of small problems. Black-scren fail to boot 3 times running, then work OK again for the next 12 boots. Hang hard in the middle of nothing in particular, three times in an hour, then not for a week, stuff like that. Impossible to ever put your finger on anything, you just had to replace the board and send it off for RMA. And they never, ever came back fixed. In the end, we sold around 40 of those boards, and replaced around 30 of them. Never, ever, got any help from Asrock.

Ask Kristie - if you dare. You never heard Kristi swear? Well, neither did anyone else. But if you want to hear Kristi say a rude word (quite a lot of rude words actually), just say "Asrock" to her.

Hint: stand well back if you plan to do this. If she thinks you work for them, she will probably spit on you.

Me, I wouldn't spit on an Asrock board. Waste of perfectly good spit.
 

LiamC

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I Tannin, you know how to make me feel all warm and fuzzy. I hope they've improved, or I get lucky. Not going to hold may breath.
 

paugie

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I am very pro-SF, meaning I read a favorable comment for a product/brand here, I tend to believe it.

Still, I like Maxtor drives over Samsungs. Why? Though I have not experienced any failures yet from either brand, some of my newer Samsung installs have quirky S.M.A.R.T reports from monitoring software such as HDD Health and Speedfan.

I do not like MSI motherboards as they seem to be very picky with memory modules and throw up BSODs and myriad error messages if they don't like the mems you install in them.
 

Sol

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The brand I hate most would probably have to be Benq. Without having actually ever owned a Benq product I have seen some absolute drivel come from thier factories. Of the 4 or so Optical drives of thiers that I've seen, only one was not DOA and it was a waranty replacement. Other than that they have just been distinctly low grade, keyboards, CRT monitors, anything with Benq on it has proven to be exceedingly average. The one exception is perhaps thier LCD monitors... But I still wouldn't buy one on principal...

My last boss was extremely pro MSI... Motherboards especially but anything they made just had to be good... After a couple of full days driving arround to remote locations trying to figure out what later turned out to be a conflict with some Kingston RAM and a whole batch of MSI motherboards I'm pretty much of a mind with paugie...

I'd pretty much lump MSI in with Asus these days, they had thier day making good boards and they charge like they still do so more than occationally...
 

Mercutio

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I like my Benq projector just fine. Their Optical drives don't impress me, however.

I've been quite happy with various Samsung electronics I've purchased - hard disks, DVD players, LCD and DLP displays. At this point, if I'm purchasing electronics I'll look for Samsung first, if only as the starting point for my evaluation.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Apropos of nothing, I sent a paleolithic 15" CTX LCD in for service a few weeks ago. Literally a month before its 5-year warranty expired. I wouldn't've even tried, save that the person who had been trying to throw it out had nicely packed it in its retail box which said "5 year-warranty" in big letters. It was sitting in a dumpster full of old office supplies, file folders and all sorts of crap.

What the hell, right?

I pulled it out, took it home, ran the RMA and shipped it back. Cost to me: $18 for shipping and several hand-washings.

I got my "replacement" today: a 17" LCD with a DVI interface on it that I see was manufactured in 2005. It's still a refurbished monitor but the language of the paperwork included seems to indicate that I have another two years of warranty on the 17"-er.

That's pretty damned cool.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I just did a batch RMA of drives to Samsung. My "batch" was 5 drives that I've collected over the last 18 months. Two of them are being RMA'd for things like making noises I haven't heard drives of that model make. Two of them are plainly out of warranty (manufactured February 2002 and April 2002). One is just dead.

Anyway, I submitted the RMA claim and Samsung took them all, even the out of warranty ones.
 

ddrueding

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Mercutio said:
I've been quite happy with various Samsung electronics I've purchased - hard disks, DVD players, LCD and DLP displays. At this point, if I'm purchasing electronics I'll look for Samsung first, if only as the starting point for my evaluation.
I agree 100%. They seem to have an air of un-suckiness about their products.
 

P5-133XL

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I've had very good support from Kensington makers of expensive trackballs and mice. Specifcly, they warrentee their equip for 5 years which is an eternity. In the past, I've had multiple RMA's and its always been a pleasure (They simply cross-ship replacements at no cost). Well, in a way you do pay but it is the original cost that is outreagous.

I also had the privledge of a 2 year old, that got into my inventory of trackballs. He removed and hid all the balls. I called up Kensington and they promply shipped, at no cost, a half dozen balls.
 

Santilli

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That's funny. I have a mouse in box that some low life student at Balboa did the same thing to.

Have to give it a try.

Thanks
S

PS Despise NIkon's website, software, and support.

Anything mac, at this point.

I really like Samsungs Laser Printers, have one that works just fine, and was around 200 dollars.
 

Santilli

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Got an Indian based, bad English email that Kensington doesn't have any trackballs for my mouse. :evil:

S
 

Santilli

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I'm on a mouse roll. The Kensington Mouse in a Box is out of production.

MY 60 dollar BoomerSpeed hasn't worked nearly as well as the old one.
Couldn't go left with it, trying to play Quake 4.

Took the trackball out, and, it feels egg shaped, seriously, egg shaped.

That would explain it's poor game preformance, and, combined with my expertise, explains why I'm pretty bad at games.

Emailed them on this one. We'll see what happens.

