Are components' quality going downhill? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Are components' quality going downhill?

I have been building PCs for 10 years. I basically never had anything arrive DOA or even fail after years of use. Only thing I ever had to RMA has been hard drives.

That was until six months ago. Since then, I have had bad SATA ports on new mobos, RAM arriving inop, bad SAS cables, flaky backplanes, you name it.

Over the weekend I assembled a machine for my neighbor. Asus B85 Vanguard mobo, 4 sticks of Crucial Ballistix RAM, Pentium processor.

No POST on first power on. DRAM LED lights up red. Okay, remove all four sticks. Stick #1 in slot 1 - system in power cycle loop = bad stick.

Stick #2 , 3 or 4 in slot 1 - system runs fine. So those sticks are good.

Any combination of sticks #2 -4 in slots 1 and 2 - system runs fine.

Any stick(s) in slot 3 and/or 4 - no POST, red DRAM LED.

So we have one bad memory module and two RAM slots inop. Great.

Went to local store (above gear came from Amazon) and bought a new identical motherboard and 2x4 GB of Kingston Hyper-X RAM. Transferred CPU to new board.

Result: No POST, red DRAM LED, with the new mobo, with every combination of Ballistix and/or Hyper-X memory. This board flatly refused to work.

So back with the CPU onto the first board, which boots fine with any 2 sticks of either RAM brand (except the dead Ballistix one) in slots 1 and 2. But slots 3 and 4 are dead.

So I can leave it there and run with two RAM sticks in single channel mode, or RMA the board to Amazon. But how do I know a third board will work?

Of course the CPU could be flaky as well, but why different symptoms on two identical motherboards?

And no, I haven't bent any pins in the 1150 socket(s).

Have I just had bad luck with the parts? Or have I made two slightly different versions of some obscure mistake in the same day?
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post #2 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 01:12 PM
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Bad luck..

PC components have always been hit or miss. I had a lot more failure in the old days I think actually.
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post #3 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 01:25 PM
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Sounds like a mistake is being made somewhere. Especially with RAM running in single channel. Do you have any PCIe devices plugged in?

As for part quality..... it's better than it's ever been. I find it nearly impossible to fry anything in modern systems. Back in my day we actually had to worry about things like ESD. We actually wore those dorky ESD wrist straps because if you didn't you would unquestionably fry the board. The parts were so flaky then you had to worry about frying yourself as well. Now you can basically zap your motherboard with a car battery and it would keep on ticking. I'm shocked at how much I can abuse these Haswell parts. Typically the machine will let me know when I've given it too many volts but these things just keep going....

I attribute most of the DOA parts and damaged parts to shipping and handling and poor practices by Amazon, Newegg and other retailers. I can't remember when I actually got a new part last. Everything I get from Amazon and Newegg is clearly open box or flat out used even though it's marked as new. The most recent i7-4770k I ordered still had thermal paste on it Sure enough, it was a poor overclocker. Guarantee it was returned because it didn't OC well and Amazon just ships it right back out upon return.
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post #4 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 02:05 PM
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I haven't found it to be any better or worse lately. Power supplies are still the biggest point of failure I see. Case buttons and LEDs second. I see the very occasional motherboard DOA. Memory and SSD being DOA is very rare and what appears to be bad memory is usually some weird incompatibility and it'll run fine in another motherboard. I've never had a bad CPU.

 

 

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post #5 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techmattr View Post
Sounds like a mistake is being made somewhere. Especially with RAM running in single channel. Do you have any PCIe devices plugged in?

As for part quality..... it's better than it's ever been. I find it nearly impossible to fry anything in modern systems. Back in my day we actually had to worry about things like ESD. We actually wore those dorky ESD wrist straps because if you didn't you would unquestionably fry the board. The parts were so flaky then you had to worry about frying yourself as well. Now you can basically zap your motherboard with a car battery and it would keep on ticking. I'm shocked at how much I can abuse these Haswell parts. Typically the machine will let me know when I've given it too many volts but these things just keep going....

I attribute most of the DOA parts and damaged parts to shipping and handling and poor practices by Amazon, Newegg and other retailers. I can't remember when I actually got a new part last. Everything I get from Amazon and Newegg is clearly open box or flat out used even though it's marked as new. The most recent i7-4770k I ordered still had thermal paste on it Sure enough, it was a poor overclocker. Guarantee it was returned because it didn't OC well and Amazon just ships it right back out upon return.
I agree with all of this and also never buy CPU from Amazon. Microcenter with the factort intel seal intact seems to be best, and buying when a chip first launches helps. Plus you can hold it in your hand before you buy it, or open it in the store. You can tell when it's Intel fresh vs reboxed.

