Components returns rates (6) - BeHardware
>> Miscellaneous

Written by Marc Prieur

Published on May 4, 2012


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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 aren’t immune to sending out doubtful products.

Even though, as the financial sector has taught us, we shouldn‘t rely on past results, today we’re 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 etailer, whose database we have had direct access to. We were therefore able to extract the stats we wanted directly from source.

Under what conditions is a part declared as defective by this etailer? There are two possible cases: either the technician considers the exchange of information with the client (type of problem, cross testing) sufficient to declare that the product isn’t working, or there’s a question mark over the component and the etailer tests it to check if it’s working or not.

Among the returns that aren’t tested, some of the components announced as having an issue by customers probably aren't actually defective, in spite of the precautions taken by the technician. This is something inherent in the etailing sector and in practice, it’s unlikely that any model or product is more affected by this phenomenon than any other (at least we’re aware of no objective argument that shows this).

Of course, these statistics are limited to the products sold by this particular etailer and the returns made to it. Sometimes returns are made to the manufacturer itself, particularly with storage, but this represents a minority in the first year.

There’s no other way of obtaining more reliable statistics and, while not perfect, at least our system allows us to give you some indication of reliability.
In any case, who would believe any returns rates given by the manufacturers themselves?

The returns rates given here concern the products sold between April 1st and October 1st 2011 for returns made before April 2012, namely after between 6 months and a year of use. Over the lifetime of a product the returns generally form a spread out U on the graph, with the end virtually flat. Our figures therefore cover the early part of the lifetime of products, where returns rates are high.

The statistics by brand are based on a minimum sample of 500 sales and those by model on a minimum sample of 100 sales, with the biggest volumes reaching tens of thousands of parts by brand and thousands of parts by model. Each time, we’ve compared the rates by manufacturer to those in our previous article on the subject published in October 2011.

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- ASRock 1.90% (as against 2.1%)
- MSI 2.11% (as against 1.5%)
- Gigabyte 2.17% (as against 1.6%)
- ASUS 2.66% (as against 2.2%)

The returns rates are significantly up, except with ASRock which takes top spot with an improved score.

If we look more particularly at the rates for motherboards with a P67 chipset, we get the following scores:

- ASRock 1.75%
- MSI 2.46%
- ASUS 3.71%
- Gigabyte 5.04%

The Gigabyte score is rather off-putting but is adversely affected by one model, the GA-P67A-UD3 with a returns rate of 7.51% for around 1/3 of sales. Generally speaking, several models have rates of over 5%:

- 11.17%: ASUS M4A79XTD Evo
- 8.76%: ASUS P8H67-M Evo
- 7.51%: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3
- 6.83%: ASUS P8P67 Deluxe
- 6.69%: ASUS Sabertooth X58
- 6.42%: ASUS P8P67 Evo

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Power supplies

Power supplies

- Antec 0.80% (as against 0.7%)
- Fortron / FSP Group 0.81% (as against 4.9%)
- Cooler Master 1.25% (as against 1.4%)
- Seasonic 1.92% (as against 1.2%)
- Corsair 2.20% (as against 2.3%)

Antec holds onto first place, just in front of FSP Group. FSP has a better score here than on the previous period, but it did then have problems with a particular model which pushed its overall rate up significantly. Cooler Master and Corsair have slightly better rates than last time. Seasonic sees itself lose some ground however.

The good news is that no model scores over 5%! Here’s what we got for the 400-450 Watt models:

- 2.43% Corsair CX430
- 2.37% FSP (Fortron) AURUM 400 80PLUS Gold
- 1.98% Corsair CX430 V2 80PLUS
- 1.14% FSP (Fortron) FSP400-60GhN
- 0.96% Enermax NAXN 450W Tomahawk II
- 0.89% Antec High Current Gamer 400 80PLUS Bronze
- 0.81% FSP (Fortron) HEXA 400
- 0.59% Cooler Master Elite Power 400W
- 0.47% Antec Neo ECO 400C 80PLUS
- 0.33% Antec Neo ECO 450C 80PLUS
- 0.00% Antec BasiqPower BP430

And for the 500-550 Watt models:

- 3.06% Corsair CX500 V2 80PLUS
- 2.08% Seasonic S12II-520 82+ 80PLUS Bronze
- 1.75% Antec TruePower New 550 80PLUS Bronze
- 1.72% Cooler Master Silent Pro M500 80PLUS Bronze
- 1.71% Corsair CX500
- 1.56% Antec High Current Gamer 520 80PLUS Bronze
- 1.36% Cooler Master GX 550W 80PLUS Bronze
- 0.73% Antec Neo ECO 520C 80PLUS
- 0.00% FSP (Fortron) AURUM 500 80PLUS Gold
- 0.00% Seasonic M12II-520 80PLUS Bronze

