Components returns rates - BeHardware
>> Miscellaneous

Written by Marc Prieur

Published on April 20, 2011


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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 arenít immune to sending out doubtful products.

Even if, as the financial sector likes to tell us, past results are nothing to go by, today weíre 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. Theyíre taken from a large French e-tailer, whose database we have had direct access to. We were, then, able to extract the stats we wanted directly. Of course theyíre limited to the products sold by the retailer, but unfortunately there isnít 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 April 1st 2010 and October 1st 2010 for returns made before April 2011, namely after between 6 months and a year of use. The statistics by manufacturer are based on a minimum sample of 500 sales, those by model on a minimum sample of 100 sales. Each time, weíve compared the rates by manufacturer to those in our previous article on the subject published in December 2010.

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- Gigabyte 1.6% (against 2.3%)
- ASUS 1.9% (against 2.5%)
- ASRock 2.0% (against 2.7%)
- MSI 2.3% (against 2.4%)

Gigabyte, ASUS and ASRock returns rates are significantly down and those for MSI slightly down, which is very good news given that the motherboard is an essential part of our machines! There isnít a great difference in the rates for each manufacturer but the distribution of sales across the market segments can have an impact on the classification. If you look at the rates observed on motherboards based on Intel Series 5 chipsets, you get the following results:

- ASUS 1.4%
- Gigabyte 2.0%
- MSI 2.0%
- ASRock 2.8%

Or focussing in even more, only one model has a returns rate of over 5%, namely the ASUS P5N-D SLI which is at 5.1%. This is the third time in a row that we have cited this product for this reason and itís a shame that such a model, now obsolete, wasnít taken off the market sooner.

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Power supplies

Power supplies

- Antec 1.0% (against 0.6%)
- CoolerMaster 1.0% (against 1.1%)
- Seasonic 1.3% (against 3.3%)
- Corsair 1.4% (against 1.7%)
- Akasa 1.6%
- Enermax 1.6% (against 2.5%)
- Fortron 2.0%
- Thermaltake 2.3% (against 1.4%)

Antec retains its spot as top dog, alongside CoolerMaster, in spite of an increase in its returns, which nevertheless remain very low! Seasonic comes in third, which is a great improvement, while Enermax has also improved its score. Thermaltake is last, but with a returns rate that is nevertheless okay.

Only two models have a rate of over 5%, the Corsair TX 950W (7.6%) and the Fortron Blue Storm Bronze 500W (5.7%). The first was mentioned in our last article and we hope that we wonít have to mention it again in the next one!

If you look at the 400-450w models alone you get the following classification:

-0.0%: Enermax ECO80+ 400
- 0.0%: Atenc BeqsiPower 430
- 0.2%: Cooler Master Elite Power 400
- 0.3%: Cooler Master Extreme Power 400
- 0.9%: Corsair CX 400
- 0.9%: Antec Neo 400
- 0.9%: Corsair VX 450
- 0.9%: Fortron Saga II 400
- 1.0%: Fortron Green 400
- 1.3%: Thermaltake TR2 RX 450

Then for the 500-550w models:

- 0.0%: Antec BasiqPower 500
- 0.6%: Akasa Eco Friendly 500
- 0.8%: Fortron Blue Storm Pro 500
- 0.9%: Cooler Master GX 550
- 1.0%: Thermaltake TR2 RX 550
- 1.2%: Cooler Master Real Power 520
- 1.4%: Corsair CMPSU-550VX
- 2.5%: Cooler Master Silent Pro 500
- 3.6%: Akasa Essential Plus 550
- 5.7%: Fortron Blue Storm Bronze 500

And finally the 600-650w models:

- 0.0%: Thermaltake Evo Blue 650
- 0.7%: Cooler Master Silent Pro 600
- 0.8%: Corsair HX 650
- 0.9%: CoolerMaster GX 650
- 2.0%: Antec TruePower 650
- 2.3%: Antec EarthWatts 650
- 2.4%: Corsair TX 650
- 2.9%: Fortron Green 600

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- Kingston 0.4% (against 0.3%)
- Crucial 0.7% (against 0.9%)
- Corsair 1.6% (against 1.4%)
- G.Skill 2.0% (against 2.7%)
- OCZ 7.1% (against 6.8%)

Kingston confirms its spot at the top of the pile with a really low, though slightly increased, rate. Crucial is getting closer and G.Skill has closed the gap on Corsair. OCZ is however still doing poorly and their exit of this sector will be no bad thing!

