Monday, 6 June 2011

My Faulty Hardware

It does seem that I have been somewhat cursed with a plague of faulty / failing hardware. Sometimes it's my fault ( I put my hands up when it is) but most of the time things just seem to die around me. It's not down to any mishandling or mistreatment I just have terrible luck!
  1. Faulty Cheap 400w PSU from Maplin: Didn't even return it, just replaced it with an even cheaper Sumvision POS
  2. Faulty Geforce 2 GTS Given to me: Give it it's due this card was the only component I brought over from my first ever desktop. It lasted a good while in my new build (a swanky Athlon 3200+ 939 number) but one day the ram just went away and blue screens ahoy it was replaced with a bargain basement FX 5200.
  3. Asrock CPU Upgrade board from Local Shop: I never could really pin this one down to software, hardware or just generally a bad idea. It was a crazy Asrock design where you had a daughterboard (which plugged into a 939 board) onto which you plugged an AM2 CPU and DDR2 Ram. I had endless issues with locking and crashes, seemed to have some relationship to the AMD Dual Core Optimiser but alas, I never got to the bottom of it. This board was heavy and stuck out 90deg to the motherboard so one day (while trying to beef up it's support) i switched the machine on and all the VRM's on the little board burst into flame. I swore infront of my Grandmother (who was visiting) and that was the end of that.
  4. Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3 from Local Shop: I bought this as a replacement for the 939Dual-SATA2 that used to have a CPU upgrade board attached to it. It lasted a good while and saw some good times, but unfortunately bit the dust (temporarily) after a bad BIOS flash. The Flash itself was fine, but the custom Boot Logo (in it's infancy back then) didn't take and so no more booting (My Fault really, it was the wrong Res). I told Gigabyte this and they kindly sorted the board out for me, for the cost of return Postage if I remember right. That repaired board is still in use with my Athlon 6000+ in a cousins machine.
  5. Sapphire X1950 Pro AGP 512MB from Scan: bought for my Brothers machine when it was first built, was good for a long time but eventually started heating to 100C before dying. Wasn't dust or fan damage, just weird. Was promptly replaced by Scan, impressive service which earned them more of my Business.
  6. Various DVD Drives and Printers, Bought from various places: Throughout my years building PC's I've never had good luck with DVD drives or Printers. Both seem to die on me at an alarming rate. My first DVD+-RW drive cost ~£90 and died in about 18 months. My next one was a Samsung which stopped reading disks, then a Lite-On which never burnt properly etc etc. All the while going through about 3 different (Probably HP) printers. Bad times
  7. Razer Copperhead Blue Mouse from Scan: Side button went faulty after ~ 9 months use was replaced swiftly by scan with new mouse. Still at my side today. 
  8. Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 from Local Shop: Not so much a failure so much as an incompatibility. I bought this board when my M55 died before Gigabyte said they'd fix it for me. It was a very similar chipset so it was almost a drop in replacement. It was given to my brother when I bought my Crosshair II Formula and served him well for a while (even though it never officially supported his PhenII940 and reported giving it 1.74v when OC'd) Unfortunately it was retired when it just refused to play ball with his new Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X 2GB. No post. No nothing, new board was bought
  9. Asus Crosshair II Formula bought from Lambdatek: bought this board with the hope it would better support my CPU, and would run a Pair of 260's nicely in SLI. I also hoped it would rid me of a locking problem I was having under heavy graphical load. It didn't help. I built it up and discovered it would be fine outside the case, but died repeatedly in the case. Suspected the motherboard but before I got a chance to really test it the board Upped and died on me. Took Asus 3 months to get me a new one. Spent 3 months with an ancient machine running Ubuntu. Still haven't quite recovered.  
