It’s just around the corner!
You can feel it in the crisp crunch of the falling leaves under your feet, you can see it in the trees turning their deep tones of red, gold, and orange, and you can feel it in the cool breeze outside. Fall is here, and that means Christmas is just around the corner. Many kids and adults this year will open up an either pre-built PC, or a gaggle of parts, to take part in enjoying building their own computer. What does that mean for you parents and significant others doing the shopping? Well it means if you know very little about what your gift recipient wants, you could end up giving them something that while nice at the outset, goes south quickly. So what do you do to make sure that you’re buying a machine that’s not going to ruin Christmas, or create additional work for you in the future? You make sure you’re buying the good stuff, and not something that’s going to break down on you prematurely.
Not all are created equal
Now when it comes to computer parts, not all parts are equally reliable, or even good for that matter. If you’re interested in a machine that will live at least an average lifespan without issues, then consider doing your research on parts. This doesn’t mean in order to make a machine that’s reliable, you have to spend gobs of money on parts, but you need to steer clear of the junk out there, that’s more of a trap than anything, and that’s what I’m hoping to do here with you today.
What parts are junk?
Well let’s just go based off the repairs I handle in a year. I’m going to be throwing out a fair bit of numbers and jargon here, but try to pay close attention to the next few paragraphs, because it’s going to hold some key data when it comes to your decision making about parts. Now bear in mind, these are my experiences with these parts, and are not the opinion of anyone else. My opinions also aren’t influenced by some partnership, or sponsorship agreement, because I’m not a tech youtuber. I’m going to break this down into types of components to make it a little bit easier for you to make sense of, instead of sharing with you “these parts suck, and these are great.” because that’s not how this works. All of the following data has been collected over the course of a year, and are the trends I noticed in working on customer machines. Without further ado, here are the results of the first category.
As you can see based on the chart below, many of the drive failures that I’ve had experience with were Silicon Power branded drives. These drives are typically obtained at Micro Center and are a store brand that they sell. In a lot of pre-builts that you can purchase at Micro Center these builds come with a Silicon Power drive. Please note that the chart below accounts for only SSDs and not Hard Drives. While Samsung drives rarely do go bad, there were still a few failures, but the great thing about them is, they have a five year warranty, so when your drive fails, you can send in the old one, and Samsung, Western Digital, and Crucial will all give you a replacement drive. Please know that just because some brands did better than others, doesn’t mean that the other brands can’t fail, it just means out my sampling, these drives failed, and had to be replaced.
Hard Drive Failures
Out of the hard drive category there are two standouts that really never change for me. They are Toshiba and Seagate. While Toshiba didn’t bring as strong of a sampling of dead drives this year, last year and years prior, this drive brand took the cake when it came to the number of failed drives. Fortunately, Toshiba hasn’t really been a staple for most PC manufacturers anymore as they seek to move their equipment to Solid State Drives (SSDs) for faster speeds, and boot times. I’ve broken this down into additional categories for you to understand better, because all hard drives eventually fail, but when they fail is important. You’ll notice that Samsung, Maxtor, and Western Digital all have really good longevity, while Seagate, Toshiba, and Hitachi don’t really have that same strong showing. Longevity in a hard drive is a key component to whether or not it is a good part, and worth your time.
RAM failures, while rare, do still occur every once in awhile. It’s not uncommon to think that RAM is a fail proof item, but some of them can be more susceptible to failure more than you’d think. Not all RAM is created equal either! As you can see in the chart below, G-Skill Ripjaws…kinda suck. With the highest rate of failure of all the RAM modules below, it’s easy to tell that’s a brand you should avoid. Corsair, Crucial, and SkHynix come in with the lowest rates of failure, and if the brand didn’t make the list…I simply didn’t see it!
Power Supply Failures
Power supplies are probably the most crucial component to your PC, and if it malfunctions…it has the capability to take everything with it! There are some great power supplies out there, then there are some not great power supplies out there. This year alone I’ve had to put out 4 power supply fires that started right here in my office! Never thought I’d have that happen, but it’s because of that reason, I now have a fire extinguisher on my test bench! The figures below show that Gigabyte, EVGA, Thermaltake, and Aresgame are the worst performing, with the greatest, but similar amounts of failure. The best three seem to still be Corsair, Seasonic, and the new ROG Power supply.
When making the decisions about which parts to put in your PC, let this be a reference point for you. A starting point to say…I’d rather build my own than trust what some pre-built company is going to put in my machine. Believe it or not…pre-build companies do pick at least one to two components to skimp on when it comes to building a machine. It doesn’t matter the manufacturer, they’re always cutting corners in some way to save money, whether it’s with a cheaper power supply, or with an SSD that is prone to failure. Whatever you do this holiday season, just be careful, and watchful of what’s in your new build, and if you are interested in building a PC, but you don’t know where to start, just give us a call, we’d be happy to help!