Four references have returns rates of over 5%:

- 20.2%: Corsair Dominator 2x2 GB DDR2 PC2-8500 CL5 - TWIN2X4096-8500C5D
- 10.6%: OCZ Gold Edition 2x2 GB DDR2 PC2-10666 - OCZ2G1333LV4GK
- 9.6%: Corsair XMS3 DHX 2x2 GB DDR3 PC3-10600 CL9 - TW3X4096-1333C9DHX
- 5.4%: Corsair Dominator 2x1 GB DDR2 PC2-8500 CL5 - TWIN2X2048-8500C5D

Kingston, Crucial and G.Skill do not appear here as none of their kits has a returns rate of over 5%. A single OCZ reference is listed though many models with a rate of over 5% werenít sold in big enough quantities (100 or more) to be listed in the results by model.

Among the G.Skill products, the least reliable kit is the 3x2 GB DDR3 PC3-12800 G.Skill NQ (F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ) with a rate of 4.1%. Looking at Crucial the 2x2 GB DDR3 PC3-10600 (CT2KIT25664BA1339) kit is highest at 3.2%, while Kingstonís kit with the highest returns is the 2x1 GB ValueRAM DDR2 PC2-6400 (KVR800D2N6K2/2G) with a rate of ... 1.2%! Kingston, then, is decidedly impressive across the board.

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Graphics cards

Graphics cards

- PNY 1.2% (against 1.1%)
- ASUS 1.3% (against 0.9%)
- Zotac 1.4%
- Sapphire 1.5% (against 1.8%)
- Club 3D 1.6% (against 2.2%)
- Gainward 1.6% (against 1.5%)
- Gigabyte 2.5% (against 1.7%)
- MSI 2.9% (against 1.7%)
- XFX 3.0% (against 2.4%)

ASUS and PNY swap places here as a result of the higher ASUS returns rate. Zotac has entered the classification in a respectable position, while Sapphire and Club 3D have both improved their scores. The rates for Gigabyte on the other hand, and above all MSI, are up a good deal and XFX is still in last place with an even worse average than before. Overall the numbers are acceptable, but three models have returns rates of at least 5%:

- 7.0%: Gigabyte GV-R587UD-1GD
- 7.0%: XFX ATI Radeon HD 5870
- 5.0%: ASUS EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2

The three models are all based on the Radeon HD 5870! Here are the stats by GPU:

- Radeon HD 5770: 2.0%
- Radeon HD 5830: 2.5%
- Radeon HD 5850: 5.5%
- Radeon HD 5870: 5.0%
- Radeon HD 5970: 10.9%
- GeForce GTS 250: 1.6%
- GeForce GTX 460: 2.4%
- GeForce GTX 465: 3.4%
- GeForce GTX 470: 4.7%
- GeForce GTX 480: 3.0%

This confirms the Radeon HD 5870ís poor showing. The Radeon HD 5850 also does badly. Six months ago, the two solutions were at 3.2-3.4%! The Radeon HD 5970 is a very fragile card as is often the case with bi-GPU cards. None of the NVIDIA solutions are over 5% and the GeForce GTX 480 has a rate of just 3%, which is a very good score for a high end card.

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Hard drives

Hard drives

These rates were only for returns to the retailer, which isnít always the case as you can also return a product directly to the manufacturer, though this does represent a minority in the first year.

- Western 1.5% (against 1.4%)
- Samsung 1.8% (against 2.5%)
- Seagate 2.0% (against 2.1%)
- Hitachi 3.1% (against 3.4%)

Western is top of the class, as was the case in our previous classification, excepting Maxtor which is now not listed. Samsung has improved its returns rate a great deal, which moves it up from second last to second. Hitachi is still bringing up the rear but with improved stats.

More precisely, here are the rates for 1 TB hard drives:

-1.2%: WD Caviar Green (WD10EARS)
- 1.3%: WD Caviar Blue (WD10EARS)
- 1.3%: WD Caviar Black (WD1001FALS)
- 1.4%: Samsung SpinPoint F3
- 1.5%: WD Caviar Black (WD1002FAEX)
- 2.2%: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
- 2.9%: WD Caviar RE3 (WD1002FBYS)
- 4.1%: Seagate Barracuda LP
- 4.4%: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C
- 4.8%: WD Caviar Green (WD10EADS)
- 5.2%: Samsung SpinPoint F1

Hitachi is not bottom of the pile here, with the WD10EADS from Western and the SpinPoint F1, which was being phased out in the period the stats were taken, doing worst. The other Western and Samsung models do much better however. Here are the scores for 2 TB drives:

- 1.4%: Samsung EcoGreen F3
- 1.6%: WD Caviar RE4-GP (WD2002FYPS)
- 2.6%: WD Caviar Green (WD20EARS)
- 3.0%: WD Caviar Black (WD2001FALS)
- 3.7%: Seagate Barracuda LP
- 3.7%: WD Caviar Green (WD20EADS)
- 5.7%: Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000

In comparison to the previous period, note there has been a clear improvement for the rates for 2 TB drives. This is down to the fact that manufacturers now master the manufacturing process better and it is to be hoped that we wonít be getting any nasty surprises with the next set of stats that will include higher density models!

