Weekend Open Forum: Your most regretted tech purchase?

By on March 16, 2012, 7:00 PM

The tech industry has an unmatched propensity for causing buyer's remorse. Gadgets are meticulously engineered so they appeal to both the hedonist and the utilitarian, while annual refreshes ensure that you're always one step behind the curve. It's a formula that generally works well enough: you're regularly supplied with new toys and companies get to report record earnings.

However, it's only a matter of time before even the most prudent shopper gets burned -- be it their own fault or not. Whether you invested in tech that didn't pan out (like HD-DVD), built a new computer weeks before a major generational shift, splurged on a "luxury" item or have an unboxed iPad 2 in your closet, we're sure all of you have at least one tech purchase you wish you never made.

Besides preordering the occasional dud (Dragon Age II most recently), I think the Thermaltake Tai-Chi is my most regretted purchase. Although it's served me well over the last seven years, it doesn't have any of the trappings you'd expect from a modern enthusiast chassis. Yet, because it cost about $450, I feel guilty replacing it. I probably would've been better off with a $100-$200 case.

User Comments: 129

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Leeky Leeky said:

My most regretted recent purchase... Replacing my GTX280 with a 1GB GTX460 without researching the difference as the purchase was made on a whim.

It lasted a day before being replaced by my old GPU, and I then sold it off for a profit -- at least financially it didn't hurt me.

There's probably others, but I don't recall them right now.

treetops treetops said:

I regret going with a fan cooling system instead of water cooling iv spent more then enough replacing fans in the last 3 years that I could have got a very low budget water cooling system for my video card\cpu. I regret more then a few game purchases especially post apoc mayhem had took about 5 hours to find a multiplayer game a few weeks after release. hard truck is another. Then there is halo reach and modern warefare 2, just not my cup of tea and cost me 60$ a pop. Also the xbox 360 i bought from ebay about a year ago for about 100$, couldnt really find any games i liked ended up lending it to my little bro until who knows.

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

I don't regret any of my hardware purchases because they were well thought-out at the time of my purchase, particularly with budget limits in mind.

However, pretty much every major 60 dollar title that I've willingly purchased has been a big let-down. Buying Crysis before it went on sale was one of my bigger regrets in recent memory, and I've gained a much tighter hold over my wallet ever since.

MrAnderson said:

Buying a ViewSonic gTablet... it has good hardware but if I want to take advantage I'm going to have to put roms on it myself which sounded like fun... but I totally lost motivation...

I would pay ViewSonic to take the time to update the OS... no more than 25 bucks to move everyone to ICS though since it is not like they have to write the entire OS... just test and tweak...

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Ha, you caught me there with HD-DVD, I still have that Xbox add-on laying around which serves no real purpose today. Another big and costly fail was a Sony 10" ultraportable that I loved at first, but a few weeks later and I regretted buying as it was too small for real productivity.

Other failed purchases: a couple of Palm PDAs that I barely used back in the day, and an iPhone 4 that took months until I could properly unlock and use. Add to this list numerous games that I bought on an impulse but never got around playing.

TrevDog said:

I regret buying a Zip drive. I waffled back and forth between a larger hard drive or the Zip and the Zip made sense for only a very short time. It really opened my eyes to how fast technology advances.

daweimon said:

Bought an i7 960 based computer just after the current gen came out. Don't really know what I was thinking about at the time.

Guest said:

WORST Tech Purchase - Android HTC Inspire for AT&T... Followed by AMD CPU's. WORST TECH Decision: Getting a Google Account, followed by Facebook. Never again... for any of these.

ChadFM said:

Picked up a Palm Pre on contract, just before HP's buyout of Palm was announced. Bad move.

Scorpionking20 said:

Mass Effect 3. Worst letdown for me ever, and I spent 80 on the deluxe edition. The game was great, but the ending ruined years of experience for me.

Guest said:

My worst would probably be an HD-DVD player.

Guest said:

Windows Me.

mrtraver said:

I made some poor choices for my first PC build (2005) that i regretted for years. I did lots of research on pricing, and bought components from multiple sources, but I didn't make the wisest choices for the components themselves. I spent too much on a motherboard and RAM with overclocking capabilities that I never used, and on a 74GB Raptor, but not enough on GPU and CPU.

