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The question Hardware vendors to avoid is ok for a first order approximation of the problem, but those who have been in the industry for more than a decade know you can't trust any one vendor to never have problems.

  • How do you pick a vendor in the face of so many choices?
  • How do you evaluate a hardware choice to avoid getting the bad lemon, especially with a new chipset/HD design/GPU/etc?
  • Knowing that sometimes you can't judges this in advance, do you do anything now to protect yourself in case something does go wrong?

My acceptable vendor/manufacturer list is fluid and always changing, but sometimes I get stuck assuming that one is better than the others because they've done so well for me for so long.

  • How do you avoid holding onto old assumptions and approach each purchase with a clean slate?

-Adam

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closed as not constructive by splattne Feb 9 '12 at 7:40

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That's deep! :-) Kinda like looking into a crystal sometimes eh? –  RobertTheGrey Apr 30 '09 at 19:31
    
This is a great question! If we get some good answers maybe we can point all of the "which vendor should I choose" questions to this one (how vs. which). –  kce Feb 9 '12 at 5:58

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

My answers are not in order or mapped 1-1 with your questions. These are just bits of advice to avoid getting burned on hardware vendors.

  • For hardware itself, look at possible candidates on Newegg. Not to buy, mind you, but to read the reviews. If you are buying something for a particular feature and no one uses that feature, that's a mark against. If there are no reviews at all, that's a mark against. If the reviews are mostly negative, that's an obvious mark against.

  • Ask the community. Read through support forums for the various brands/communities and see what they say. Are there a lot of complaints about the hardware you're looking at? Do people generally like the product or have a lot of success stories? Is there a support forum at all?

  • Try before you buy. Seems obvious, but easy to overlook. Get a trial of whatever it is and test the hell out of it while you can still return it. If it's not good enough, send it back. You've lost some weeks now but saved a lot of both time and money in the long run.

  • If you're choosing between service providers, ask for references. If they're a good company, they should have satisfied customers. Ask them about their competitors.

  • Do they have a good support plan? If something breaks on a Saturday night, can you call someone to fix it? Will they guarantee a replacement of defective hardware more than 30 days (or several years) after you bought it?

  • Do you have a good past experience with the provider? If your company has never had a problem with Company X's products, but Company Y could save you a little money, is it worth it? What if Company Y saved you a lot of money?

There's no easy answer. You have to investigate and perform all the due diligence yourself. Weigh all the factors and get a second opinion.

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