bit-tech.net

Richard's Biggest Fails of 2009

Posted on 4th Jan 2010 at 12:33 by Richard Swinburne with 29 comments

Richard Swinburne
Joe didn't let me put this in the Biggest Fails of 2009 article because he doesn't like bullet points. I do though, so I'm posting my Biggest Fails of 2009 as a blog instead...

By which I mean, my choice observations of failure, not my own personal mistakes.

Ahem.

Anyway, we’ve had a bumper year for new products – many of which have leaped forward in terms of performance: Intel's Lynnfield and Nehalem EP CPUs, Indilinx SSDs, DirectX 11, ATI HD 5800 series, Windows 7 (and of course, Snow Leopard and Karmic Koala). Even minor updates such as SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 have shown promise. However, there have been many failures - and unlike everyone else in the main Fail article, I'm not going to limit my rage to just one. Nope, I'm ranting about them all!

People who bought into 'Green' or Eco-branded products
It's not green, it's just slow. Those hard drives, for example, save about one to two watts at most – and that efficiency could be lost between one power supply or another, or by simply adding another fan. They have very acceptable, very specific uses, but they are not going to dramatically reduce your PC power bill or save the polar bears.

AMD Athlon II X4 620 quad core
Yes, it’s cheap, yes it’s a quad core, but with no L3 cache it’s up to 15 per cent slower than competing CPUs. AMD is the only company I know who has cancelled perfectly great products such the Phenom II X3 720 BE and Phenom II X2 550 BE and replaced them with SLOWER hardware. You cannot cheat the system: a £75 quad core is £75 for a reason.

Seagate's Barracuda XT
This is the only hard drive out there that uses SATA 6Gbps. It’s chuffing expensive, and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. Talk to me next year when SATA 6Gbps SSDs arrive, but even then most of the motherboard chipsets are bottlenecked to some degree anyway. Upgrade proof? No. Consumers should wait this one out.

24, 32, 1000, half a million-phase CPU power regulation
It's just not needed. If it was, the 8-pin CPU power header and PSU cabling would melt long before you reached its capacity. Other, cheaper boards seem to overclock perfectly well with a fraction of this much over-engineered power capacity.

Everyone has missed the fact that more components = more chance of failure. This particular peeing competition is held at the cost of the consumer, and arguably the companies involved in this escalation of power phases are focussing more on their rivalry than on end users. Fortunately for them, the average customer (and even reviewer) buys the marketing.

MSI MFlash
We’ve bricked several boards this year – I just did another today in fact – and there's NO BIOS recovery method whatsoever when it happens. Another brick of plastic and PCB is not what I ordered. Your boards may have got better elsewhere, but a fundamental issue like this is unforgivable.

“Silent” everything
It’s become an intangible, unquantifiable word that no one believes anymore. Silent means "does not make any noise. At all. Ever." I can just about take silent fans, if they're so quiet as to be for all practical intents and purposes, inaudible, but it's ludicrous that we still see numerous high airflow gaming cases or heatsinks which have silent branding. We’ve already shown this year in our fan labs that many, many claims of silence simply don't hold up in reality.

Nvidia Ion
Excuse me, but it’s taken Ion products the best part of this YEAR to become an easily usable, GPU accelerated solution. Yet without a new graphics product to focus on, the relentless Nvidia marketing machine was in overdrive claiming how it was going to make your children into geniuses, save marriages and bring peace in the Middle East. Except, before Windows 7 and Adobe 10.1 alpha it was such a fuss to get DVXA working right with all types of video, and even then you couldn’t get flash to play properly because you had to rely on Intel’s Atom CPU.

Athlon Neo and AMD’s attempts at ultra mobility
The HP DV2 was the only product at the start of the year and it was not only late, it had a real world battery life you could measure in minutes. Plus it wasn’t all that nippy either. What do we currently hear about AMD’s ultra mobility products now and in the future? That’s right: sod all.

DFI
Not ONE good board this year. Efforts in 2009 included the “retail” X58 JR we received that had the wrong capacitor installed, so it subsequently burnt out 12GB of memory. With software and features that haven’t evolved much beyond 2006, we doubt the LANParty division will be here beyond 2010.

Intel
Lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit: when will it end? How does it feel to have the last decade catching up with you?

Phew.

That feels better - here's to a great 2010, eh?

