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Why We Sell Intel

Yesterday (August 15, 2012), a customer brought in a computer we built with a defective Intel DZ68DB motherboard. It worked OK, but occasionally refused to start. Unplug it and plug it back in and it was good to go. We called Intel at 5:30 Pacific Time to inform them and ask for a replacement board.

The board showed up today (August 16) at Noon. It was shipped from Lexington, KY.

We make a big deal about being an Intel Gold Partner and promote Intel products over their competitors. Sometimes customers complain that Intel costs a bit more than brand X. But when their computer breaks and they are out of business until replacements arrive, the small differential in price pays huge dividends. If you go to the big box store to buy a cheaper computer, all you'll get is a one year warranty.

The only way Intel can offer that level of service on a 3 year warranty is to make sure their parts don't break very often. Saving a few dollars on a product the manufacturer will only warranty for a year is foolish. The extra dollars don't just buy you two more years of warranty, they buy you a computer the manufacturer is confident won't cost him repair money for two more years.

That can make a huge difference when you consider that several major manufacturers have released products with catastrophic failure rates. Amazingly, these companies continued to sell the products well after the flaw had been discovered. Contrast that with Intel's problem with their roll-out of their Sandy Bridge motherboard chipset last year (January 2011). The flaw only affected SATA ports 2 through 5 (ports 0 and 1 were unaffected) and even then, the problem would only show up after quite a bit of time had passed.

Intel had two choices: (1) Fix the problem going forward but not admit they had a problem. Or (2) recall all 8 million boards they'd shipped and start over. Because a lot of computers don't use more than two SATA devices, they would have avoided most of the fallout. It would have been fairly simple to have replaced the boards as the failures showed up and most people would never have known there was a problem in the first place. But that wasn't Intel. Intel recalled all boards. Industry estimates are that the recall cost Intel $1 billion. But it didn't cost them customers.

And that's why Ventura County Computers only builds Intel workstations and servers.