Puget Systems' List of Most Reliable PC Hardware

By Matt Bach on February 7, 2014, 1:34 AM

We've all been there. You want to buy a new graphics card, you read the reviews, and settle on the best GPU within your budget. Then you have to decide from half dozen or so manufacturers that offer nearly identical hardware. But which is the most reliable? Perhaps you simply go with the brand that has worked well for you in the past or the one that is more attractively priced at the moment.

The same scenario could be applied to other components like motherboards, storage or memory. That's why when we found this annual list compiled by boutique PC manufacturer Puget Systems we asked them to reproduce it for you. It's by no means comprehensive, as they try to stick with the most reliable parts they come across, but it could serve as a guide for future purchases...

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 40

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1 person liked this | Guest said:

Hmm. Why is it I have this feeling that most of these products have a low failure rate because nobody buys them?

Guest said:

Exactly what I was wondering.

"The 8GB version does have a fairly high failure rate at almost .5%, but we decided to include it since this .5% actually only equates to a single stick having failed."

20 sticks sold in one year that get into a statistic? Makes you wonder how statistically significant is the data in this article. Without absolute sales number for each product the information is meaningless. Also handpicking a few preferred partners and selling only their products makes you question the data presented.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Sorry, I meant 200 sticks but can't edit the post.

The idea is: if the sales are not in the thousands, they are irrelevant as batches can vary, one good batch can be followed by a bad one etc.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Hmm. Why is it I have this feeling that most of these products have a low failure rate because nobody buys them?

If few were sold then ANY single failure would actually represent a sizeable percentage...and just for the record, from an earlier iteration of the article:

We reached out to Puget Systems founder Jon Bach to find out which other brands his company tried and were told it gave volume orders to OCZ, Corsair, and Patriot at one point or another. Based on a sample size of 3,000 to 4,000 PCs for each of those brands

Hardly an insignificant sample size.

BiceBolje BiceBolje said:

I am chocked at WD Blue line of destkop and their 0% failure rate.

It must be that they send crap versions to Balkans. We included Blue disks in our systems, and just last year we had some 4-5 failures, bad sectors mostly. That is just a desktop line. We had some notebook drives changed and people would bring it in after just month of use, bad sectors again. So we opted for Black edition, and some Seagate drives. Black has 5 year warranty, so that is another factor, Blue has just 2 years, but most of them fail.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I am chocked at WD Blue line of destkop and their 0% failure rate.

It must be that they send crap versions to Balkans.

Well, look on the bright side...the Balkans must get the pick of the litter in Seagate drives if you're bagging WD [link] .

So we opted for Black edition, and some Seagate drives.

BiceBolje BiceBolje said:

Well, I didn't put hundreds of Blue drives or Seagate drives... but really, Seagate has never returned. Blue on other hand, desktop or notebook... oh man, we stopped buying them. That is why I am shocked (not choked, apparently).

Oh, I forgot, I started with Samsung Spinpoint desktop drives for now, last year and this year. So we'll see, none has returned so far.

BiceBolje BiceBolje said:

And yes, most of the disk I am talking about are 500GB versions.

gobbybobby said:

The reason I don't buy new games consoles at launch is because they are generally luck to survive 2 years. But for PC components I usually check reviews. And if it does fail then its covered under EU law for 2 years so whatever. Never had a component fail apart from a power supply although the lan on my current foxconn motherboard blue screens when enabled. Tried different versions of windows and drivers. Is likely a driver issue not hardware I get around by using wireless.

1 person liked this | tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I guess this test is done with the supplies on hand. Failure rates base on usage or demand of use.

WD Blue HDD do fail a lot more I still buy them though. WD Green not a fan of them to me they're slower than the WD Blue of course to save powder. PSU (power supply unit) in time they have to be replaced they too fail. There is no hardware that doesn't fail today. MOBO (motherboard), video cards, nic card, memory stick an etc. They can all fail at anytime. So when they fail you replace the part. Just like vehicle parts wear out or fail. You replace them with new parts.