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- Crucial 0.23% (as against 0.4%)
- Kingston 0.40% (as against 0.5%)
- G.Skill 1.10% (as against 1.4%)
- Corsair 1.44% (as against 1.6%)

Crucial keeps top spot and, like the other manufacturers, improves its rate in a welcome overall downwards trend. Just two models have rates of over 5%, compared to 8 last year:

- 12.87% Corsair Dominator 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 - TW3X4G1333C9D
- 5.53% Corsair XMS2 2 GB DDR2 800 MHz CL5 – CM2X2048-6400C5

The worst Crucial model has a rate of 1.25%, the worst Kingston 2.1% and the worst G.Skill 3.14%.

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Graphics cards

Graphics cards

- Sapphire 1.32% (as against 1.7%)
- ASUS 1.55% (as against 1.3%)
- PNY 1.62% (as against 1.0%)
- Club 3D 2.14% (as against 1.9%)
- Zotac 2.18% (as against 2.1%)
- Gigabyte 2.18% (as against 1.6%)
- MSI 2.25% (N/A)
- Gainward 2.43% (N/A)

Sapphire has taken over top spot here, while last time it was in fourth! Its rate has improved and the other manufacturers have seen their scores drop off.

There are six cards with a rate of over 5%:

- 7.97% MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition/OC HD 6950
- 7.89% Gainward GeForce GTX 580 "Phantom" 3072MB
- 5.95% Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti OC 1024 MB
- 5.91% PNY GeForce GTX 560 1 GB
- 5.82% Gainward GeForce GTX 560 Ti "Golden Sample" 1024 MB
- 5.14% MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II OC 1 GB

Here are the scores by GPU:

- Radeon HD 6870: 2.00% (as against 2.4%)
- Radeon HD 6950: 4.08% (as against 4.0%)
- Radeon HD 6970: 5.85% (as against 4.7%)
- GeForce GTX 560 Ti: 3.77% (as against 1.3%)
- GeForce GTX 570: 2.49% (as against 2.5%)
- GeForce GTX 580: 5.68% (as against 1.7%)

As with the previous period, the Radeon HD 6950s and 6970s don’t have great reliability scores, but are this time joined by the GeForce GTX 580s, with a significantly worse rate, with manufacturers’ custom models not always as reliable as the reference model!

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Hard drives

Hard drives

- Samsung 1.23% (as against 1.5%)
- Western 1.63% (as against 2.0%)
- Seagate 1.89% (as against 1.8%)
- Hitachi 3.95% (as against 3.0%)

Samsung keeps the top spot it gained last period, once again improving its returns rate while Hitachi’s score has worsened. Western has improved its rate significantly, moving ahead of Seagate. Now that Hitachi Storage belongs to Western Digital, it's to be hoped that WD will resolve these issues.

Six drives have a rate of over 5%:

- 9.70% Seagate Barracuda XT 3 TB
- 8.94% Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 1.5 TB
- 7.53% Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB
- 7.30% Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 2 TB
- 5.78% Western Digital RE4-GP 2 TB
- 5.33% Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB

If we look at the individual models we can see that Hitachi isn’t alone in having high rates. The Barracuda XTs do particularly badly. What about the 2 TB drives overall?

- 7.53% Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB SATA 6Gb/s
- 5.78% Western Digital RE4-GP 2 TB
- 4.53% Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2 TB
- 3.18% Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB
- 3.07% Western Digital AV-GP 2 TB
- 2.55% Seagate Barracuda LP 2 TB
- 2.31% Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB WD20EARX
- 2.15% Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB WD20EARS
- 1.80% Samsung SpinPoint F4 EcoGreen 2 TB

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- Crucial 0.82% (as against 0.8%)
- Intel 1.73% (as against 0.1%)
- Corsair 2.93% (as against 2.9%)
- OCZ 7.03% (as against 4.2%)

Crucial has taken top spot from Intel thanks to a notable increase in Intel’s returns rate. We should say that this time, the Intel sample is only just above the minimum required and that some of the Intel returns are linked to the 8MB bug which has since been resolved. The OCZ rate has got a lot worse, going up to 7%, and only OCZ has models with rates of above 5%:

- 15.58% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 240 GB
- 13.28% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 160 GB
- 11.76% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 80 GB
- 9.52% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 120 GB
- 8.57% OCZ Vertex 3 Series 120 GB
- 7.49% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 60 GB
- 6.61% OCZ Vertex 2 Series 3.5" SSD 120 GB
- 6.37% OCZ Vertex 3 Series 240 GB
- 6.37% OCZ Agility 3 60 GB
- 5.89% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 100 GB

The Vertex 2s have the worst scores but the Vertex 3s have nothing to be proud of either. Note that over the coming period, the Vertex 3s are doing much better thanks to developments in the firmware, with a rate of just 1.01% for the Vertex 3 120 GB as things stand.

