Detecting and Returning Faulty Parts
Be sure to get all your parts at about the same time and to build your PC as soon as you have your parts. Test your system thoroughly the first 30 days after you build it. Try to use the new system a lot to see if any flaky behavior develops. Most parts can be returned within 30 days of purchase, if necessary.
Its important to know that just because a part isnt Dead On Arrival (DOA) doesnt mean it hasnt been damaged by ESD. The part could work for two weeks and then fail. This is why you must test a new system intensively for the first few weeks.
One computer repair instructor told me that a new PC repairman was hired to update some systems at their college. The new repairman installed the cards and tested the systems and the systems worked. But, he mishandled the parts, and the parts received small electrostatic shocks wounding them. The damage wasnt immediately deadly, but it would greatly increase the chance the part would fail in the future.
Two weeks later, the components failed. And, the repairman was called back. The repairman said these parts seemed to be flaky and unreliable. He replaced the parts and tested the systems again. The systems worked.
A few weeks later, the systems failed again! This time, the experienced computer repair instructor was on hand to examine the repairs and immediately saw that no precautions were taken to protect the sensitive cards from ESD. The parts were carelessly handled. The instructor predicted that the parts would similarly fail in the next few weeks, and he was correct. Improper handling of sensitive computer parts destroys millions, if not billions, of dollars of computer parts annually.
This is more of a problem for parts that could easily have been used before, such as mainboards which usually come in boxes that arent shrink wrapped, than it is for parts that are packaged for retail sale and which are shrink wrapped.
For example, its impossible to purchase a returned retail box version of the AMD Athlon CPU. Those plastic boxes arent going back together after being opened! So, you know your CPU hasnt been improperly handled. Thats much better than purchasing a CPU that doesnt come in a sealed box. (It actually takes some builders more time to figure out how to open the AMD plastic CPU box than it does to install the CPU!)
Some builders have also been ripped off by companies who overclock CPU chips and pass them off as faster chips than they are rated. Purchasing your CPU as a sealed retail box version protects you here also.
You probably wont have any trouble returning faulty parts to a reputable mail-order vendor, but if you run into any hassles, it might be useful to know that the reason most vendors offer 30-day money back guarantees isnt the goodness of their hearts. The 30-day return period is mandated by the Federal Trade Commissions 30-day mail-order rule, which says that consumers have the right to return mail-order products they arent happy with.
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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005
Adapted with permission from a work created by Charlie Palmer.
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