Server, Workstation, Desktop, Laptop, Netbook, Tablet, and Smartphone. All these could fail parts or the entire device itself. Just don't know when something might happen. When it does just have to trouble shoot the issue on hand. Hardware or Software. .

If you take care of system the failure rate is less, but even if you do take care of it. Hardware or software glitches are lurking around. CPU and heat sink. These two should be check yearly to see if the silver gel is still snug. Most overlook these two. If the silver gel is dried up or cracked then the CPU going to not get enough cooling and start to over heat and shut the system down on you. Also the heat sink blades get filled up with dust then tends to clog-up. Again the system needs to be checked every 6 months if you just go it or using the system under heavy usage.

psycros psycros said:

A little secret..with a BIOS tweak most of those WD green drives magically become blue. Its not hard to Google.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

A little secret..with a BIOS tweak most of those WD green drives magically become blue. Its not hard to Google.

Only if the BIOS has the feature in it. Most of the BIOS today is crippled.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have a WD Black 640GB about to run out of warranty time and is still running strong and a WD Blue 500GB that's a year or so out of band but still chugging along. Those were the last two HDDs sub 1TB I've bought in a while. I've never had failure with a sub 1TB drive in the 15 years I've been buying drives *knock on wood*, they simply got replaced and then donated/target practice from increased storage needs. A mix of Seagate and WD 1TB drives had me burned for a while, and after a circuit board fire on a seagate I swore never again for them (for personal use anyways). Of 1TB+ drives, Samsung F1 and F4 drives were rock solid, I miss buying them. Trying out some 3TB Toshibas; one showed some bad sectors from the start but it used remapped some space and has been holding strong since.

At work however, they have TONS of WD Caviars and Seagate Baracudas and they constantly drop out of the sky (even newer ones). Good thing we've kept all the "spares" that come out of systems whose motherboards have failed. =p

Tmagic650 Tmagic650, TS Ambassador, said:

"I am chocked at WD Blue line of destkop and their 0% failure rate"... Me too! WD's Blue line of desktop and laptop drives are crap to be sure, and like others have said, this article is really meaningless

Railman said:

It would have been interesting to know which makes failed to make the grade. You could ignore a manufacturer solely because Puget had never tested their product which had it been tested might have topped the reliability chart.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

It would have been interesting to know which makes failed to make the grade.

You want a comprehensive run down on failure rates from manufacturers? In the real world, those numbers are never made public. It is economic and strategically sensitive data for the companies involved.

If you want some inkling, then I'd suggest you check through user reviews at Newegg and other large (r)etailers - verified ownership only of course.

The closest you'll get to being spoon-fed numbers that require no effort to acquire is Marc Prieur's periodic articles of return rates for a large French etailer for Hardware France / BeHardware. Bear in mind that these are return rates, and NOT failure/warranty rates.

JC713 JC713 said:

I am chocked at WD Blue line of destkop and their 0% failure rate.

It must be that they send crap versions to Balkans. We included Blue disks in our systems, and just last year we had some 4-5 failures, bad sectors mostly. That is just a desktop line. We had some notebook drives changed and people would bring it in after just month of use, bad sectors again. So we opted for Black edition, and some Seagate drives. Black has 5 year warranty, so that is another factor, Blue has just 2 years, but most of them fail.

I am not surprised one bit. I have recommended WD drives and used them personally for years and they are very reliable.

Mike Steele Mike Steele said:

I definitely agree with kingston ram, samsung and western digital. I have a pretty awesome msi motherboard, it's also good to see asus getting their shit together again...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As one member pointed out with the difference in opinion on the WD Blue drives. I'm betting a different merchant has different mileage. While it is nice to see these facts from one stand point, I still wouldn't bank on them being better than those items not listed. This is after all just one merchant in a long list of merchants. Until now I had not even heard of Puget, perhaps the rock I've been under is larger than I thought.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Maxtor HDD were my favorite before Segate had taken them over then the Maxtor HDD was never the same. WD Blue I had purchased a lot of 1TB in 2010, 2011, 2012. Only two still working in NAS. The WD Red are too expensive track record is too new to see how well they would hold up WD Black more stable. The WD Green Over heats. The last WD Blue I have here this year are built in 2013 They do not have the shiny metal more black in color. I'll have to see how they do.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Until now I had not even heard of Puget, perhaps the rock I've been under is larger than I thought.

