Components returns rates - BeHardware
Written by Marc Prieur
Published on October 5, 2009
The one gap in our advice on purchasing of material is information on reliability. Sure, manufacturer reputation helps, but as reliability varies enormously from one model to another, even well-known manufacturers aren’t immune from sending out doubtful products.
Even if, as the financial sector likes to tell us, past results are nothing to go by, today we are publishing some of the returns stats that we have available. Of course this type of stat is of relative value, especially as a good number of the products have become obsolete. The information is nevertheless useful and allows us to point out certain products or manufacturers that need to do better in the future.
The first question is of course where the stats come from. They’re taken from a large French online retailer database we have had direct access to. We were, then, able to extract the stats we wanted directly. Of course they are limited to the products sold by the etailer, but unfortunately there isn’t any other way of getting hold of reliable stats. Who would believe for example any returns rates given by the manufacturers themselves?
The returns rates given concern the products sold between September 2008 and March 2009, namely after between 6 months and a year of use. The statistics by make are based on a minimum sample of 500 sales, those by model on a minimum sample of 100 sales. Please note, in comparison with the last results published in news stories, we’ve picked up on a bug that was affecting our calculations. Some sales were not being taken into account, which may have made the returns rates higher than they should have been. The bug has now been corrected and the rates given here are slightly lower. We apologise for this previous error.
- MSI : 2.46%
- Gigabyte: 2.83%
- ASRock : 3.11%
- ASUSTeK: 3.5%
The first point to note is that there has been a clear improvement in returns rates. This means MSI is now at the front of the field in terms of reliability, but of course a breakdown by model is needed to better understand the situation.
If you take a closer look at the returns rate by chipset, you can see that for the P45 Express, the top product over this period, classification is as follows: :
- ASUSTeK 2.69%
- Gigabyte 3.81%
- ASRock 4.22%
- MSI 7.28%
Almost inversed then! You have to say that over the period, over 62% of sales from MSI were of quite basic cards designed for integration, the P6NGM-L and K9N6SGM-V based on the GeForce 7050 and GeForce 6100 with a returns rate of 2.2 and 1%. This didn’t stop the P45 NE03-FR from coming in at 6.3% and the P45 NEO-F at 4.7%.
Gigabyte however have no model that predominates in terms of sales. The least best cards are the GA-EP45C-DS3R and X48-DS5, with returns at 6.4 and 5.1%. The Penryn1600SLI-110dB and its nForce 650i from ASRock continues its tour de force with 19.3%! Don’t say we didn’t warn you… the 4Core1600Twins-P35D doesn’t do much better with 15.8% and the P43TWINS1600 is at 6.8%.
We finish with ASUSTeK, whose two top selling models, the P5Q and P5Q Pro, have reasonable rates of 2.7 and 1.5% These cards represent 15.9% of the manufacturer’s sales. The only problem is that at the same time there are no less than 11 other cards with returns rates of over 5%, with the top score, like last time, going to the P5NT-Deluxe (nForce 780i) at a rate of over 16.8%! Next come the Striker II Extreme (790i) at 8.6%, the Rampage Formula (X48) at 8.0% and the P5N-E SLI (650i) at 7.7%.
- Antec 0.84%
- Seasonic 1.31%
- CoolerMaster 1.52%
- Corsair 1.67%
- Fortron 1.70%
- Enermax 3.1%
- Thermaltake 3.45%
- Hiper 4.47%
Antec, Seasonic, Coolermaster, Corsair and Fortron score under 2%, which is very impressive. On the other hand Enermax, Thermaltake and, above all, Hiper are doing less well.
If you look at the figures more closely, only 6 power supplies sold at over 100 in number have a returns rate of equal to or over 3%. The least reliable is the Hiper HPU-4S425-PU with no fewer than 7.6% breakdowns. Next come the Enermax Modu82+ 625W at 4.7%, the Hiper HP-4M530 at 4.5% and the Corsair 1000HW at 4.2%. Then we have the Seasonic M12-700 at 3.7% and the CoolerMaster RealPower 850W à 3.4%.
