July 2011

So back in April my laptop died and it was time for a replacement. I’m usually a Toshiba guy, but after some shopping around I settled on a relatively new company in the laptop world by the name of Asus. Now this thing is a monster… huge screen, tons of ram, awesome processor and a great video card. Everything I need in a laptop. It even sports a completely new design where cooling is concerned that keeps the video and CPU separate and cool. I tell you I’ve never had such a quiet and cool laptop, even when ramming away on the newest graphics intense games like Crysis 2. Awesome.

Fast forward a few months and it’s time to get the desktop up to speed as well. As always, I built from scratch. My old machine was a single core AMD 64 clocked at about 2.4 GHz. The new beast is a quad core AMD with stock clock of 3.2. (I’ve got it overclocked to about 4.1 though!) So at the heart of this system is the motherboard, and having been so impressed with the Asus laptop, I decided to go with them for the board as well. Got a nice, somewhat future proof board that will handle the next generation AMD 8 core processors, so I can upgrade my existing system in a few years without having to go back to square one again. Of course, I need good video cards for everything from editing to games. On choosing this particular board, a bit of my reasoning was the ability to use SLI. SLI let’s you put two identical graphics cards in one machine, link them together, and have the equivalent of one big (cough, cough… expensive) card. The thought was that I start out with one, see how far it gets me, then put in the second down the road. Let me tell you I had the second card ordered about four days after I powered the system on. So I get the new card in and can’t get the SLI to work. Low and behold, the only drivers for SLI on this board are beta! Asus has been selling this motherboard for two months, claiming it can do SLI, and THE COMPANY THAT OPERATES ON SLI DOESN’T EVEN SUPPORT THE CHIPSET YET! I could go on forever telling you how I tried this and that, but it all ends up with me getting an RMA for two video cards and buying one new one. A BIG ONE. Keep in mind the true culprit here isn’t the cards I’ve returned, it’s the motherboard that claims to support SLI. Asus.

So here’s where it get’s fun. The same day I throw in the towel and call for an RMA on the video cards, the laptop stops charging. Take out battery, plug into wall, nothing. The problem seems a little odd though, as the power adapter has a happy green light as it always did. So…

  • Call #1 to Asus. Advised to send laptop and adapter in for repairs. Will send RMA, shipping instructions to email. I receive RMA number over the phone, but never get the email. So, I follow up with:
  • Email #1 to Asus. Hey, never got my RMA email. I have the number but never got shipping instructions or label. They respond with shipping instructions, but no shipping label! Since my warranty specifically guarantees two way shipping, I now have to make:
  • Call #2 to Asus. They give me a new RMA number and we figure out that the reason why I never got the first email was because the foreign, barely English speaking bonehead from call #1 entered my email address incorrectly. So now I get a nice big email packet with all kinds of instructions (which I have from email #1) and an additional attachment with checklists and stuff. Right about now I’m kicking myself for letting the little prick off the phone, because there’s still no shipping label! THE ONLY THING I’VE NEEDED SINCE BEING TOLD THE RMA NUMBER IN CALL #1! So…
  • Call #3 to Asus. This time I get an American who speaks perfect English. “Do I get free shipping with my warranty?” I inquire? “Yes sir, you do” he responds. “Well that’s good to know… so could you enlighten me to the logic behind your system? Because I want to know why it takes three phone calls and an email to get a shipping label?!” I retort. “Um… well that’s definitely not how it’s supposed to work” comes the voice from the other end of the line.
  • Now I have to hand it to this kid, he’s the first person I dealt with that knows his ass from a hole in the ground. Guy number one screwed up the email address, or everything would have been fine. Email guy probably didn’t spend the time to look into my situation, and certainly dropped the ball by not actually solving the issue I had presented. Guy #3 didn’t complete the task of assigning a new RMA, you know, the part where I get the shipping label. And guy number 4, this guy, he got it right. God dammit Asus hire more people like this please! And for Pete’s sake if you’re going to have operators taking calls from Americans, make sure they can speak clear English! Is that really too much to ask?

    So I’ll follow up later as I wouldn’t want to leave this tale unfinished. In the meantime, I would find it hard to recommend Asus. They make good stuff, when it works. But their support is for the dogs. 1 out of 4 isn’t such a good ratio by my calculations.

    Posted a few new pics in my infrared gallery:

    Waiting on Pinky’s replacement green card. Don’t think I posted about the mix up with the first one. USCIS has a little trouble with month/year stuff it seems…