That's the thing about Alzheimer's- every day is a learning experience (check out the third post). Puget are one of the larger boutique builders- they predate Maingear and Digital Storm. Maybe not as iconic (and old a brand) as Alienware, VoodooPC, or Falcon Northwest, but they do a substantial range of pro and client systems. Didn't realize they did laptops though.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That's the thing about Alzheimer's- every day is a learning experience (check out the third post).
LOL

Experimentongod said:

I like to see Kingston and Asus in the list, it's what I usually buy. On hard drives I used to buy WD but I've switched to Seagate and no problems so far apart from having to use an utility to disable the crazy drive head parking (fingers crossed).

pmshah said:

So has AMD sorted out their USB problems ? For that matter even Intel is no better. Only way that I can connect a port powered USB 2 drive is through a powered hub. Connect more than 2 on Intel and you start having dropouts. AMD would disconnect repeatedly aprt from the fact that it would not recognise even USB 2 flash drives that otherwise work flawlessly. I would settle for VIA reliability any day over performance. I have clients with anywhere from 4 to 8 year old via based systems, running 10 - 12 hours a day, 6 days a week - which have not needed anything but battery replacements.

Evilcrusher Evilcrusher said:

The problem with this review is that TechSpot got its data from a company that pretty much only gave reviews on the products that they sell (Puget). They only sell MSI and ASUS boards and Kingston ram. To anybody who is somewhat savvy, they know that Gigabyte boards aren't bad compared to those 2 boards mentioned, and that when it comes to performance and quality, Corsair is the way to go with ram. Kingston isn't bad, but this comes off to me a giant ad to get Puget's stock pushed out and sold to people who don't know any better, which is really the purpose of this article educating people who don't know any better.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

The problem with this review is that

...it isn't a review? and is in fact just some information correlated and published by Puget on their own site that TS is reprinting here for the edification of its readership?

but this comes off to me a giant ad to get Pugent's stock pushed out and sold to people who don't know any better, which is really the purpose of this article educating people who don't know any better.

Well done. That actually makes no sense whatsoever.

If it were to publicize Puget, don't you think that the article might have mentioned model lineups, prices, warranties, and feature sets rather than a list of parts that aren't made by Puget, and are readily available to anyone at a retail sales outlet?

The fact that you couldn't even be bothered to check the original link or spell the companies name correctly leads me to believe that if this were an ad campaign, then it certainly missed the mark.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, my eMachines T-5026 is going to turn 9 (!) on Valentine's Day, with the OEM 160GB WD "Caviar Blue", still purring away. And that baby has seen enough smut to put an entire herd of grandmothers in their graves with heart attacks.

I find it hard to imagine why no "Gigabyte" mobos boards scored as reliable. It really seems this company's buying selection is prejudiced at the outset.

The only two actual parts failures I've experienced in the past 9 years and 6 PCs, was one stick of house brand DDR-2 (garbage from the now defunct "CompUSA" , and the Bestec PSU from the eMachines, which lasted all of 6 months.

(I'm not counting optical drive failures, of which it seems like about 125% fail...:eek .

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Well, my eMachines T-5026 is going to turn 9 (!) on Valentine's Day, with the OEM 160GB WD "Caviar Blue", still purring away. And that baby has seen enough smut to put an entire herd of grandmothers in their graves with heart attacks.

How apropos!

I find it hard to imagine why no "Gigabyte" mobos boards scored as reliable. It really seems this company's buying selection is prejudiced at the outset.

