Trash Compaqrs

By hewybo
Dec 1, 2005
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  1. Just had to say something in defense of a good friend/mentor. In cruising this and other forums, I find frequent disparaging comments regarding Compaq systems. OK- I'm new, and learning, but allow me to relate these facts:
    A little over a year ago, I decided to try this computer thing. I read a couple of mags, and decided on my parameters. I wanted something with at least 512MB memory, and at least 80GB HDD. (I had no clue what these really meant, but I was new). This decided, I began watching ads in the local paper, and settled on a bundle from Fry's. Not having had access to the knowledge imparted in this forum, I thought Compaq was a major brand (I knew it was a sub of HP), I bought it: Compaq Presario SR1120NX, Celeron D330 @ 2.66GHz, CDR-RW(ASUS), DVD read only, basic mouse/keyboard, cheap HP Deskjet printer, and a ViewSonic A71f+ monitor (which I still really like, and is in use on my mom's system). Now for the crux of my diatribe.
    This system had an MSI MS6577 mobo w/ Award BIOS, and I added three different sound cards, expanded to 2GB memory, added another 80GB HDD, a video capture card, and numerous other hardware additions, upgrades, all done by a newbie tinkerer.
    Throughout all of this, this was the most reliable system I could have imagined; stable always, fully accepting of my ham-handed tinkering. Oh- without having the power and HDD activity LED's, you would never have known if it was on or off. Supremely quiet!!

    SO.................. why is Compaq trash?

    PS: HP support was prompt (24/7, with LIVE chats) for a full year. Since "upgrading" to all new forum-recommended stuff, I have YET TO HEAR form all requests for service/support from the vendors.

    OK- I'm done venting. :wave:
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Your "perfect" experiences with Compaq aren't just unsual for Compaq, but unsual for any brand of computer... custom built or not. So congratulations on your good fortune. :)

    It isn't just Compaq - Just about all OEM companies cut corners, make mistakes, have bad support and charge too much for what you get. It's how the industry works though. Because of this, I feel brand preference is bad practice (overall). When you've been in any industry long enough, you start to pick up who you have the most success or failures with though... I would have say Compaq (the Compaq prior to HP's buyout) has been a significant pain the ****.

    For the sake of argument, here's why I (and others, I imagine) claim Compaq sUx0rZ... :haha:

    Reason #1.) Poor to Mediocre components :(
    The quality of components is always sub-par, unless you pay an incredible premium. As with most other OEM companies, Compaq cuts as many corners as possible. They want to bring you an affordable computer, but also increase their profit margin. For example, how much did you pay? What kind of video card came with it? What kind of sound card came with it?

    Older Compaq computers came with 5400 RPM drives when 7200 was readily available for a long time and was almost the same price... for example. Many Compaqs feature integrated graphics and sound.. as another example. The new Compaq is different from the old Compaq, but the same ideas still apply. They are favoring profit margins than giving consumers more for their money.

    Compaq makes a good budget PC, but to get a mid/high-end system with 100% performance components will cost you much more money than putting together one yourself and sometimes more than other budget PC leaders like e-Machines or Dell. These companies also have "high-end" lines too, but are currently higher-end than Compaq.

    Speaking of which, if money isn't an issue for you, Compaq doesn't design a system that's all out "the best". They are always behind the computer cycle by probably about 1 year or greater. This is especially true since HP merged with them. Configuring one on their website allows a maximum of an AMD 3500+. There was a time when Compaqs were somewhat recent, but never "top of the line"... This was before HP decided to make Compaq their "budget line".

    Reason 2.) No attention to standards :rolleyes:
    Many older Compaqs include funky power supply connectors with oddball power supplies and proprietary front panel + header hookups; motherboards; cables; fans; cases and god knows what else. Like most OEMs, Compaq ignores standards and they are slow to pick them up until after its simply "too late".

    Reason 3.) The software is questionable :eek:
    Their logo is everywhere (in case you forgot you're using a Compaq) and comes preloaded with enough applications to fill your taskbar tray with just about a dozen programs on first boot. This chews up memory and lowers the performance of your computer... not to mention causes all sorts of weird problems related to the software not working properly. Compaq softwares have a bad track record of resulting in Windows failures as well. Blue screens, hanging and program incompatabilities resulting from these programs are pretty well documented. The software used to be very invasive and not very intuitive - Things have changed - But this has been another problem with Compaq.

    Reason 4.) Technicial support. :mad:
    I've personally dealt with Compaq technical support quite a few times for customers. Again, like any company, they have employees that don't know everything there is know about their computers. Of course they don't - I don't expect them too either. But until they do, their technical support will never be perfect and customers will almost always be unhappy with their technical questions. Not all situations are going to have bad results, but many of them will not be good.. resulting in hours on the phone or improperly answered / unanswered questions.

    Overall, Compaq is just like the rest of them anymore. So to say Compaq is crap isn't really accurate if you compare them to the rest of what is out there... But bad reputations linger and Compaq definitely earned that reputation with many of their computers practices before 2001. As far as other manufacturers go, its the same story for most. But if you're the average consumer, these computers do just fine.