29 Comments

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Gunsmith 4th January 2010, 13:44 Quote
you forgot the GFWL relaunch :(
Sifter3000 4th January 2010, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith
you forgot the GFWL relaunch :(

You didn't read the main fail article, did you? It's on page five of that.
Dr. Strangelove 4th January 2010, 13:56 Quote
Quote:
By which I mean, my choice observations of failure, not my own personal mistakes.

Ah damm.. that could have been fun to read.. and no I would not think less of you we all make mistakes ;)

anyway nice addition to the list
Gunsmith 4th January 2010, 14:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sifter3000
You didn't read the main fail article, did you? It's on page five of that.

didnt realise it was multiple page

im still half asleep this morning
proxess 4th January 2010, 14:26 Quote
IWnet?
capnPedro 4th January 2010, 14:48 Quote
Am I the only person who doesn't have a problem with MW2's multiplayer? It just works for me. Yeah, I've had an occasional lag problem, but not really any more than I have with dedicated servers.
CardJoe 4th January 2010, 15:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnPedro
Am I the only person who doesn't have a problem with MW2's multiplayer? It just works for me. Yeah, I've had an occasional lag problem, but not really any more than I have with dedicated servers.

Same here. I had some problems originally, but I quick fiddle with my network sorted it out.
yakyb 4th January 2010, 16:45 Quote
disagree witht he green drives i have 5 * 1.5 TB in my server which is on 24/7 saving me ~20W/hr

or i think ~ £18 a year

the price for them was no more expensive when i bought them aswell

and the performance is great for H.264 / mp3 / Websites / other home use
Skiddywinks 4th January 2010, 17:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnPedro
It just works for me.

Yeh, and the just part is the issue. It doesn't do anything else. We have PCs God damn it! I want a little bit more from my £40 purchase than, "it works". No dedicated servers, no clan support, no mods. Frankly, I think it is sickening.
Skiddywinks 4th January 2010, 17:13 Quote
And that's forgetting how terrible the whole cheating issue is handled!
smc8788 4th January 2010, 17:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
Frankly, I think it is sickening.

What?

The Holocaust was sickening. Clubbing baby seals to death with a piece of wood is sickening. Sarah Jessica Parker's face is sickening. IWNET is a trifling matter all things considered; a mere inconvenience or annoyance in your daily life.

Have some perspective please.
Er-El 4th January 2010, 18:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
Yeh, and the just part is the issue. It doesn't do anything else. We have PCs God damn it! I want a little bit more from my £40 purchase than, "it works". No dedicated servers, no clan support, no mods. Frankly, I think it is sickening.
Actually you have clan support. You use the Steam groups feature and private matches.
CardJoe 4th January 2010, 18:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
Yeh, and the just part is the issue. It doesn't do anything else. We have PCs God damn it! I want a little bit more from my £40 purchase than, "it works". No dedicated servers, no clan support, no mods. Frankly, I think it is sickening.

You pay the same as the console players - what makes you think you're entitled to more, other than precedent? Get a grip.
knuck 4th January 2010, 18:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
What?

The Holocaust was sickening. Clubbing baby seals to death with a piece of wood is sickening. Sarah Jessica Parker's face is sickening. IWNET is a trifling matter all things considered; a mere inconvenience or annoyance in your daily life.

Have some perspective please.

rofl

way to set an example :D
wuyanxu 4th January 2010, 18:46 Quote
but green hard drives are cheap. was £55 for 1TB from BT user Buzzon, 1 year ago.

why does everyone forgot Fermi and Larrabee?

also, Richard is a hardware guy, (so am i) so get the games/software stuff out of here.
knuck 4th January 2010, 19:16 Quote
it's on the blog. It's just his opinion so he can put whatever he wants in there
bagman 4th January 2010, 19:50 Quote
why does everyone keep talking about everything which sucks (like we don't have enough depressing things to think about) why don't we talk about the things which where succesful
CharlO 4th January 2010, 20:08 Quote
You are my very own idol!
Farfalho 4th January 2010, 20:19 Quote
When people who have bought MW2 will stop b*tch*n around, let it go, for god's sake! I had issues, I managed to get them sorted out and enjoy the game. Always the same complaints.

Agreed with the bagman, talk about the succesful things since they're more pleasant to know, read and discuss.