S
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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True Story.

I needed an AGP video card with a DVI connector. Didn't want to spend much money (just wanted to demonstrate to one of my customers that DVI looks nicer than VGA). Drove over to my local disti. Cheapest card they had was a $32 64MB Radeon 9250 from Jetway. Jetway is the company that makes ECS look like Supermicro. So, yes, this is a red flag.
But for the most part a Radeon 9250 is a Radeon 9250, right?

I buy the card, slap in in a machine. No video out from DVI. I plug in a VGA cable. No video.

There's also no "bad video card" beep from the BIOS. Hm.

I pull the card out and I realize that, despite the very large sticker that says "QC Pass", there's absolutely no RAM nor any capacitors on this particular card. It was a blank board with a Radeon chip under a heat sink and nothing else.

I'd like to know exactly what Quality Control that card passed!
 

time

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:rofl:

That reminds me of another Asus anecdote, but I'm too tired to relate it right now.
 

paugie

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Jetway is the company that makes ECS look like Supermicro.
Hmmmm, I was under the impression that Jetway was better than ECS. But that was 4 years ago. So that must have changed. AFAIK, they are all under ECS. Could be ECS made Jetway really bad so they would look good. I could be far wrong.

Anyway, I just wanted to say the first sentence.
 

Handruin

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That is hilarious! :mrgrn: Did you take a picture of it because I bet it looks pretty funny with the missing parts. :)
 

Mercutio

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1. The board went back the same day.
2. Jetway is and always has been the worst possible brand for anything and everything I can think of. It may be part of the global "PC Chips" umbrella, but if it is, it's the part where the stuff that got rejected from all the other brands.
3. ECS, as I understand it, is in the process of reinvent itself as more of a hobbyist/reseller-friendly brand - something closer to say, Epox. I don't know if it's working or not but if they're taking steps to rise up out of the sewer of vomit they're presently in, good for them.
 

Santilli

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I'm pretty happy with the ATI XL800X series of cards. Great gaming, very good 2d, not totally offensive software, overall about 9.5 on a scale of 10.

I wish Matrox would come up with a decent gaming gpu, I still miss that crystal clarity you could get with the P650, or for that matter, P550.

Greg
 

paugie

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Most everyone on a budget here in the Philippines gets to get an ECS mobo. For comparable models across Brands, ECS is lower in price by about 300 to 500 pesos (7-10 USD). I still can't start to think of ECS on the same level as Epox, MSI (which I also avoid) or Gigabyte. I don't buy Asus, they are more expensive here than those brands earlier mentioned.
 

LiamC

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My Samsung 193T flat panel's front buttons (power, menu, brightness etc.) stopped working. Called Samsung and a rep came out and replaced the monitor with a 910T, no questions asked. Quick, painless, just the way I like it. Thank you Samsung, (and from another thread) thank you Antec.
 

Splash

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At every opportunity back in the '90s, I used to raise hell about Iomega, Norton, and Western Digi. But, I've given up kicking that dead horse.

I can tell you for a fact that I've had more than a few problems with &#%$ L·E·X·A·R crappola (flash memories of various types, and their stylish but flaky CF reader) over the past few years.

Then, to top it all, I heard recently about some Lexar flash memories catching on fire during use. Of course, that won't affect me since I only use vastly better SanDisk flash memories (CF, SmartMedia) and inexpensive but great PNY flash memory readers and a really fast Firewire-based Addonics flash memory reader.



 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Interesting thing to note, regarding brands we love etc.

About two years ago, Newegg stopped providing warranty service for motherboards it sold. Bad move; I started buying motherboards other places and so did a lot of other people.

Just today I notice that Newegg has largely shifted back: About 2/3s of the boards on Newegg's site no longer have "This item is warranted through the product manufacturer only" blurbs in the product description.

Also, in yet another reason to hate Asus, the Asus K8N-VM is the first motherboard I've run across that won't work with a completely compatible sysprep install disc. It has an nVidia 6100 chipset. My disc was made with a 6100 chipset (which I've used on nforce2s, 3s and 6150-based machines as well). Yet Windows does not boot on two samples of that board. Bleh.

Lesson learned: Buy motherboards from Newegg again, or at least wait for the local disti to get something decent in stock.
 

Buck

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Regarding a brand that I've grown to love: Kingston. Their memory always works for me. It lasts and doesn't give me any compatibility issues. I've used other brands with about a 67% success rate. I'm sticking with Kingston.
 

Splash

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Buck said:
Regarding a brand that I've grown to love: Kingston. Their memory always works for me. It lasts and doesn't give me any compatibility issues. I've used other brands with about a 67% success rate. I'm sticking with Kingston.
I like Kingston RAM also more than others (in general) -- probably more so in modern times than about 10 years ago when they tended to be borderline stupid-expensive. Most of the other things Kingston Technology sells is pretty much ho-hum. I also like Crucial RAM. But, I can often get Kingston ValueRAM for a bit less.

I might add that I like Microsoft mouses better than anyone else's mouses and Logitech's trackballs more than anyone else's trackballs.


 

Bozo

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I've always been partial to Crucial and Corsair ram.

If you have a MB that is picky about ram, Corsair will work 99% of the time. Of course, you pay for that 99% too.

Bozo :joker:
 
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