When I grabbed my 4470k it was very early and from microcenter and I seem to have gotten a good one. 4.8 on air the first day. I thought this was normal then I saw people crashing at like 4400mhz so I guess it was good for not running crazy voltage or heating it up.

If you check out overclockers or something like that those guys check batch numbers and do returns on bad chips all the time. That is where the problem comes from, most retailers get returns on products and that hurts the retailer. I've seen the costs for CPU charts by the big quanties retailers buy and they don't make a lot of margin on them. It's no wonder why they have to resort to this, Intel doesn't want a perfectly good working CPU back and they don't have the margin to scrap it or make it open box for nothing. Reselling a perfectly working chip makes sense to the retailer, after all there is nothing wrong with it. It just doesn't hit 5ghz easily, that is not exactly a defect on a 3500mhz CPU.

Newegg has a new policy on CPU and that seems to help. I have not gotten a bad one from them in a while, not since they make you click that exchange only restocking fee applicable warning when you buy a CPU these days. Then again I usually only buy non overclock models from newegg.

I've had good luck with superbiiz for CPU too. Prices and shipping are good and always 100% factory sealed new stuff.

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post #6 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 02:25 PM
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I kind of agree with politby and kind of with techmattr...

I'm not entirely sure that all this equipment is more resilient that it was a couple decades ago. Everything is running at lower voltages, NP silicon junctions are getting down to the point where they are a just a few atoms wide. If anything, I think the parts are more fragile than they were years ago. Couple that with the fact that with the lowered ESD precautions (which I think are due in part to smaller investment in the parts, not more resilient parts. I didn't use an ESD strap assembling components back in the day because the components were delicate. I did it because I didn't want to risk a motherboard that cost several hundred dollars. Or I didn't want to risk killing the 4MB simm I just bought for $150.) and you get some guy shuffling across his living room to go get another screwdriver and absolutely frying something, without even knowing it.

And not to get all 'Murica! but I also think a lot of the stuff coming from China is questionable quality. Plenty of the overseas stuff is good, but so far I'm not really impressed with the quality coming from China.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #7 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post
I haven't found it to be any better or worse lately. Power supplies are still the biggest point of failure I see. Case buttons and LEDs second. I see the very occasional motherboard DOA. Memory and SSD being DOA is very rare and what appears to be bad memory is usually some weird incompatibility and it'll run fine in another motherboard. I've never had a bad CPU.
+1 also.


PSU is number 1 failure.
Case power buttons #2 .
Memory #3 .

CPU is way down the list. As is motherboards. Both are rock solid. You can hammer a modern Intel CPU at 90c and watch it thermal throttle all day and it should still last for years. You can rub it on static charged clothes to clean it off without worrying about frying it (done this too). My basement flooded and a spare Asrock Z68 mobo got wet, like under water wet - and after I dried it good I made my mother a PC with it. Works great. I have little complaints on motherboards I have used (Asrock and Asus usually) or Intel CPU's. I'm going on 30+ of both in last few years I think and not a single issue. I've bought open box Asrock motherboards on Newegg when they are ultra cheap and had great luck too. I would do that again for a discount of 20% or more. For $10 I don't bother, but for $40+ I do. They seem to have an algorythm in their computer system that marks the products down more aggressively when they are aged, or there is multiple of the same unit in stock so you need to keep an eye out.

One time I check newegg and Asrock Extreme 4 was open box for $98. Not too bad. I check again the next day it was $87. I bought it. After I bought it I check again it was back up to $98. It must have been changed when I removed the unit I bought from inventory. They will be more aggressive on discount if it's old or they have more of them so you need to keep an eye out to get a good deal.

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post #8 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 02:31 PM
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Actually when I think about it... I have NEVER had a CPU fail on me. Ever. Not pentium III or 4, not Athlon socket 939's, not LGA775, not LGA1155 or 1150. I can't actually recall a CPU that died. If it has ever happened I have forgotten. I have a pile of busted PSU's though...

