Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 20 Sep 2012.
A good back to basics article. Nice reminder...
I had the same problem. A few years ago, I bought a Be Quiet! 650W PSU, that won every award going from every hardware magazine. I suspected loose connections, heat build-up, anything other than the PSU.
Nice article Antony. Is it really the case that some companies will replace motherboards with bent pins? I would have thought that that would be put down to damage by user and would not qualify.
Me too, I bought an antec 750w high current pro to replace a cheap temporary PSU. Spent about ten months replacing everything in my system at great cost only to find out the antec PSU was faulty from the start. I'm still running with the cheap temporary PSU as well because the amazon seller of the antec haven't refunded me yet ! So I'm fully behind local PC shops as well now.
a tip: always start ur fixing late at night if u can help it. the times i messed up the family PC (only me ever using it but my dad got it so its the family pc) and stressing late at night-morning just before sunsrise trying to swop the cdrom jumpers with the hdd ones that just fell on the ground and i cant find, with he B.S.O.D. staring me down to the pc not even going on.
and just when they all waking up its fixed. makes u feel alive during these moments of WTF... nooooooooo (whispers)
Nice article Anthony, and clearly written from the perspective of a man who has grown up and matured into a level-headed tech enthusiast.
However, lest we forget many geeks are young and impatient, with a poor grasp of human interaction and etiquette. When something goes awry patience doesn't even make a fleeting appearance, and the poor old retailer will get an ear bashing, a forum trashing and more besides.
Thankfully I stopped being that person in my early 20s, and nowadays whilst I'm disappointed when something goes wrong I don't throw my toys out of the pram. Honestly the best way to be.
The important take home lesson? Spending crazy money on a PSU is pointless and doesn't give you any more guarantee than buying a cheaper (but still decent) PSU.
That's what I thought too until recently, but at least one retailer I know of will actually replace motherboards with bent pins in the UK. I think they've had so many people do this (it's incredible easy to do after all) that they've had to come up with some sort of arrangement, which is good I suppose.
Just to rephrase that, I'd still avoid sub £40 PSU's like the plague. We've proven them to be often very more unreliable, noisy, unable to meet the ATX spec in voltage stability as well as their rated wattage, and to have very poor efficiency. TBH this is the only example of a decent PSU I've used on a long term basis fail - I'd still recommend buying a proven PSU that has been tested properly. The point of the article was really to suspect everything and trust nothing when it comes to problems. If I'd used a cheapo PSU in my parent's PC, that would have been my prime suspect for the issues!
Most of my troubles over the years have been down to the PSU. Eventually I wised up and bought a PSU test plug. Although not the cheapest tool in the box, it has saved me a lot of time and money in unneeded components and returns.
It's been less than 18 months since had a motherboard smoke itself...
Really enjoyable article.
My main in to building and upgrading my own PC? PC went bang, smoke, failed power supply. Was obviously the power supply as it did kind of explode and emit smoke. Replacing it made me open the case look round and get my hands dirty, I realised this was not rocket science.
One observation, I have never had a good quality power supply fail in the manner described in the article, furthermore I would suggest that it is equally likely that the power circuitry in the motherboard could cause the failure. Since the board was dead too and the supply was dead, either the supply killed the board or the board killed the supply (difference in my example was only my supply was dead), a bad failure or short on the board can cause a spike that will kill the supply instantly.
Don't be too eager to put your trust into local computer stores either. The article does give some good advice on checking prices, etc, before handing anything over, but there are still a lot of charlatans out there who are more than willing to rip you off. It could even be something as simple as proceeding with further testing/fault diagnosis without agreeing it with the customer, thereby landing you with a nasty bill for labour you didn't agree to which needs to be paid before you can get your PC back from them.
That last sentence was horribly written. Sorry, couldn't think of a better way to put it!
I used to work in an independent computer store and it was always our policy to give a rough estimate of the amount of labour involved before accepting a repair; if we thought it would take longer we'd always call the customer first to make sure they're happy to proceed (and indeed once we've found what the problem is and what it'll cost to fix, if replacement hardware was needed). Sadly not everyone has the same scruples and I've caught more than one local store trying to rip off friends and family; being more expensive than online retailers is one thing, but being deceptive and misleading when dealing with customers just isn't cricket.
I'm quite lucky to have a Novatech store in Cardiff. They may not be the best online retailer, or the cheapest, but they have a store about 5 minutes away from me: if I ever get any problems I can go and speak to someone face to face, rather than having to trust that they read my emails. So far I've had no complaints about their service, including returns.
It's interesting you should mention Scan's warranty service, because in my experience, it is utterly abysmal. I bought a £190 Silverstone case from them a while back, which arrived with broken fan fixings & screws rattling around inside the case. I tried to return the case because it was obviously faulty, but because I neglected to report the fault within 48 hours of delivery (I hadn't been well so it was some time after its delivery that I inspected the case). They told me I had to take up the matter with Silverstone, who then informed me that I should take up the matter with Scan. Fantastic. Anyway long story short, Scan did finally agree to take the case back and replace the faulty fans, but only after many letters & a great deal of grief. I've never used them again since.
if you buy a psu really look for reviews where they test the output of the PSU whit special psu oscilloscopes. (pm me if you want a list of them but i don't want to post them except if I'm to do it allowed by bittech itself)
they look for the derivation of the voltage output in some cases even whit good brands the variation might be to high and cause system instability
there are even reviewers who pull it fully apart and test the efficiencies at 40 C to give the real world performance. these kind of sites made me chose the hx850 of corsair.it has 6 years warranty. the reviews also show that some psu of the same line might be very different in quality.
(so 750 watt might be from different quality then the 850watt)
had a problem once , got it down to PSU or MB any way phoned local PC shop and they wanted Â£20 to test a PSU that was out of the case.
So got a PSU test plug for around the same price and did it my self.
As for scan they can give you the runaround from time to time on returns, but some times are quite good. but after they gave me the runaround of "it's not our problem its the manufacturer you want" and geting the same story from manufacturer "see scan" I will only use them as a last resort now my self.
It's great to know I'm not alone in being the family PC fixer. I now own a PSU tester and a box of bit's for this exact reason.
I would suggest only buying a PC from somewhere that is open about the components. I have change many PSU' s for rail failure on Dell, Evesham, etc. Some are easy but the Dell powered through a separate board. No 24/20 pin plug. Fun failure though 12v going through the 3.3v rail. Never knew the CPU fan could spin that fast. lol
I've been lucky enough to never have anything die on me while in use.
I have, however, gone back to old components to build a friend a basic pc, to find that the psu was dead as was the motherboard. They were working (though the system had been unstable for a time) when stored, and I always take care in how I store them. I reckon I dodged a bullet there as they must have been very close to dieing.
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