    Bottom line for recent times:
    Compaq cuts corners. They make an affordable budget PC. But you'll pay unnecessarily through the nose for a mid-high or high-end workstation / gaming station. Compaq "standards" aren't always industry standard and they load unecessary software (trial versions, support & utiilties) which have the potential to cause slowness and compatability issues. And lastly, their tech support is just like any other "over-seas" support - Not always great... and not even good many of the times. But they are friendly and if you have a situation where you need to send it back, there's usually little fuss.
  3. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    While I feel the same way in many respects, I have to admit that my experiences with Compaq support have been above and beyond. I've been working with Compaq Proliant servers and Presario workstations and Evo laptops for over 5 years now in multiple enviroments and while I have had more than my fair share of incidents and failures (particularly the DL360), I've always been satisfied to impressed with their customer service. Most replacement parts arrive next business day and include return shipping for the defective part. And while they will always start from the beginning on a troubleshoot (can't blame them), they'll stick it out for hours to get your issue resolved.

    I'm not doubting that someone has had a bad experience with them, but in 5 years I've yet to have a problem.
  4. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 435

    lucky, i guess

    I'm not alone, at least. I had not a single hardware failure, not a single BSOD; and, yes, there were some games, etc., that were a pain, but I quickly learned how to "delete." My support experience with them was as Panic said; troubleshoot first, but no effort was spared til the situation was resolved.

    Rick: the pre-installed hardware was an ASUS CDR-RW, which is excellent, and still in use on this system. The HDD was an Ultra DMA Western Digital Caviar WD800BB, @ 7200 rpm; it is now the boot drive for the system I put together for my mom. The DVD ROM was generic, I guess, but worked fine til I upgraded to dual-layer. The MSI (not exactly garage sale mat'l, is it?) is in storage awaiting a processor to begin a new life. ( your questions- it came with an AC97 onboard audio chip, which didn't stay long, because I love music, and Intel Extreme 3D Graphics (onboard) which was entirely sufficient, as I don't game, in the Forum sense of the term)

    What you said about proprietary hardware is true to an extent- pins broke off the power switch, and it was cheaper to buy a case than to find and ship a compatible one. AND----- because I didn't know any better, I ended up with the trial NORTON AV, which took this noob a month of search and downloads to finally excise, so another program would function properly.

    All in all, for $500, and considering an excellent monitor (nothing to do with Compaq, of course), CD drive, mobo, and better-than-average support, and considering the progeny from the system, I'd say I truly got a "bargain" from Compaq :angel:
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Yeah, that's not so bad. :grinthumb

    I just put the above post up for argument, but I don't really have any bad feelings toward Compaq (Not anymore at least! hehe!). Back in the day, Compaq really did some great injustice. I think this image has stuck with them.

    You'll notice they skimped on your audio and video - Most companies do. There's other components too that a picky nerd like myself might nit pick on (Like a JB instead of that BB Western Digital. ;)), but it is satisfactory for most people and they know that. Luckily, their computers have become reasonably upgradable. This didn't use to be the case 'back in the day. :blush:

    My experiences with tech support haven't been treacherous (although I did have one really bad foul up), but I've certainly had a couple of bad apples. I'm a very patient and forgiving person, so I don't hold it against them. The customers I've dealt with aren't so pleasant though. :p

    I think I've heard or been involved with just about every Compaq horror story there is. I'd be interested in seeing if someone can post one I haven't seen. :giddy:
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    First of all, Compaq is HP. Has been for three years now. When you get a Compaq computer then it's really a HP computer with Compaq logo on it.

    Presario is a consumer product line. You always get crap when you buy consumer products. Most of the time they are just some white box Taiwanese things with a new paint job and a brand name sticker on them. When you are getting a ready-built system, always look in the enterprise product lines.

    A major OEM can afford selling crap to consumers - nothing a small ad campaign won't fix. What they cannot afford is selling crap to big customers - when GE loses $100m in repair costs because you sold them a crappy system.. Let's say you won't be the one shipping them 20 000 boxes next year.

    So, always take the (more expensive) business model - it will have better parts, better engineering and better support.
  7. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    compaq and the other big makers are out for one thing - the consumers money. they're not interested in making a qualkity product that gives someone thier money's worth. how do you think they're turning a profit selling complete systems for under $400?

    as a technician i mostly deal with business networks. but i still do a lot of work in PC construction/repair. i have to deal with OEM builds frequently and they aren't anything those commercials should be bragging about.
  8. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 435

    need list

    zephead- please, so
    i'll know, which computer companies, peripheral mfrs, hardware mfrs are NOT in it for the money? I will buy from them, exclusively. :D
  9. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    oh, they're all there to make money. it just that some rip off the consumer and take advantage of unknowledgeable people.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,160   +599

    BRAVO Rick :grinthumb This is a great post! Sure like to see more like this :)
  11. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    to be honest, the worst excuse for a computer i've ever dealt with were sony vaio's. compaq is a close second though...

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