3 Year Laptop Reliability Study

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Thankful, Nov 17, 2009.

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  1. Thankful

    Thankful Savings Monitor

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  2. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Confusing. I was under the impression that, with some exceptions, a handful of companies (laptop OEM manufacturers) actually produce most of the laptops.

    Five companies (Quanta, Compal, Wistron, Inventec, Pegatron) have agreements to manufacture laptops for the well-known "brands"; HP, Dell, Sony, Apple, Acer, Toshiba, and Lenovo. So, isn't it more like "Dude, you're getting a Quanta (or a Compal, or a Wistron)"?

    EDIT: The aforementioned struck me as being similar to LCDs. There are basically 5 (significant) LCD panel makers; LG, Samsung, AUO, CMO, and CPT.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  3. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Perhaps the mfg tailor different units for diff sellers. IE: HP wants units at certain price points so cheaper components are used while Asus has a higher price point in mind so better components are used.

    OR whats more likely the sellers are using diff mfgs - that is HP uses mfg A and Asus mfg B - regardless you are better off with an Asus than an HP.

    Am I correct in the understanding that Fujitsu mfgs its own laptops?
     
  4. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Not 100% certain, but I believe some Japanese brands, including Fujitsu, still do some in-house assembly. The vast majority, though, appear to come out of these ODMs, with Quanta being the largest; accounting for something like 1/3 of all notebooks manufactured......they are *huge*.

    I see your point re Asus. HP does business with (at least) four different ODMs, whereas Toshiba and Asus primarily use just one or two, IIRC. Perhaps using fewer ODMs allows the "brand" customer to have more input and ensures better QC. ??
     
  5. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Or this (these) mfgs just produces better machines (and thus the machines are a bit more expensive to start with) than some of the others. I would think this is a more likely scenario.
     
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hmm. The didn't even mention Clevo. They make a bunch of laptops, but admittedly, they are higher end machines.
     
  7. loli22

    loli22 Registered Member

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    acer more reliable than lenovo :blink:

    i doubt that
     
  8. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    For what it's worth, my son's Vaio laptop is an overpriced piece of junk - fan, two keyboards and hard drive replaced in first 2.5 years of ownership. My wife's reasonably priced laptop has had no issues in first 2 years.
     
  9. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Yeah, absolutely a **top of the line** manufacturer. I suspect they were looking at more or less mainstream machines that can be picked up at large electronics retailers, big box stores, and the like, whereas the Clevo (mainly Sager-branded) machines are typically only available online via a few resellers.
     
  10. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Take another look at the link. It appears you made have misread the chart. Lower numbers are better.
     
  11. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    These numbers are not someones personal opinion but (supposedly) real-world experience. The conductor of the survey recorded the repair stats that they conducted and simply reported them. If that means Asus beat Lenovo so be it.

    However it is possible that Asus owners (and others) chose other means than to go to this repair co to repair defective systems so the stats should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

    EDIT: oops, just noticed you wrote Acer not Asus,,,,but I will let my comment stand as the "grain of salt" thing is probably still relevant.
     
  12. loli22

    loli22 Registered Member

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    oops instead of asus i wrote acer
     
  13. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    It was probably outside the scope of the article, but it would be intersting to know what percentage of the "hardware malfunctions" were items that could be repaired/replaced at a reasonable cost and what percentage were serious enough that the laptop would need to be replaced.

    I've been considering getting a laptop, but those reliability figures have me reconsidering the idea. If those numbers are accurate, even with the best ones they list, one in six will fail in three years. I think I'll stick with desktop units.
     
  14. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    very informative.
     
  15. tipstir

    tipstir Registered Member

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    Something wrong with that chart. Where do they compile this info from?

    HP/Compaq been very good to excellent no real issues.
    ACER/Gateway been average to very good some faulty hardware
    SONY VAIO and DELL Latitude been average
    Toshiba Laptops were not doing so well 2007-2008 prior years okay
    Not apple shop so can't comment on that product
     
  16. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    My first laptop from Win95 days was a Toshiba Satellite Pro 430CDT. I still have it and every now and then I fire it up just to remind myself what a reliable machine it was/is. I'll keep it as a relic!