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post #9 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techmattr View Post
Sounds like a mistake is being made somewhere. Especially with RAM running in single channel. Do you have any PCIe devices plugged in?
Just the motherboard, no expansion cards.

I would love to be able to find a mistake to explain this, but what could that be?
Even if I somehow damaged the CPU you would think the symptoms would be the same on both mobos. But the processor is the only part that did not change between the first and second motherboards.
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post #10 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by politby View Post
Just the motherboard, no expansion cards.

I would love to be able to find a mistake to explain this, but what could that be?
Even if I somehow damaged the CPU you would think the symptoms would be the same on both mobos. But the processor is the only part that did not change between the first and second motherboards.
I'm guessing you don't have a CPU you can swap out for testing? The Ballistix RAM can be finicky but the Kingston is typically golden on any board. Are either of the sets you tried on the HCL?
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post #11 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I agree with all of this and also never buy CPU from Amazon. Microcenter with the factort intel seal intact seems to be best, and buying when a chip first launches helps. Plus you can hold it in your hand before you buy it, or open it in the store. You can tell when it's Intel fresh vs reboxed.

When I grabbed my 4470k it was very early and from microcenter and I seem to have gotten a good one. 4.8 on air the first day. I thought this was normal then I saw people crashing at like 4400mhz so I guess it was good for not running crazy voltage or heating it up.

If you check out overclockers or something like that those guys check batch numbers and do returns on bad chips all the time. That is where the problem comes from, most retailers get returns on products and that hurts the retailer. I've seen the costs for CPU charts by the big quanties retailers buy and they don't make a lot of margin on them. It's no wonder why they have to resort to this, Intel doesn't want a perfectly good working CPU back and they don't have the margin to scrap it or make it open box for nothing. Reselling a perfectly working chip makes sense to the retailer, after all there is nothing wrong with it. It just doesn't hit 5ghz easily, that is not exactly a defect on a 3500mhz CPU.

Newegg has a new policy on CPU and that seems to help. I have not gotten a bad one from them in a while, not since they make you click that exchange only restocking fee applicable warning when you buy a CPU these days. Then again I usually only buy non overclock models from newegg.

I've had good luck with superbiiz for CPU too. Prices and shipping are good and always 100% factory sealed new stuff.
Amazon should still have a no questions asked 100% money back return policy on CPUs (and motherboards and all computer parts for that matter). At least they did last summer when I bought and returned tons of CPUs and motherboards

On the other hand, there have been reports that Newegg is rejecting motherboard returns for bent pins, when the pins were not broken (or broken on purpose by Newegg!). A few links on Google: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...0pins&safe=off
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post #12 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 03:20 PM
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I've never gotten anything but a sealed processor from Amazon. Also, for returns, I've found Amazon to be the best. They'll take just about anything back no questions asked (ok, there's a web form that asks questions but you know what I mean).

If you received something used from Amazon you ordered new definitely chat with customer support.

 

 

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post #13 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post
I've never gotten anything but a sealed processor from Amazon. Also, for returns, I've found Amazon to be the best. They'll take just about anything back no questions asked (ok, there's a web form that asks questions but you know what I mean).

If you received something used from Amazon you ordered new definitely chat with customer support.
I agree, I've bought plenty of stuff from amazon. If it was used it would be an instant return. I can't really see them intentionally selling used stuff as new. The PR risk doesn't seem worth it. Thats what their warehouse deals are for, they just knock off a few bucks.
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post #14 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 05:54 PM
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If it's broken, they'll even cross-ship the replacement, on top of paying for return shipping too
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post #15 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rc05 View Post
Amazon should still have a no questions asked 100% money back return policy on CPUs (and motherboards and all computer parts for that matter). At least they did last summer when I bought and returned tons of CPUs and motherboards

On the other hand, there have been reports that Newegg is rejecting motherboard returns for bent pins, when the pins were not broken (or broken on purpose by Newegg!). A few links on Google: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...0pins&safe=off
I trust newegg and not the people. Idiots bend pins then try to return. That's physical damage. newegg isn't bending pins and lying about it.

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post #16 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 06:54 PM
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I trust newegg and not the people. Idiots bend pins then try to return. That's physical damage. newegg isn't bending pins and lying about it.
I think a few of them took pictures before they shipped, and Newegg reneged when confronted. Whatever the case, Newegg doesn't allow returns on CPUs and charges restocking fees on motherboards, so I still prefer Amazon.
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post #17 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 06:58 PM
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I've never gotten anything but a sealed processor from Amazon. Also, for returns, I've found Amazon to be the best. They'll take just about anything back no questions asked (ok, there's a web form that asks questions but you know what I mean).