Yep, damn boutique system builders! It's as though they've deliberately streamlined their purchasing contracts in order to possibly place larger single orders at the expense of buying piecemeal from a wide range of ODM/OEMs. Unless it was to achieve a bulk buy discount, or maintain continuity of product I can see no reason why this might be advantageous.

The only two actual parts failures I've experienced in the past 9 years and 6 PCs, was one stick of house brand DDR-2 (garbage from the now defunct "CompUSA" , and the Bestec PSU from the eMachines, which lasted all of 6 months.

Not a bad strike rate. I think my recent record is:

1 x Gigabyte motherboard (warped + heatsink not secured)

1 x Asus motherboard (faulty front panel header)

1 x EVGA motherboard (stability problems)

1 x Seasonic 1050 watt X-1050 PSU ( faulty on/off rocker switch)

1 x Corsair TX 750W PSU (excessive ripple)

3 x Corsair RAM kits ( 2 Vengeance LP kits, 1 Dominator GT)

2 x Crucial Ballistix RAM kits

2 x LiteOn DVD drives

1 x XFX HD 5850 Black Edition (failing vRAM -artifacting)

1 x Sapphire HD 5850 Toxic 2GB (failed VRM)

1 x Reference HD 5970 (failed VRM)

1 x Laing D5 Strong/790N pump (bearing wear/failure)

1 x WD Red -first revision

2 x Seagate Barracuda XT

1 x Seagate Constellation

I use WD (primarily Black and RE) drives almost exclusively. Asus, Gigabyte, and EVGA motherboards, Crucial and Corsair RAM. Graphics tend to be whatever is flavour of the month.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

How apropos!
Indeed....."kismet".

Yep, damn boutique system builders! It's as though they've deliberately streamlined their purchasing contracts in order to possibly place larger single orders at the expense of buying piecemeal from a wide range of ODM/OEMs. Unless it was to achieve a bulk buy discount, or maintain continuity of product I can see no reason why this might be advantageous.
And I quite agree, it is very sound business practice. From a statistical standpoint though.......it's rather......."inbred"!:oops:

I use WD (primarily Black and RE) drives almost exclusively. Asus, Gigabyte, and EVGA motherboards, Crucial and Corsair RAM. Graphics tend to be whatever is flavour of the month.
Almost anything of mine that dies will be of old age, attrition, or lack of use. With 6 computers and a laptop in the house, and only one of me, maybe the computers will simply die of boredom...

Believe it or notas you see fit but, my 320GB (Single platter) Seagate Barracuda outscores WD Blue or Black in WEI (I suppose that's the original FWIW).I'ts maybe a hair quieter than WDs as well

Although, I generally spring for the WD, "Black" drives, when I can afford them. My latest creation got a 600GB WD "Velociraptor", for the system drive. Them thar SSD dee-vah-sez just a ain't been a proven yet.

Anyhow, I hope you bought enough memory a while ago, irrespective of brand. I bought a 4 x 4GB set of "GSkill", stuffed 2 sticks in my latest machine, figured that's enough, and saved 2 sticks as spares, or the next install. $75.00 for the kit, now the 8GB x 2 kit is $135.00. The price on a 16GB kit has been going up almost 5 bucks a month, for about the past year....

I still want somebody to explain the difference between "supply & demand", and "price gouging" to me. Considering the manufacturers decide not to make more of something, when there's "enough" around. Which is technically creating the "shortage", in the first place. Of course, here in the colonies NE of you, big pharma does the exact same s***, but with cancer medications, (at least with a couple of cancer drugs whose patent had expired).

Railman said:

I agree memory prices are far too high. I am wondering should I go for 16Gb now or just 8Gb on the basis the prices may fall.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Anyhow, I hope you bought enough memory a while ago, irrespective of brand. I bought a 4 x 4GB set of "GSkill", stuffed 2 sticks in my latest machine, figured that's enough, and saved 2 sticks as spares, or the next install. $75.00 for the kit, now the 8GB x 2 kit is $135.00. The price on a 16GB kit has been going up almost 5 bucks a month, for about the past year....