    When XP was released I upgraded to a Satellite A45-S120. This went with me every day to the college where I worked, and also has been completely reliable.

    I upgraded recently to a Satellite Pro L450 because the A45 doesn't have enough horsepower to run my new Photo software and process large image files. I will donate the A45 to a local library.

    I like this new machine so much that I plan to make it my primary system and retire my Win2K desktop to a secondary/backup system.

    While Reliablility Studies/Surveys are useful, more important to me over the years has been first-hand information from people I know. My brother, a software developer, has always used Toshiba with never any problems, so I went with his recommendation from Win95 days.

    An acquaintance recently told me he has used HP laptops for years, also with no problems. I don't think this survey would change his mind for his next laptop!

    When reliability statistics are compiled, I can't see how the compilers can know under what condititions the machine was used, and what actually caused the failure. Too many unknown variables.

    ----
    rich
     
  17. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Wait a bit, lets look at the numbers again.

    Even the worst on the list,,,HP,,,had only 25% of units that had problems. Only 25% you say, thats a lot. Well, yes it is but the flip side is that 75% of units had no problems. So what are the odds that you, or someone you know, had a problem over the last 3 years with an HP PC (assuming of course that you or they acctually owned a HP PC :) )? Why 1 in 4 of course. So your experience and that of your friends, and that of the company publishing the stats, means very little as to if you or someone you know, will have a problem in the future. Also we have no idea what the stats really mean. Are we to assume that the stats of (in this case) 25% represents 25% of all of the PCs HP sold over the last 3 years. I doubt it very much. Usually these numbers are representative of regional stats. Certainly this company is not the only one in the world that repairs these brands of PCs so the numbers mean less that might at first glance appear to be the case.

    It is telling however that if you google search reliability of "brand x" PC you will find various studies and surveys. Many disagree with each other but in my experience not by a great deal. For example its not likely (or rather not a regular occurrence) that a brand that finished in the last 20% of study A will turn up in the first 20% of study B. The flip is of course also true with it being unlikely that a brand in the best 20% ranking in study C will turn up in the worst 20% of study D. What is more likely to occur is that brands will move around a bit. Maybe shifting place by 15% or 20% from study to study but generally not much more than that. So these numbers do have some modest predictive value.

    Still, as noted above, even if you have a PC that finished dead last in every study ever done it does not mean you WILL have a problem if you own one of the PCs in question. All it means is that the odds that you will have a problem are greater than if you owned a different PC.
     
  18. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I think there's some confusion about who really makes the notebooks (same with LCD monitors) and how reliability really plays into it.

    Using me as an example, I build custom computers and I "badge" my computers with my company's name on them. But like HP, Acer, Dell, etc, I don't manufacture the motherboards, drives, cases, power supplies, etc. Instead, I buy from OEMs and simply assemble the various parts (subassemblies), install the OS, and stick my company badge on it. That's all these guys do. They are mass "assemblers" of already made subassemblies manufactured by other suppliers.

    In terms of reliability, if the OEM hard drive fails, as far as my client is concerned, that's a strike against me and "my" entire brand name, not the maker of the drive.

    Same with notebooks and monitors. If the notebook's motherboard fails, that's a strike against HP notebooks, not ASUS who may have actually manufactured the motherboard. Or if the LCD panel fails in a Sony monitor, that's a strike against Sony, and not Sharp, who actually makes many of their panels.

    So I think these reliability statistics are unreliable and would only be useful if they broke down the statistics into specific failure categories by component, or major subassembly.
     
  19. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    But surly different price point units will use different components. Also different mfgs (HP, Asus etc) will contract with different assemblers who will use different components from each other as a matter of course. So there should be some value to the reliability stats.

    In your case you could use el-chepo components or premium components. It stands to reason if you use el-chepo components you are more likely to have a problem with the device than if you use top of the line. Your reputation for building units (reliable or not) will depend on what you put into the units you build,,,,,,will it not?

    Same with the brand names.

    There is a reason HP is typically cheaper than say an Asus, and thats the same reason that Asus tends to be more reliable. The Asus units have higher end components than the HP.

    At least thats the way I see it.
     