If you received something used from Amazon you ordered new definitely chat with customer support.
You might not be buying K series chips. People know that amazon takes stuff back, that is why they order there and return when it doesn't reach 5ghz overclocks. The hard core guys might go through 2 or 3 chips trying to win the die lottery... It's a different world than joe average i3's.

Because Amazon forces the seller to take it back, those people just resell it again through amazon to someone else. It's not amazon's fault, it's just how the system works. Amazon is the middle man. They can't tell if the seller is claiming brand new on something someone else returned and in most cases it is brand new or looks brand new and works just fine (minus the low or normal overclock headroom) so really it's not a big deal unless you are a serious overclocker ordering k chips.

I think what techmattr is talking about is different than what pentium and celeron buyers would experience. Go over to overclockers forum and you'll see a bunch of posts everytime a new chip releases with overclock results, people asking what batch it's from, and a bunch of guys complaining about getting duds and returning them. Those CPU's need to go someplace. It's funny that amazon's no questions asked return policy is why they are crappy place to buy from for such a product, their policy makes the problem. Newegg is a bit stricter so it's less of a problem, they now have special rules on CPU returns and it's exchange only and it's defective only. You can't return a CPU because it only overclocked to 4.5ghz, that's not an acceptable reason for return on newegg, but it's fine with Amazon.

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post #18 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 06:59 PM
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I think a few of them took pictures before they shipped, and Newegg reneged when confronted. Whatever the case, Newegg doesn't allow returns on CPUs and charges restocking fees on motherboards, so I still prefer Amazon.
I've never got a bad cpu or bent a pin on motherboard or got a motherboard with bent pins (even bought multiple open box mobos). I like newegg. Buy most of my stuff from there.

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post #19 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 07:01 PM
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For the record I love Amazon and have a prime account. I just wouldn't buy my K series i7 from them. I trust them. I just don't trust the sellers that use them to sell stuff.

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post #20 of 50 Old 06-23-2014, 07:17 PM
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Well most of the time, Amazon sells it themselves anyway. Otherwise you don't get Prime shipping and guaranteed returns. Do they repackage returned items? If they do, I think it's marked as such when buying...
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post #21 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by techmattr View Post
I'm guessing you don't have a CPU you can swap out for testing? The Ballistix RAM can be finicky but the Kingston is typically golden on any board. Are either of the sets you tried on the HCL?
The Kingston is on the HCL, not the Ballistix. But the symptoms were exactly the same with both memory models so I doubt that is the explanation.

One interesting thing is that in the BIOS on the first board (never got the second one to POST), with slots 3 and 4 (B1 + B2) empty, it lists slot occupancy as

B1: N/A
B2:

as if it knows B1 is empty but it can't see B2 at all.

I don't have an extra CPU, unfortunately.

I doubt I'll ever get to the bottom of this. I have been running memtest and prime95 over night without a single hiccup so I think I'll call it a day. I can't be bothered to wait for an Amazon RMA turnaround. If the board borks completely I'll send it back and get a different model.
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post #22 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 07:30 AM
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I guess you're not able to exchange the CPU from the retailer? I'm not going to say it's impossible but it would be surprising to get 2 bad boards from that line. Those "TUF" boards are pretty much engineered for stability and reliability.
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post #23 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 07:48 AM
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I won't buy most things from anyone but amazon anymore unless newegg has some sort of insane deal. I went through hell with them when I bought a high-end ($1800) laptop that came with a messed up motherboard which made the webcam go in and out. I went through dell to fix it, spent 2 hours with some guy who treated me like a moron, even had him remote in and see it was messed up. He finally sent someone out (I was working in desktop support back then so I regularly dealt with the dell guys) and he actually messed up the computer even worse by scratching it all up when he tried to pry the clipped-parts off.

Ended up just sending it back to newegg. They spent 7 days getting to looking at it, on top of me having to pay for ground shipping (which took another 5 days), only to say "it works fine, but there's physical damage on it so we can't take it back anyways" and shipping it back to me. I eventually got on the notebook review forums and got ahold of a dell rep there and they cross-shipped me a new laptop.