But, that PC is still running, although in a different case and with a fanless radeon hd5450 replacing the geforce 6600GT that died. I am still using the same case (Thermaltake Tsunami Dream) and raptor for my current build.

I also regret buying a refurbished dell laptop 10 or 12 years ago. i thought that since i could play games on my PII-350 with a GeForce 2 MX, I could also play the same ones on the dell with a PII-400 with more RAM (256mb!). I didn't know enough to realize that integrated graphics sucked!

Guest said:

iPod touch, what a waste.

cptmds said:

Buying a Dell Dimension 3000 in early 2005...and not realizing that the video card in my PII 400MHz was better than what the Dell came with.

It still runs (with a PCI (!!!) GeForce 5550), and now serves as a Linux server, but I still regret having wasted $1000. If only I had gone down the street to the local computer store...I would have got a lot more for the same price.

Thinking SLI = 2x the performance, with none of the bugs. Boy was I wrong.

And the ViewSonic LCD screen that is currently making a high-pitch whining noise right in front of me.

EEatGDL said:

Two regrets in different ocassions: first one was when I built my first PC from zero [lack of experience choosing components] about 8-9 years ago -I was 11-12 yo- when I picked a mobo D102GCC2 from Intel for saving $20 USD from a mobo that had dual-channel memory and supported C2 processors. I regreted it for 2 main points: very noisy and hot with both P4 and PD and a huge bottleneck of a single channel 2 GB @533 MHz of DDR2 memory (max memory and frequency supported by the mobo).

And the second regret: buying Vista 64-bits for its full price ~4 years ago even after the SP1 was launched. Later I took a student's promotion for upgrading to W7 Pro 64-bits for only $30 USD and I haven't regreted it.

aspleme said:

I'd say I probably have two purchases I can think of that fall into the regret category.

The first was a couple years ago, I got a Sony Cybershot 7.2 Megapixel camera after reading reviews about its performance and considering how much better it would be than my old 2 Megapixel Toshiba camera. However, I'm still not happy with its low light level performance and expect to pay more attention when making my next camera purchase. I'll probably either get something with a 4/3 sensor, a DSLR, or some other improved sensor (looking into CCD instead of CMOS).

The other purchase was the Kindle Fire. I have a Nook Touch but I've yet to get a smartphone and the idea of watching movies, browsing the web, remote access of my desktop, and apps (especially games), was appealing. However, coming to realize how limited the Amazon apps selection was because of all the hardware they didn't bother to include in the Fire made me decide it wasn't worth it so I returned it. (Nice of Best Buy to have their special on items that let me buy the Fire in November and return it in January for a full refund.)

Guest said:

Similar to the article author I regret buying my Silverstone Temjin 05 case. It was a great case at the time but it was expensive and it's thoroughly dated when compared to modern tool-less design cases. It's also overkill in terms of size and expandability.

I also regret buying high-end graphics cards (anything over £250), when you get better value and performance overall by buying £100 mid-range cards on a more regular basis instead.

I sort of regret buying my second generation Drobo, when the Drobo FS came out around a year later and is a much more useful device. It's still not ideal though (could use 10GbE instead of GbE) so hopefully I can just wait out for a better version in the future instead.

Guest said:

Voodoo 5.

3DFX went out of business soon after launch. No further driver support, or developer support. Great hardware that nothing took advantage of.

If I remember correct, it was at least $300. The performance that would buy today....

PaulWuzHere PaulWuzHere said:

The Tai-Chi is amazing! PM me and I'll take it off your hands for $200

On topic, most regrettable tech purchase was the iPhone 3g, what a piece of junk...

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

IOmega Jaz Drive horrrid little green POS and the 8 Micropolis 500meg SCSI 50pin HD's I had 5 months of animation saved to.. anyone who knows about Micropolis will understand my pain.

rvnwlfdroid said:

I would have to say my Denon LA-2150K Karaoke and Laserdisc player. It was a great product but a very short life span. As in Laserdisc itself was not around very long. I?m remembering it costing around $1,400 and then about a year later spending another $1,000 for a DVD player back in 97. At least the dvd format is still around.

TheLok said:

Worst was a late 90's Acer CD burner, would coaster disks 75% of the time, guarantee failure if the screen saver came on or if you moved the mouse too quickly.

