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Thanks Asus for putting a shitty cheap low-bid video card in my PC



In June of this year after the second PC issue in as many months, I decided enough was enough and went to Fry's Electronics to buy a new workstation.

Since I work as a consultant, I need something that will stay running for me without issue and I'm willing to pay for that machine. I wasn't certain they'd have a workstationon the floor that would do the job, but they did with one of the Asus Essentio series boxes. I put a second 2T HD in it, filled it up with RAM (32G), and proceeded to use it with no issue until last Monday.


The problem

Sitting here working, the PC decided to reboot itself. Just out of the blue, with no apparent warning, and seemingly unrelated to anything I was doing.

Thing is though... it didn't come all the way back, so I hard-booted it.

One time like that is a "huh... wonder what that's about issue", but not necessarily a reason to run around the room screaming.

About a half an hour later it did the same thing again, and that was time to run around the room screaming.

So... I first looked in the event logs and the only thingin there of any note was the hard boot I had done to get it back.

I ran Stinger and it was clean. I had Security Essentials do a complete computer scan and left it alone for the rest of the day until that was done, and it was clean as well. I ran CCleaner to take a good look at what was there at startup... nothing I didn't know about. And I ran HijackThis and reviewed everything, not finding anything unusual.


The extended problem

Having satisfied myself that it was not some sort of virus, I tried doing some more work and bam it did it again... only this time it got stuck in a boot cycle andwasn't going to come back easily.

I finally got it to a point that I could do a 'repair' ... tried that, failed, but it offered to go to a restore point, so I did that.

Unfortunately, that was not a silver bullet, although I did get out of the boot cycling.

After some more unscheduled reboots, I popped in my Windows 8 DVD and dorked around with tools there for a while. Finally after doing some reading I had the genius idea to go for a "Refresh".


Refresh - my fault

Well, Refresh did pretty much exactly as advertised and took out all my settings. I run really good backups so wasn't concerned about getting back to a running state, justprobably hadn't considered I'd be doing it then.

But... the machine was clean, and I was hopeful.

Until it rebooted.

So I shut everything down, took a picture of all the cabling, labeled the cabling, unplugged everything, removed my secondary drive, buttoned it up, and packed off to Fry's.

I talked to the guy in the service department at Fry's and I know he deals with lots of people that think they know what they're doing, so he was thinking I had a virus thatby doing a Refresh was still there. I didn't think so, but considering I was having to reinstall everything anyway, I figured hauling it back and doing a reinstall of Windows 8 probably wouldn't hurt any more than what I had going.

Then he said he had another idea...

We plugged the box in, added monitor, kbd, and mouse. He played with the video card and the fan didn't seem to be wanting to spin. So he jacked in a USB drive with a bunchof video tests on it. 4 degrees up and no fan...

Two concurrent tests... 50 degrees hotter and no fan

30 seconds after starting, he had 5 tests running, the video card was over 200 degrees and no fan.

Then it rebooted.


Go get a video card

So... it was pretty obvious it was the video card which, by the way, was hot enough to remove fingerprints at that point.

While I was standing there, a lady rolled up with what looked like an identical machine. The service guy looked at the paperwork, looked at me and said "video card"... sheesh

So we both walked over to the aisle where video cards were displayed... the on-board one was a 3G card, and this being the day after Christmas, they were sold out of the 3Gcards. I ended up going with a 2G Asus card.


Show and Tell

I always say "Showing is better than Telling", so this is going to be show and tell. After I took out the on-board video card, I took a couple pictures of the 2G and 3Gside-by-side. You tell me which you think is the 2G:





That second one is a little fuzzy, but you can definitely see the difference between the two. The cooling fins on the lower one are thicker than the entire fan body on the upper one.

Of course I wouldn't be posting this if the 'meatier' one was the 3G... but it's not.


So what's up with that?

I spend $1K for a workstation to do business with and it has a 3G graphics card with a weenie little fan.

Then when it craps out, and will crap out... it's under warranty, so it'll get replaced.

But... it has to be shipped back to Asus for that, and I'm looking at 6 to 8 weeks before I get it back.

If I had wanted to do that, I would have gotten a loaner from Fry's, would have to set it up to build and run on my client's VPN... all the tools, all the IIS crappola, etc...then 6 to 8 weeks from now go through that again? I think not... so I bought the 2G card. It's working great, everything's all setup.

Just thought I'd write a post about my experience ... credit given where it's due and all that.


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