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- Intel 0.3% (against 0.6%)
- Kingston 1.2% (against 2.4%)
- Crucial 1.9% (against 2.2%)
- Corsair 2.7% (against 2.2%)
- OCZ 3.5% (against 2.9%)

Sign of the times, this time SSDs have their own page in our classification report. Intel stands out once again with an even lower returns rate than last time! The others are far behind, though Crucial and above all Kingston have improved their rates. In fact, if you look at Crucialís figures more closely, you can see that the M225 range, now being phased out, is bringing the average down. The C300s have a returns rate of just 1.0% over the period.

In contrast, Corsair and OCZ havenít done as well as last time. Focussing in a bit more, the Vertex 2s, OCZís most recent range, have a rate of 3.6%, which is a long way behind Intel.

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In comparison to our previous report in December 2010, motherboard returns rates are much improved, dropping from 2.6 to 1.9%. The rates for power supplies are also down, from 1.4 to 1.2%.

Hard drives are keeping it steady on 1.9%, though as we have seen, rates for 2 TB versions are much improved. Note however that there has been a slight rise in the returns rates for RAM, graphics cards and SSDs, with scores of 1.3%, 1.7% and 2.2% respectively.

As is often the case, these overall figures mask some significant differences. Looking at the RAM for example, Kingston's scores were once again particularly impressive, while Intelís SSD rates were also excellent. With returns of 0.4% and 0.3% respectively, these two manufacturers were alone in achieving scores of under 1% (by far)!

On the other hand few manufacturers scored rates of 3% or higher. OCZ did for both its RAM and SSDs and XFX did for graphics cards. Hitachi also scored over 3% for its hard drives. Letís hope that these scores will improve soon!

What about the future? We canít yet predict it, but we can give you a list of the five products sold between October 1st and April 1st (from 0 to 6 months use) that have the highest returns rates by category:

- 6.8%: ASRock 890FX Deluxe4
- 5.1%: ASUS P8P67 Deluxe
- 4.9%: ASUS P8P67 LE
- 3.6%: ASUS P7H55/USB3
- 3.4%: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula

Power supplies:
- 14.8%: Fortron Blue Storm Bronze 500
- 4.6%: Corsair VX550W
- 3.2%: Corsair AX1200
- 2.9%: Cooler Master Silent Pro M1000
- 2.7%: Corsair TX650W

- 9.7%: OCZ Gold Edition 2x2 GB DDR3 PC3-10666 - OCZ3G1333LV4GK
- 7.0%: Corsair XMS3 3x2 GB DDR3 PC3-12800 CL9 - CMX6GX3M3A1600C9
- 6.3%: G.Skill NQ Series 2x2 GB DDR3 PC3-10666 - F3-10666CL9D-4GBNQ
- 6.2%: Corsair XMS3 Platinium 3x2 GB DDR3 PC3-10666 CL9 - TR3X6G1333C9
- 6.1%: G.Skill RM Series RipJaws 2x 2 GB DDR3 PC3-10666 - F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM

Graphics Cards:
- 5.3%: Gigabyte GV-N470SO-13I
- 5.2%: ASUS EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2
- 3.4%: PNY GeForce GT 220 1 GB
- 3.4%: Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 5870 1 GB
- 3.4%: Club 3D 8400 GS 512 MB Passive

Hard drives:
- 16.0%: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 160 GB
- 4.2%: Hitachi 7K2000 2 TB
- 4.0%: WD Caviar Black (WD2001FASS)
- 4.0%: Hitachi 7K3000 3 TB
- 3.7%: Hitachi 7K3000 2 TB

- 6.7%: OCZ Agility 2 120 GB
- 3.7%: OCZ Agility 2 60 GB
- 3.6%: OCZ Agility 2 40 GB
- 3.5%: OCZ Agility 2 90 GB
- 3.5%: OCZ Vertex 2 240 GB

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