  20. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Sure, I could, but I don't. You are actually illustrating my point. Different components does not mean, or at least does not have to mean different quality. As far I am concerned with MY builds, the quality and reliably of the components I use are top notch, regardless if the machine costs $500, or $1500. The difference is only in what you get for the money. With the $1500 machine, you get a faster CPU, a good graphics card (or 2!) instead of on-board, bigger drives, bigger monitor, etc. I still expect, as do my clients, for each machine to run flawlessly for years. I use name brand motherboards, CPUs, drives, and PSUs on my budget systems, just as I do on my high-end systems. But the budget may use a 350W Seasonic while the high-end might have a 850W Corsair that costs 4 times as much. Both are quality, high-efficiency, 80-Plus certified PSUs with good warranties. The budget system may have a DVD ROM drive for $25, while the high end might have a Blu-Ray burner $150. I can't say the same thing for the big makers.

    In the case of notebooks, I would want to know why they are failing. Do Sony 15" laptops fail but the 17"s don't? Do Acer AMD machines work but they have problems with their Intels? Do Toshiba notebook batteries catch on fire? Do IBM machines fail across all the categories? We don't know, and that's a problem, IMO, be consumers don't have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

    I agree with your comment about HP and ASUS, but isn't that like comparing a Lexus to a Chevrolet?
     
  21. SafetyFirst

    SafetyFirst Registered Member

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    Bill_Bright,

    could you post your list of the most reliable manufacturers of subassemblies (from your experience), please?
     
  22. tipstir

    tipstir Registered Member

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    Toshiba laptops like Tecra and even the cheapo SPro were one of the best laptops though heavy gave you so much features. Today the company doesn't seem to care as much as it did in the late 90's. HP has made a huge come back from the old Ominotebook days. Let's not forget AST, Texas Instruments another brand that kinda left us. Digital, Compaq now HP/Compaq these are pretty good and even using AMD Mobile CPU though they tend to overheat but still hold strong. I would buy another HP again over Gateway even though Gateway is owned and operated by ACER. The top tier ACER laptop isn't that bad, but offers a lot of features and quality. Just way to many brands out there MSI famous MOBO (motherboard manufacturer and then you got ASUS also making laptops. VIA also coming out with Nano VIA chip in their crop of laptops). Panasonic ToughBook very popular with corp American companies that need laptops in all sorts of weather conditions. DELL too over AST line of laptops and SONY well they had to get in and make those VAIO laptops.

    Alienware and Sager notebook have some strong laptop although more aimed for gaming but still can be use as a desktop replacement. I perfer Sager their 3 HDD design and power really a strong player in this market.
     
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Well, I don't want to keep driving this thread off topic, but I like (but certainly there are other fine brands),

    Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards
    Antec cases
    Antec, Mushkin, and Corsair PSUs
    Intel CPUs (but AMDs are reliable too)
    Gigabyte, XFX and Sapphire graphics cards
    Crucial, OCZ, Mushkin, and Corsair RAM
    Samsung monitors
    APC UPSes
     
  24. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Exactly. And it can boil down to what "grade" component from the manufacturer. Lets go with hard drives for example. Many people have a favorite brand hard drive for example. OK...but which product line? Say someone loves Western Digital drives, what many don't know is the grade of drive, you can get an el cheapo model from WD, one with just a 1 year warranty rated for under 300,000 MTBF, or 3 year warranty model with more MTBF, or an enterprise grade model..5 year warranty, 1.2 million MTBF.

    It's not always just what brand components, it's what grade is being used.
     
  25. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I did not expect (nor was I suggesting) you did. But I do suspect the big brand names that get poor stats on their machines do. In fact, a while back I was thinking of buying a unit I found in some store and posted the specs on this forum. I asked for comments as to the quality of the machine. The replies were pretty clear that there was not good value for the dollar.

    Yes of course, but if you read the posts above there were comments like "I have used HP and my brother and his friend also and HP has been great. It would take more than a report like this to get me to change my mind about HP". It was to this comment that I addressed my post above which sparked yours.

    It makes perfect sense to me that a Lexus will be superior to a Chevy and the price would reflect that. Some people (not suggesting that thats you) seem to feel differently and that really surprises me. They see no reason to pay for the Lexus when they can buy a Chevy and thats fine but please don't suggest the Lexus is no better than the Chevy. Sometimes you do get what you pay for........
     
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