The same issue affects sourcing replacement low-mileage/new PATA hard drives for old systems, since the only other option - an IDE to SATA converter- is about as reliable (and easy to locate) as governmental fiscal responsibility.

I haven't actually bought much in the way of RAM to be honest unless it's to replace faulty sticks in customers machines. Any I've fitted personally (new builds) are Crucial or Corsair for the most part, and both companies have lifetime warranty for replacement - Crucial went so far as to send me replacement sticks and offered to let me keep the RMA kits (of which only stick usually bits the dust). Most of my other RAM buys are second hand dirt cheap DDR-333/-400 sticks for 10-year old Dell/HP/Compaq's customers use for online poker/porn/downloading/facebook.

Faulty DDR2 modules mean a treasure hunt of epic proportions here- to the point where the choice boils down taking your chances with an online auction or starting a new build if the RAM being sought is for a mainboard with limited compatibility choices.

I still want somebody to explain the difference between "supply & demand", and "price gouging" to me. Considering the manufacturers decide not to make more of something, when there's "enough" around. Which is technically creating the "shortage", in the first place. Of course, here in the colonies NE of you, big pharma does the exact same s***, but with cancer medications, (at least with a couple of cancer drugs whose patent had expired).

The situation here is much the same- and with a smaller population, import and distribution approach (if they haven't already reached) monopolistic levels thanks to the hand-in-glove relationship the government has with certain conglomerates.

Guest said:

I have a Puget Sound PC and I love it! It's vastly quieter (mini Serenity) and much better built than my previously purchased custom PC. Before I bought a SSD, I asked Puget Sound Technical Support why they listed the Samsung 840 Pro instead of the Samsung 840 EVO for my Serenity. For Puget, it was all about speed, warranty length, and availability (Pro predates EVO). They didn't try to sell me a Pro SSD or try to convince me to ship my Serenity to them for SSD upgrade.

I upgraded my Serenity's SSD over the weekend and got to see what a tidy and tight job Puget Sound had done with the case wiring.

I don't think I saw it mentioned in the article, but I think noise levels drive many of their hardware decisions. If your company's niche is building quiet PC's, then that limits your hardware selections.

Puget Sound PC's are expensive, but they are well built and quiet.

Railman said:

Asus do seem to have a good reputation but I have not had a good experience with them. Two Asus products I purchased a DVD ROM and a motherboard both failed just after the warranty period. I may have been unlucky. On the other hand the two Gigabyte motherboards I had one failed after 9 years and the other retired due to obsolescence.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Asus do seem to have a good reputation but I have not had a good experience with them. Two Asus products I purchased a DVD ROM and a motherboard both failed just after the warranty period. I may have been unlucky. On the other hand the two Gigabyte motherboards I had one failed after 9 years and the other retired due to obsolescence.
This article is as inconclusive as the article on HDD failures.

In this case, Puget buys a limited selection olf parts. One has to assume there are buying incentives in play, with limits the number of products tested.

It's one thing to say that Asus boards last a long time. It's quite another to be able to say, "Asus boards are better than Gigabyte, with regards to longevity".

Urban legend has it that most electronic equipment failures occur in the first 30 days or so. If it makes the first month, it's usually going to make it to retirement in obsolescence.

Mid term failures are most likely caused by abuse. So, somebody builds a $600.00 gaming box, when a $1200.00 hot rod would be more appropriate to their expectations.....then, (wait for it).....BOOM...! And a big whiny, piss and moan, to the tune of, "you sold me junk".....is the likely aftermath.

In any case, eMachines board are supposed to fail in a year. So, why is my 915 Intel based 915 system still going strong pushing nine? Even still, I can't say it would have outlasted an equivalent MSI board, if you see where I'm going with this.