Second, LS120 Superdisk.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Mine? Buying a Sempron maybe. But I didn't really regret it, after seeing how my PC was still faster than my friends' Phenom X3. Haha.

What I really regret was not waiting for the Sandy Bridge. But still, that wouldn't hav made much difference, seeing the budget I was on.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My worst tech purchase was the Asus Transformer Prime. That tablet is an absolute disaster. Thankfully Amazon took it back, and fully refunded my money including the shipping. I took that money, and put it towards my best tech purchase in a long time, a Nikon D5100 kit, and some good glass to go with it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

For me, a slam dunk for worst tech purchase would have to be two(!) JVC S-VHS VCRs! OK, I used to sell JVC, was able to get it @ 1/2 price, bought a couple of pieces on employee purchase terms. Their stuff never seemed to meet spec, do what they claimed it would, or even last very long. I wound up selling every piece I bought in a month or so.

That said, I don't know why I though it would be different walking off the street as a "civilian" and buying these two turds. One broke in a couple of months. The other I simply stopped using, and went back to my Toshiba VCRs.

In my own defense I'd like to point out that DVD recorders, (free standing) were about a $1000,00 at the time.

My "second worst tech purchase", would be long and storied list, which would probably do me irreparable emotional harm by recanting it to you.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Zalman HD160 HTPC case. The airflow around the hard disks and expansion cards is woeful.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Ha, you caught me there with HD-DVD, I still have that Xbox add-on laying around which serves no real purpose today. Another big and costly fail was a Sony 10" ultraportable that I loved at first, but a few weeks later and I regretted buying as it was too small for real productivity.

Other failed purchases: a couple of Palm PDAs that I barely used back in the day, and an iPhone 4 that took months until I could properly unlock and use. Add to this list numerous games that I bought on an impulse but never got around playing.

I got the Toshiba HD-A2? player when Walmart dropped it to somewhere around $100. I still use it though, you used to be able to get some really cheap HD-DVDs from inetvideo.com, I also got Planet Earth as a gift on HD-DVD it looks amazing, so it still gets some play. When I bought it, HD-DVD wasn't looking as strong as Bluray, but it certainly wasn't out of the fight yet.

I have a Palm PDA from Christmas 1998, it got very little use. Still have it. Haven't even tried to use it for anything since about mid 1999. Felt kind of bad about it because it was a gift that my parents thought I'd use, but I just couldn't find a legitimate use for it.

Not exactly in line with what the theme is here, but I bought some rechargeable NiZn batteries a while back. 1.6V, similar capacity to most NiMH rechargeables, sounded too good to be true and it was. They worked fantastic in my Canon S3-IS camera, I could take pics with a flash as quick as I wanted, but after a couple months one of the 4 died, making them useless in my camera. Shortly after another died. Only one works now, and the charger requires pairs to charge.

gooderguy gooderguy said:

Bought a Packard Bell 386SX for $3000 in 1993, then a month later I spent $250 on a Sound Blaster card, then just a couple weeks after that my hard drive died and they refused to warranty it because I had opened the case to install the sound card, so I had to fork out another $250 for a 60MB hard drive.

That's also when I learned about proprietary systems that you couldn't upgrade easily. Went with clones after that and ever since for desktops.

TrevDog said:

Double dinger at a small office where I help out - Eight years ago they were using an Onstream USB30 30GB External USB tape drive which was starting to fail. Onstream was virtually dead, and they decided to try a brand new product, the Iomega REV35. The convenience it offered outweighed the $500 it cost. It was fast, compact, and came with simple backup software. It was a snap to set up, and easy for them to manage. Sadly, REV failed just outside of warranty and repair was more than the drive + 2 cartridges. They now have nice backup coverage with internal RAID and external hard drives hidden from burglars.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Let's just hope I'm not going to regret buying a Radeon HD 5550. I've put too much effort into reading reviews.

Guest said:

A LeadTek GeForce 5950 Ultra...I spent $550 dollars on it only to have it become obsolete 1 month later...FML

Guest said:

Microsoft Sidewinder X6 keyboard. It had some awesome ideas and features but the execution was just terrible. The slightly smaller than normal layout and placement of the Esc key was bad. And then there was the ghosting. My god, I would encounter the ghosting every single time I played CoD 4.