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Compared to our previous report in October 2011, there have been a few changes in returns rates overall:

- Motherboards: 2.29% (against 1.9%)
- Power supplies: 1.39% (against 1.5%)
- RAM: 0.88% (against 1.20%)
- Graphics cards: 1.80% (against 1.6%)
- Hard drives: 1.80% (against 2.0%)
- SSDs: 3.89% (as against 2.7%)

There have been notable improvements with power supplies, hard drives and RAM but the numbers for graphics cards, motherboards and above all SSDs have worsened.

As always, the overall figures mask significant differences and we’d like to highlight the excellent results obtained by Antec and FSP Group for power supplies, Crucial and Kingston for RAM and Crucial for SSDs (all under 1%).

On the other hand there are still two manufacturers with rates of higher than 3%, Hitachi for hard drives and OCZ for SSDs. This is the fourth time in a row we’ve seen this from Hitachi and the third for OCZ! Even worse, Hitachi is likely to be at least at the same level over the forthcoming period as it has a rate of 3.29% already and there are still six months to go. OCZ however is doing much better with returns dropping to 2.2% for the moment thanks to much better scores for its best-sellers, the Vertex 3 and Agility 3 (currently 1.01% and 1.12% for the 120 GB versions for example). Nevertheless there are still some models with poor scores as you’ll see below.

What can we say about the future? Of course, we can’t predict it but we can give you the scores of the 5 products with the worst returns rates for the period from October 1st 2011 to April 1st 2012 for returns before April 2012 (namely 0 to 6 months use with a minimum sample of 100):

4.00% MSI P67A-C43
3.92% MSI P67A-GD55
3.74% ASUS M5A97 Pro
3.48% ASUS P8P67 Deluxe
3.09% ASUS P8P67 Pro

Power supplies:
3.41% Corsair CX600 V2 80PLUS
2.65% Cooler Master GX 450W 80PLUS Bronze
1.97% Corsair CX430 V2 80PLUS
1.82% Corsair HX750W 80PLUS Silver
1.82% Corsair Professional Series Gold AX850 80PLUS Gold

3.11% Corsair Dominator 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 TW3X4G1333C9D
2.73% G.Skill RipJaws X Series 16 GB (4x 4GB) DDR3 1600 MHz F3-12800CL9Q-16GBXL
2.72% Corsair Dominator 8 GB (2x 4 GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 CMP8GX3M2B1333C9
2.69% G.Skill RL Series RipJaws 8 GB (2x 4GB) DDR3 1066 MHz F3-8500CL7D-8GBRL
2.14% Kingston HyperX blu 2 GB DDR3 1600 MHz CL9 KHX1600C9AD3B1/2G

Graphics cards:
16.22% Gainward GeForce GTX 580 "Phantom" 1536MB
6.18% Gainward GeForce GTX 580 "Phantom" 3072MB
4.76% Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti OC 1024 MB
3.96% ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5
3.41% MSI N560GTX-Ti 448 Twin Frozr III PE/OC

Hard drives:
7.06% Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3 TB
6.91% Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB
4.86% Seagate Barracuda XT 3 TB
4.62% Seagate Barracuda 7200,12 160 GB
4.60% Western Digital Caviar RE4 2 TB

13.46% OCZ Petrol Series 128 GB
5.95% OCZ Vertex 2 Series 3,5" 120 GB
5.85% OCZ Octane Series 128 GB SATA II
4.57% OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 120 GB
3.57% OCZ Octane Series 64 GB SATA II

Several products therefore already have returns of over 5%: the Gainward GeForce GTX 580 "Phantom" graphics cards, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3 TB and Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB hard drives but also the OCZ Petrol 128 GB, OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120 GB and OCZ Octane 128 GB SATA II SSDs. The Gainward GeForce GTX 580 "Phantom" 1536MB and OCZ Petrol Series 128 GB even have rates of over 10%!

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