Topic: interesting laptop failure facts

http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/Squa … y_1109.pdf

(pdf alert!)

this is the result of research done by Squaretrade, a company that sells extended warranties. they analyzed 30.000 laptops and looked at which brands and models were most reliable.
very interesting results, and definitely something to look at before you buy a laptop.

asus laptops came out on top, and i can only agree.. the things my asus has been through are shocking, and the damn thing still works.. undestructable (*knocks on wood very loud now!*)

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

the average failure rates seem a bit high but then, what business was squaretrade in again?

from my personal experience i can say that apple definitely deserve their not so stellar spot in the ranking. i have seen a few too many DOA ibook with friends of mine. i can't say much about the newer generation non-pro macbooks. my macbook pro, which i've had for 2.5 years now only had a case of faulty battery which was easily fixed, for free. also, my 2002 g4 powerbook is still in every day use. the screen has been replaced once because of broken hinges. luckily this happened right before the 3 years warranty was over. before that i had a 1998 wallstreet powerbook which worked for 6 years before failing.

so it's really a mixed bag as far as apple goes and i'd say they mostly have (or had) QC problems with certain models, other models seem pretty fine.

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My GF's Acer is horror. Never again.

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Supprising that Apple is next to Dell while I love the first, hate the second

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also i think the information they provide is very unspecific and the data base could be seen as not really representative:

- failure due to accidents included in the statistics say more about the user than the actual hardware.
- what constitutes a failure? or from a customer point of view, having a faulty battery replaced which in the case of apple for instance results in exacly 0 days without your laptop is a non issue. it's a long shot from having to hand in/ship your laptop for a repair with a turn around time of days, sometimes weeks.
- their data base is limited to what was reported to their own service.

unfirtunately they get major press coverage with this pissing contest.

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Nice observation but I don't trust it.

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

Another tip; you can do what pro server admins do.

*Buy laptop.
*Make sure it has warranty.
*Realise that things typically break either through extended wear or because of manufacturing issues (most issues with engines also arise right after re-tuning them).
*Write a script (or download some testing suite) to have it run at 100% usage for 24 hours or so. One of the things this will catch is improper mounting of the heatsink.
*Realise that you are doing everything you can to make the thing catch fire during normal usage so don't walk off.
*If it catches fire take it back.

Assuming you don't burn down your house it's far better to have the CPU blow in the first 24 hours than it is to have it slowly wear, then break right after the warranty runs out.

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

kas: excellent idea!

of course these guys are in the warranty business. but that way they see lots of laptops that are broken, and can see what goes wrong where probably better than any other shop.

as for accidents: that does say something significant. it says whether a laptop is resistant to stupid things.. my asus for instance had a whole glass of beer thrown over it while on stage..and it survived without even crashing and still works like a charm. in other words: something that comes in a lot for accidents, isn't very strong..

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

I got that trick from both a expert sys-admin (who runs a server farm for a Scandinavian travel agency) and from another guy maintaining boat-diesels who just so happened to also have a fair amount of knowledge about aircraft (I have a rather diverse circle of friends :-) ). When I hear the same thing in very different contexts I tend to sit up& pay attention.

It takes some guts to run a engine at full-rev without the sound-proofing on or to tell your brand-new shiny laptop to try everything in it's power to catch fire but both are way better than getting stuck at the middle of the IJselmeer without a engine or crash in a gig (under stage-lights with their heat...) a week after the warranty runs out.

I wouldn't bother pushing ram&hd very hard these days (beyond routine checks) as both are cheap and easy to replace, but cpu and the mo-bo should be able to take some "burn in" in their stride. If not... well, that's what warranties are for.

10

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

rude66 wrote:

asus laptops came out on top, and i can only agree.. the things my asus has been through are shocking, and the damn thing still works.. undestructable (*knocks on wood very loud now!*)

x2! i practically sleep with mine.

cuties don't exert

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

Zachary Bosch wrote:

Another tip; you can do what pro server admins do.

*Buy laptop.
*Make sure it has warranty.
*Realise that things typically break either through extended wear or because of manufacturing issues (most issues with engines also arise right after re-tuning them).
*Write a script (or download some testing suite) to have it run at 100% usage for 24 hours or so. One of the things this will catch is improper mounting of the heatsink.
*Realise that you are doing everything you can to make the thing catch fire during normal usage so don't walk off.
*If it catches fire take it back.

Assuming you don't burn down your house it's far better to have the CPU blow in the first 24 hours than it is to have it slowly wear, then break right after the warranty runs out.

not sure if the best thing to do is immediately put so many miles on it the second you get it? i guess it doesn't hurt so bad

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

drive it like you stole it

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rude66 wrote:

asus laptops came out on top, and i can only agree.. the things my asus has been through are shocking, and the damn thing still works.. undestructable (*knocks on wood very loud now!*)

I cant agree more with that .pdf - my Asus L8400 only gave up last June after 8 punishing years of gigs. 5-hour sets, sea, sand, 34

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

go find out who did the survey and who they did it for (a company that flogs warranties...duuuuuuuh Apple do their own)...they got the results they wanted..and even then not the most convenient.

I don't trust the three-year projection. Electronic components generally follow the bathtub curve: they either die early on (ie within one year) or keep going for five and then keel over. SquareTrade has simply done a linear extrapolation on their projection that I'm not convinced is correct - I'd like to see real data there. As a result, the difference between failure rates from the real data is not quite as pronounced as made out. Personally, I wouldn't touch HP or Gateway stuff with a bargepole but the picture for Lenovo and Acer may not be as bad as made out in the report.