But I really loved the volume and lighting dials on it, and the removable numpad was pretty cool.

If they re-released an updated X6 with a standard layout and made the numpad wireless or had a cable from the main keyboard body to the numpad so you could sit it on your desk away from the main keyboard body I would buy it if my mind wasn't now set on something mechanical.

MCJeeba said:

Apple iPad. First generation. Bought it for the hell of it. "used" it for about a week. For another year, it sat on top of my fridge waiting to be awoken just for Netflix while I was cooking. Finally sold it on craigslist. Only lost $200 on it. Not too bad.

Then again, most of my tech purchases are bad purchase simply because 90% of the time, it's something I absolutely do not need. Example: I have a desktop PC with an eyefinity setup, that I've invested over 3,500 dollars into... And 5 laptops. Asus G74, Asus G51vx, Samsung, Macbook and Macbook Air.


Losing His Mind

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Almost every android phone I've owned (amongst them Galaxy S/HTC Sensation) due to performance/stability issues; so if I didn't have a secondary smartphone I'd be feeling pretty ruined but thankfully I usually use my droids for work cell sim and can turn it off

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

A $800 Dell 2709W monitor, it had over 50ms input lag and was thus usless for fast paced FPS games, it made me write this article: [link]

I've made other small mistakes, like buying a 7800GT and than like a month later the 7900GT was released, but I upgraded anyway and sold the old one at not a bad loss...

Another thing which really put me off was trying RAID5 on my Maximus Formula (ICH9R) it was simply useless and after a while I gave up and bought a real nice $500 RAID controller.

But the thing is it would have been much cheaper to just buy another harddrive and run RAID-1 instead of RAID5

Captain828 Captain828 said:

I regret buying a Samsung 226BW monitor: over-saturated colors, poor viewing angles, crappy stand and backlight bleeding, and it wasn't very cheap either.

Replaced that with a Dell U2410.

To TS staff: would be cool to see next week-end's WOF about the best tech purchase made

Guest said:

Dual AMD Athlon MP's for a desktop system

Guest said:

apple ipad 2 two month ago

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Really Matt, if you had seen my draft for the mod I told you about at the time you bought that case, you surely wouldn't have bought it. Antec-like performance for $32!

Guest said:

N97 Worst Let down ever... Fake pub made me choose the N97 over the omnia HD. I would have chosen. Now I'm happy with my Droid SGSII.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

8800 Ultra upon release, 799usd, nuff said.

Guest said:

Bought 2x512 MB RAM for an old ThinkPad X30. Both expensive (100 USD) and incompatible! Also, the Cooler Master Sileo 500. Poor construction quality, it cut my finger during the built. Not worth the money.

franxalot said:

Ditto on the ZIP drive. Should have realized that the name told it all...

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hitachi 1TB HDD, RMAed 2 weeks ago and still no reply. Had it for few months ...

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Anything made by HP (a cd burner, digital camera and two printers), everything broke down a week after warranty expired.

Guest said:

Anything made by Apple. My iPod has been replaced twice, and can no longer be charged through USB. It truly is crapware. OSX in any form is an incompatibility nightmare.

Buying high end CPUs is ridiculous; now they are outshone by Celerons. Future proofing computers in general sounds like a joke. I have flushed money down the drain buying high end components in general.

In the future I will buy the components I find adequate at the time and that are the most power efficient.

The case and power supply are ironically the most enduring investments. A beautiful case could remain beautiful. Old outdated components are foul more often than not.

hitech0101 said:

Regret buying a Avermedia t.v. tuner very difficult to get it working also placed very close to the gpu blocking its fan.Hence a waste of money.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Anything made by HP (a cd burner, digital camera and two printers), everything broke down a week after warranty expired.

Manufacturers usually calculate the average time their products run without a hitch, and set that as a warranty period. That way, they know that if anything breaks down, it'll be after the warranty expires, and so they won't be bothered. Money saving policy, you see?

I mean, they can't be that helpful now, can they?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Paid £40 for a graphic tablet once (I think that's what it was called at the time): One of those big pads with a pen that graphic designers use. Problem for me though was it was just a cheap-ass thing and gave me nothing but BSODs and headaches.

Returned it after 2 week. Worst thing I've ever bought for its money.

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