All ranting aside, most anecdotal evidence is probably useless to one degree or another. I have 6 computers in the house, and I live alone. Some of them don't get turned on but maybe once a year. So, those should last 20 years. It's a far different story, if that one computer, was owned by a family of 6, and was up 24 /7 / 365, while being situated in a stuffy closet. So, if anybody is going to post reliability statistics on anything, it needs to include: hours of up time, climatic stats, and even extraneous environmental factors. Say maybe cat litter dust in the fans? Yeah, we got that.....:oops:

I will say that over the years, I've had routinely bad experiences with specific brands, which were compelling enough to avoid purchasing anything by that maker ever again. But, as the saying goes, "your results may vary....."

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Asus do seem to have a good reputation but I have not had a good experience with them.
The one motherboard I bought from ASUS is still kicking. Their website is slow as molasses. I've always hated visiting ASUS to download drivers or investigate while trying to help others.

Railman said:

I hope you are not accusing me of abusing my PCs

My PCs are not over clocked and I make sure they are cleaned on a regular basis.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I hope you are not accusing me of abusing my PCs

My PCs are not over clocked and I make sure they are cleaned on a regular basis.

I not quite sure how you could take any of my comments as personal.....:oops:

Those assumptions were very broad generalizations, about the wide variety of conditions and duty cycles, any one given type of machine could encounter / endure.

I expect the some brands might survive, (but perhaps not flourish), under certain conditions, while others might need a more "controlled environment", to barely survive.

Incidentally, at one point I discovered my next door neighbor's PC shoved in a piece of dining room furniture, junk all around it, and loaded with almost every type of malware imaginable.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

It's one thing to say that Asus boards last a long time. It's quite another to be able to say, "Asus boards are better than Gigabyte, with regards to longevity".

More a synthesis of vendor and chipset than vendor alone. Gigabyte's rise coincided with Asus' less than stellar attention to QA in the late 2008- 2009 time period. Whilst Gigabyte's P45/X38/X48 boards are renowned for their performance, pricing and support, Asus's QA and QC fell through the floor around the same time. Slow BIOS updates, high DOA rates, finicky RAM compatibility, long term instability were rife - add in some dubious decisions to rush out (then fail to support) some high maintenance chipsets, and there was a lot of long term damage done to Asus's brand.

Of late, Asus has been clawing its position back with better engineered products (although its support still sucks), but every so often they come crashing back to ground - usually with a high profile product- that undoes the good work. The latest notable casualty being the GTX 670 TOP - an SKU that Asus pushed too hard and was a basket case until a modified BIOS (which reduced core frequency boost limits) showed up.

Urban legend has it that most electronic equipment failures occur in the first 30 days or so. If it makes the first month, it's usually going to make it to retirement in obsolescence.

I'd agree. Most issues present themselves fairly quickly, and are a result of the (lack of) manufacturing thoroughness, cost cutting on component parts, or bad driver/software implementation.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I hope you are not accusing me of abusing my PCs
Nah, I was just posting the only thing I had against ASUS.

gospelmidi said:

It's as though they've deliberately streamlined their purchasing contracts in order to possibly place larger single orders at the expense of buying piecemeal from a wide range of ODM/OEMs. Unless it was to achieve a bulk buy discount, or maintain continuity of product I can see no reason why this might be advantageous.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Once you have all the bugs ironed out, crank up production with bulk system loading of hard drives. There's profit in that there biz model.

But once you update the m/b BIOS, change a video card, or alter most anything, really, in your standard configuration, you risk introducing new issues and bugs that can require extensive, expensive debugging, testing, revising documentation, and retraining tech support. By the time all the field testing is done, you might almost as well have started over with an all new configuration ... one that would be up-to-date and competitive with the other guys' new boxes.

Get it right once, then sell many, means you make money.

Introduce a latest and greatest component into each unit you sell means your business may not outlast your startup capital by more than a few months. Then you will have shelves of "stale bread" that your creditors will pay you minimum wage (or nothing) to sell for ten cents on the dollar, and a customer base that expects a year or more of customer support from a business that is out of business.

Take the wisdom of the wizened. Don't waste your good name, reputation, and conduct, your good expertise, education, and experience, and your good capital, cash, and credit, on a small business selling computers. Just cut straight to the chase and get a job sweeping floors at China-Mart.

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