For 500 to 550W supplies, we get the following classification:
- CoolerMaster RealPower 520W 0.5%
- Seasonic M12II-500 0.7%
- Antec TruePower Trio 550W 0.8%
- Corsair HX520W 1.1%
- Seasonic S12II-500 1.1%
- Corsair VX550W 1.4%
- Antec Earthwatts EA500 1.5%
- CoolerMaster Silent Pro M500 1.6%
- Fortron Blue Storm 500W 1.6%
- Antec NeoPower 500 1.9%
- Antec NeoPower 550 1.9%
- Thermaltake Toughpower Qfan 500W 1.9%
- Enermax Modu82+ EMD525AWT 2.1%
- Fortron Blue Storm 2 500W 2.7%
- CoolerMaster Extreme Power 500W 2.9%
- Hiper HPU-4M530 4.5%
Memory and L3 cache
We’ve decided to include stats on memory modules for the first time. Here, first, are the stats per brand:
- Kingston 0.47%
- G.Skill 1.46%
- Crucial 1.70%
- Corsair 2.19%
- OCZ 2.56%
Kingston is at the head of the list, by a long way, followed by G.Skill. Some will argue that Kingston sells less high end memory than the others, which may be true but if you look only at the rates for HyperX memory, you get 0.84% returns. In contrast, if you take out the Values (0.83%) from Corsair’s figures, you get a rate of 3.44%.
Here are the kits of bars with returns at above 5%:
- Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2 GB DDR2-SDRAM PC8500 BL2KIT12864AL1065 16.3%
- OCZ Value 2 GB DDR2-SDRAM PC2-6400 OCZ2V8002GK 9.8%
- Corsair Dominator 2 GB DDR2-SDRAM PC8500 TWIN2X2048-8500C5D 8.5%
- Corsair XMS3 DHX 2 GB DDR3-SDRAM PC12800 TWIN3X2048-1600C7DHX 8.3%
- Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2 GB DDR2-SDRAM PC6400 BL2KIT12864AL80A 6.7%
- Corsair Dominator 4 GB DDR2-SDRAM PC8500 TWIN2X4096-8500C5D 5.9%
- Corsair XMS2 DHX 4 GB DDR2-SDRAM PC6400 TWIN2X4096-6400C5DHX 5.2%
- Corsair XMS3 DHX 2 GB DDR3-SDRAM PC12800 TW3X2048-1600C9DHX 5.2%
Unfortunately the big names are not necessarily any guarantee of reliability. Crucial gets a very bad score on its PC8500 Ballistix Tracer, but Corsair doesn’t do a great deal better.
- PNY 1.69%
- ASUSTeK 1.71%
- MSI 2.05%
- Gigabyte 2.63%
- Sapphire 2.7%
- Gainward 3.15%
- Point Of View 4.67%
ASUSTeK like PNY have improved their rates, but PNY more so which gives them the best figures. Though Point of View have improved their score, they’re still bringing up the rear. Let’s now take a look at the stats per chipset:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260: 2.4%
- ATI Radeon HD 4850: 3.3%
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295: 6.5%
- ATI Radeon HD 4870: 6.1%
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280: 8.3%
- ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2: 10.5%
Like 6 months ago, the GTX 280s have the highest mono-GPU card rates. The bad surprise is with the Radeon HD 4870, which though pretty good previously now have a particularly high returns rate! High-end and reliability do not go hand in hand, and the 4870 X2’s score does nothing to contradict this.
Here are the least 10 reliable models:
- Sapphire 4870 X2 10.6%
- Gigabyte GV-N98TOC-1GH 10.6%
- Sapphire 4870 512 MB 10.1%
- Gainward GTX 280 8.7%
- Gigabyte GV-N98XPZL-1GH 8.1%
- Gainward 4870 512 MB GS 7.5%
- ASUSTeK GTX 280 7.4%
- Point Of View 9800 GT 7%
- Gainward 4850 512 MB GS 6.9%
- Gigabyte N28-1GH-B 6.4%
The poor scores of the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 and 4870 X2, that make up the large majority of cards sold, have in fact pulled the overall rates for these GPUs upwards. Nevertheless you can see that Gainward has also had reliability problems with the Radeon HD 4800s.