  10. Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 650w: This was RMA'd after my new Crosshair board didn't sort the probelm. Found that with this PSU attached the locking was worse so I RMA'd it. Scan confirmed a fault and replaced it with a brand new unit which still (touch wood) lives today in my brothers machine.
  11. XFX GTX 260 192 XXX bought from Scan: This card was bought nigh on lauch day and was a very early reference PCB card with Ref cooler but OC'd clocks.Unfortunately it became the bane of my life for 18 months. It was ultimately the cause of my locking problems and it became increasingly worse over the 18 months I had it. Eventually returned it to scan (who returned it to XFX) who after some time diagnosed it faulty and had me refunded £144 which I put towards a shiny new (ultimately faulty) GTX 280.
  12. XFX GTX 260 216 XXX (no 1) bought from Scan: this was bought from scan for my brother it was DOA and replaced with a Gainward which still lives today
  13. XFX GTX 260 216 XXX (no 2) bought from VCS: was also DOA and eventually replaced with a GTX 280 which still works today (as of 7/6/2011) I don't reckon it'll last though
  14. GTX 280 from VCS: was bought mostly with funds from the faulty 192SP 260. Went faulty in 6 months, was replaced with another faulty card. Argued with VCS for months but eventually got a £154 refund.
  15. Razer Carcharias Heaphones from Scan: Mic Died after~ 8 months use. Swiftly replaced with new pair by Scan.
  16. iPhone 3G from O2: Not technically in my computer but very faulty hardware. First phone had faulty accelerometer from the moment it came out the box, second had faulty silent switch within 3 months, third had faulty screen (would go white until you locked it again), Sold the working one, and that has been replaced several times again by apple, so much so that apple have given my friend who bought it a new handset with warranty! bad times
  17. iPhone 4 from Vodaphone: Had a faulty proximity sensor from day one, apple tried to hide this as a software problem, so why did new hardware fix it then apple? replacement has survived ~ a year so far. 
A worthy mention (Things which lasted or performed beyond expectation)
  1. XFX 8800 GTS XXX 320MB from Scan: Still lives after 44 months and it hasn't had an easy life. Spent it's infancy in my desktop before living out a large chunk of it's life folding. one the warranty was up I flashed it up to Fatal1ty clocks and it has never missed a beat. Brilliant card.
  2. Genius wireless keyboard from local shop: The only thing I still use from when I built my PC, it's been to more LAN parties and been chucked about more times than I care to mention but it still powers on, occassionally asking for batteries. Will retire it when it dies (the shift key has lost it's spring in the last week :(
  3. HP Mini 311 from HP direct: Amazing Netbook/Laptop. Specs in the sidebar say it all, trust me to have one of the only laptops in the world which has it's BIOS hacked and Hardware Overclocking added. Add to that a 9 cell battery (which I need to look for) and it's an amazing little machine. Love it to bits, will be sorry to see it replaced.
  4. LG Blu-Ray & HD-DVD Drive from Scan: outlasted it's warranty without missing a beat, the only reliable optical drive I've ever had. hope it lasts well into the future...
  5. XFX 7800GS XXX from Local Shop: Still lives today, years on. was sold to a friend and it's never missed a beat for him, now in his family machine. Great bit of kit
So there you go, 17 cases of hardware failure, there are many more minor ones and probably a few majors I've forgotten to mention but there you go. Me + Hardware = Bad Idea :P

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Decided to update my Spreadsheet of things I've bought for my Desktop PC and here are some interesting facts.

-My Average spend in the last 3 years was £684.84
-Since first building it ~7years ago I've spend £3,799.81
-Of that the parts I still use cost £1,448.75
-So I've discarded (or sold) £2,351.06
-Of everything in my PC the only things not in warranty are my Blu-Ray Drive and my Mouse
-Longest warranty Period is 84 Months (Corsair HX850w Modular Power Supply)
-Most Expensive single thing I've ever bought is my Screen, £315.90

Since I built it I've had the following Graphics setups
Geforce 2 GTS AGP
5200 AGP
7800GS AGP
8800GTS 320MB
GTX 260 896MB
GTX 260 896MB SLI
GTX 280 1GB Single