Never again with newegg unless they have great deals. Even then, the 4770k I got from them with their haswell launch-sale ($120 bucks off mobo+i7) won't go over 4.2ghz without crashing, no matter what voltage I give it. Just no luck with them.
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post #24 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 08:07 AM
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Even then, the 4770k I got from them with their haswell launch-sale ($120 bucks off mobo+i7) won't go over 4.2ghz without crashing, no matter what voltage I give it. Just no luck with them.
lol well don't feel bad about that. A lot of these Haswell won't go much past 4.2GHz. They seem to hit a wall around there. I have a 4670k that's stuck at 4.2GHz as well. I also have a cherry picked 4670k that does 5.2GHz with ease though
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post #25 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 08:12 AM
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Well most of the time, Amazon sells it themselves anyway. Otherwise you don't get Prime shipping and guaranteed returns. Do they repackage returned items? If they do, I think it's marked as such when buying...
So what happens to an i7 someone return to amazon because it didn't overclock well ?

I'm pretty sure they don't throw a perfect working $300 item with a 2% profit margin in the trash. Intel doesn't take it back, we all know that. It goes someplace, usually to someone else.

I'm not sure it's amazon doing it though; they are probably innocent. But if they force it back to the supplier they got it from that supplier likely tries to unload it again. Amazon is big and very demanding on its suppliers and sellers- so they have no choice to resort to such. There's no margin for an alternative to be viable.

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post #26 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 08:21 AM
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Bad luck..

PC components have always been hit or miss. I had a lot more failure in the old days I think actually.
Agreed. Have built my own and for friends the last 14 years. Nothing new :/
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post #27 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 08:25 AM
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So what happens to an i7 someone return to amazon because it didn't overclock well ?

I'm pretty sure they don't throw a perfect working $300 item with a 2% profit margin in the trash. Intel doesn't take it back, we all know that. It goes someplace, usually to someone else.

I'm not sure it's amazon doing it though; they are probably innocent. But if they force it back to the supplier they got it from that supplier likely tries to unload it again. Amazon is big and very demanding on its suppliers and sellers- so they have no choice to resort to such. There's no margin for an alternative to be viable.

It goes to Intel who tests it and re-boxes it as new. It's the fault of people not willing to take the hit on cherry picking. The guys I know who do it now are all sponsored so they aren't paying for the chips in the first place and the duds usually go to forum BST or sit in a box in their basement. When I used to cherry pick on my own though I was willing to take a hit on dumping the duds to eBay and end up spending $500 for a $300 chip. But that chip would clock to the moon. Even back in the early days though people would still send the duds back to Newegg and other small OC shops.
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post #28 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 08:28 AM
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So what happens to an i7 someone return to amazon because it didn't overclock well ?

I'm pretty sure they don't throw a perfect working $300 item with a 2% profit margin in the trash. Intel doesn't take it back, we all know that. It goes someplace, usually to someone else.
I'm not sure if they do it or not, but they have enough employees that I wouldn't be surprised if they had the products checked to make sure they're defective if that's what you choose as a reason. If you just choose to return a processor you have to pay shipping back, I'm not sure what happens from there but they do have the amazon warehouse for open box items.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but people who return things for not overclocking enough are the scum of the earth, you get what you get and you deal. Returning things like that just to go and buy another one only increases prices for everyone.
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post #29 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 09:19 AM
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I agree with that. I've never returned a processor before.

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post #30 of 50 Old 06-24-2014, 09:49 AM
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So what happens to an i7 someone return to amazon because it didn't overclock well ?

I'm pretty sure they don't throw a perfect working $300 item with a 2% profit margin in the trash. Intel doesn't take it back, we all know that. It goes someplace, usually to someone else.

I'm not sure it's amazon doing it though; they are probably innocent. But if they force it back to the supplier they got it from that supplier likely tries to unload it again. Amazon is big and very demanding on its suppliers and sellers- so they have no choice to resort to such. There's no margin for an alternative to be viable.
It goes here.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/node/index....&redirect=true

Sure some might slip through the cracks if the buyer was slick and told them it was unopened (opened the intel seal carefully). But I really can't see Amazon repacking used stuff. There would be people complaining about it like they are with neweggs RMA mobo issues. Again thats what warehouse deals are for. If you've never checked it out they have some pretty good deals and you get the same return policy I believe.
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