These rates were only for returns to the retailer, which isn’t always the case as you can also return a product directly to the manufacturer: this does however represent a minority in the first year. Here are the figures:
- Western 0.89%
- Hitachi 0.92%
- Samsung 2.25%
- Maxtor 2.79%
- Seagate 2.89%
Western and Hitachi both do very well, but the situation has got a lot worse for Seagate and Maxtor (Maxtor, remember, is owned by Seagate). If you look at products with rates of 3% or more, the reason becomes obvious:
- Samsung SpinPoint T 500 GB: 12.9%
- Maxtor DiamondMax 22 1 TB: 6.5%
- Seagate 7200.11 500 GB: 5.2%
- Maxtor DiamondMax 22 500 GB: 4.8%
- Maxtor DiamondMax 22 750 GB: 3.9%
- Seagate 7200.11 1 TB: 3.7%
- Seagate 7200.11 750 GB: 3.6%
- Seagate 320 500 GB IDE: 3.2%
The 7200.11s and DiamondMax 22s have a big negative impact on the Seagate and Maxtor rates, because of a bug in a firmware update at the beginning of the year in this series. Note moreover Samsung’s very very poor score for its SpinPoint T 500 GB. Here are the rates for 1 TB drives:
- Maxtor DiamonMax 22: 6.5%
- Seagate 7200.11: 3.7%
- Samsung SpinPoint F1: 2.9%
- Samsung EcoGreen F1: 1.6%
- WD Caviar Green WD10EACS: 0.9%
- Hitachi 7K1000.B: 0.8%
- WD Caviar Black: 0%
- WD Caviar Green WD10EACS: 0%
The DiamondMax 22 is followed by the 7200.11 and then the SpinPoint F1. The most reliable drives are from Hitachi and Western Digital, with two models at 0% returns over the period!
ConclusionDifficult to sum up such an article. One thing’s sure, you can never be sure of a product’s reliability in advance. The example of Seagate, for a long time lauded for its hard drives, is a good one, as they now stand at the bottom of the league due to a firmware problem on a big number of hard drives.
For motherboards, we note that the old nForce 6 series and 7 series are still monopolising the bottom places. Moreover, whether it be for memory or graphics cards, the highest-end products are most enclined not to function correctly, with sometimes frightening rates: reliability is sacrificed to give higher performance!
For many users, however, reliablility is at least as important as performance, even for high-end products. Though, unlike performance, this can’t be measured in our tests, we do hope that manufacturers make more efforts here in the future.
In the meantime, here is a list of 16 products that already have a 5% returns rate for sales from March to September 2009, namely from between 0 and 6 months of use. No doubt they will be badly placed in our next article on returns … rendez-vous here in 6 months!
- 17.3% for the ASUSTeK P5NT-Deluxe motherboard
- 16.8% Seagate 7200.11 1 TB hard drive
- 10.3% Seagate 7200.11 500 GB hard drive
- 9% for the PNY 9800 GT 512 MB graphics card
- 8.2% for the 2x1 GB OCZ Value DDR2 PC2-6400 memory
- 7.3% for the Thermaltake PurePower 450W power supply
- 7.1% for the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870X2 graphics card
- 6.9% for the ASUSTeK P5Q-SE2 motherboard
- 6.7% for the Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 motherboard
- 6.6% for the ASRock N7AD-SLI motherboard
- 6.6% for the ASrock A770CrossFire motherboard
- 5.7% for the OCZ 2x2 GB Platinum DDR2 PC2-8500 memory
- 5.3% for the Corsair 2x2 GB DDR2 PC2-8500 memory
- 5.2% for the Maxtor DiamondMax 22 500 GB hard drive
- 5.1% for the ASUSTeK M3N78 motherboard
- 5.1% for the Corsair 2x1 GB DDR2 PC2-8500 memory
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