You also have to consider what happens when the machine goes wrong. Apple has a very good return-and-repair system in place and has done a number of repairs outside the warranty period when the failure was systemic (graphics chip problem on old white iBooks, display on vintage 2003 Powerbooks for example). I don't have much experience of Windows-based PC vendors doing that (unless you have a business contract with Dell, for example).

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

pslayvins wrote:

not sure if the best thing to do is immediately put so many miles on it the second you get it? i guess it doesn't hurt so bad

The point is to snuff out weak-spots while you are sure it's still in warranty.

The reasoning is that it's better to have a misapplied heatsink show itself quickly than result in gradual wear. Besides, even if few people actually do so a computer *should* be able to run at full throttle for a day, what if you'd be rendering graphics or sound, for example?

Last edited by Zachary Bosch (2009-11-21 18:22:44)

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

Kenzaburo wrote:

I don't have much experience of Windows-based PC vendors doing that (unless you have a business contract with Dell, for example).

Toshiba is quite good with that stuff. Toshiba keeps spare parts in stock, even for models that aren't on the market any more and has drivers up for download for older models. I think so does Lenovo. Lenovo is also good with Linux support. Apple probably has less of a drivers issue as they make their own OS with only a few models to support but I'm not sure whether they keep parts in stock for repairing older models. Of course if you'd like to run something else than OSX on your Mac you may have a problem as Apple is notoriously bad with providing specs to the Open Source world. Probably not a big issue for many because I think most people who buy Apple do so because they like OSX and it serves for their needs but for some this spells real trouble and a lot of work.

I was quite surprised by some of these stats as well; I'd expect higher failure rates in Apples and Sony's from what I've seen, less in Lenovo. It also doesn't mention *how* they break. A broken Dell screen is sad and it might cost you 500 to 2000 for a new laptop; sad but not the end of the world. Both Sony and Apple have a reputation for batteries that explode or catch fire (I think Sony makes or at least made batteries for Apple). If that happens while you are away from home or with the laptop on your lap you're in a bit more trouble. I think everyone agrees that Toshiba is dependable, but Toshiba doesn't really make higher end systems, specs-wise.

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http://consumerist.com/5408885/smoking- … s-warranty

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Fan inside laptop covered with tar

http://i50.tinypic.com/105v9jo.jpg

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

It may sound strange but there is one perfect tool for this; the little brushes that come with hair trimmers to clean those. Somehow those have exactly the right size and stiffness. Toothbrushes are too wide, too stiff and the hairs are too short.

That probably doesn't help Ruud; if he owns a hair-trimmer I'm not sure i want to know about that :-p

But yeah, smoking wrecks gear with moving parts, it's true. However, I think it's going a bit far to refuse to repair the computers of about a third of the population after selling them a expensive warranty without noting that up-front, especially as the defect may well be unrelated.

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Yeah, I agree with you there, it seems weird ..

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note that this is apple u.s. and if you live in la la land you gotta be prepared to get shit like this.

not defending apple, but somehow this kind of scientifically unsound shit doesn't seem to occur too often outside the u.s.

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

thats because the US is years ahead of us when it comes to crap like this. the only reason its not here, is because we didn't think of it yet..
when the smoking ban came into effect in the US, i also thought ''that'd never get passed here''..

that fan looks like a bit more than just tar though. my laptop has been standing in plenty of smoky areas, next to smoke machines, etc and it doesn't look like this.

and yes kas, i do own a hair trimmer.. big_smile

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

call me when the EU can get proper class actions big_smile

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

alex_d_steak wrote:

call me when the EU can get proper class actions big_smile

Instead we have governments that are more concerned with protecting the people from corporations. Note that neither Apple nor MS are EU companies so the EU has nothing to gain by protecting them.

In the US exploding iPods & iPhones could lead to Apple having to refund damages, here the whole thing could be called a hazard and taken off the market altogether without the need for any one consumer to file a suit. A few tens of millions in fines is nothing to those companies, products taken off the market is.

Re: interesting laptop failure facts

rude66 wrote:

that fan looks like a bit more than just tar though. my laptop has been standing in plenty of smoky areas, next to smoke machines, etc and it doesn't look like this.

It's mysterious indeed how that works; mine isn't that bad either. I do perceive cigarette smoke as more sticky than the more "pure" smoke of roll your own or pipe smoke. Considering the huge clouds that something like Ashton's Artisan's Blend leads to my fans should be pure gunk but they are not.

and yes kas, i do own a hair trimmer.. big_smile

If anyone needs me I'll be in the shower, pouring a bottle of bleach into my ear to get rid of the mental images :-p.

Anyway, those brushes are perfect.

Another note; you can put a vacuum cleaner on a computer just fine but watch the fans. Fans contain electro-motors (duh) and those will act as turbines when spun by outside forces (they basically become a windmill). This means that cheerfully putting a vacuum on your fan will lead to a voltage somewhere on your mobo or power-supply that probably doesn't expect a voltage going that way. Pin them down with a long match or similar and only then put the vacuum on them.

Oh, and while I'm at it; any liquid spillage should be met by unplugging the thing and taking out the battery *immediately*, then allow at least a day in a dry and warm, well ventilated spot for drying. Liquid is no big deal, liquid&electricity combined are.