If you want depressing things turn on the news, there you have a full hour of misery...geez... that's why I don't watch them.
Xtrafresh 4th January 2010, 21:42 Quote
Post does not deliver, i was promised bulletpoints!
Hugo 4th January 2010, 22:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghys
it's on the blog. It's just his opinion so he can put whatever he wants in there

The whole site is 'just' opinion; which is why I nobody minds Joe being wrong all the time =)
kenco_uk 5th January 2010, 01:13 Quote
I bought a silent tower fan, y'know, the sort that blow cool air around the room on a hot summers night. I'd have been better off waving two dustbin lids occasionally clattering them together tbh. I think the only place it'd be silent is at the bottom of a lake.
azrael- 5th January 2010, 01:34 Quote
Just need to point out that, everything else being equal, USB 3.0 is *not* a minor update. It may use the same connector, but tech-wise USB 3.0 is more like an external PCIe connection.
dec 5th January 2010, 01:52 Quote
i wouldnt mind an external pcie connection. save up enough money and get 7 gtx295s and fold@home on 12GPU's while playing crysis on the last two
Bindibadgi 5th January 2010, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HugoB
The whole site is 'just' opinion; which is why I nobody minds Joe being wrong all the time =)

Going for the groin on that swing, eh, Hugo?
Jamie 5th January 2010, 12:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dec
i wouldnt mind an external pcie connection. save up enough money and get 7 gtx295s and fold@home on 12GPU's while playing crysis on the last two

Don't forget to save enough money for the electricity bill to go with that.
Hugo 5th January 2010, 21:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Quote:
Originally Posted by HugoB
The whole site is 'just' opinion; which is why I nobody minds Joe being wrong all the time =)

Going for the groin on that swing, eh, Hugo?

That's what she said.
Skiddywinks 6th January 2010, 00:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
What?

The Holocaust was sickening. Clubbing baby seals to death with a piece of wood is sickening. Sarah Jessica Parker's face is sickening. IWNET is a trifling matter all things considered; a mere inconvenience or annoyance in your daily life.

Have some perspective please.

Those things are in fact so horrific that I don't think there are words for them. What about the fact that I feel that horrific isn't a good enough word for them? Or the fact i don't think any words are good enough? I could just as easily tell you to get some perspective.

Oh, except SJP's face. That's merely "Eugh" in my opinion!

Maybe horrific was a little strong, but it was at the end of a rant, so my blood was a just a little warm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Er-El

Actually you have clan support. You use the Steam groups feature and private matches.

Fair play, that obviousness had somehow missed me. At least I should imagine it works pretty well then?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
You pay the same as the console players - what makes you think you're entitled to more, other than precedent? Get a grip.

Wow, sorry to have offended you so much by giving my opinion Joe. It's not even so much that they didn't bother with putting in the things that make PC games great, it's the reasons. And number one of those is money. I can appreciate they are going to not make so much off the PC version, but they are clearly going to make such ridiculous amounts off the console versions anyway, that it seems like cost cutting to the max on one of the most successful franchises ever.

The usual methods work a lot better, and give PC consumers a lot more for there money. Instead they went out of their way to develop a worse system. Where is the logic in that? They could have easily done the usual and I am sure they would have gotten far more sales than they did on the PC. They just seem to have shot themselves in the foot for no reason, and the only real people to suffer are the PC buyers.

And while it isn't specifically IW's fault, the fact that computers cost a lot more and rarely get any tangible benefits really gets to me.

Precedent isn't the only reason either, since this series was born on PC. The original was downright amazing for the time. The other WW2 ones were less impressive, personally, but IW became what it was through the support of the PC community. While it may be silly to expect anything from that, it does still hurt some that they have just turned their once great PC support in to console oriented system that everyone is worse off for.

It doesn't stop me enjoying the game, but I certainly don't enjoy it nearly as much as MW1. And since this blog is all about opinion and listing what you consider industry failures, I figured I was well within my rights to vent.

This website is all about the best hardware and the enthusiast spirit, but getting a grip in this case would involve selling my PC, not bother reading this site, and just stick to consoles.
cybergenics 11th January 2010, 17:07 Quote
Bit of a huge oversight with the Green Hard Drives there. The Green label is a bit of a cheek, and overlook the actual power saving which may range from being non existent to being a (very) small cherry on an otherwise quite good cake, the more obvious advantages are less heat, less vibration and longer life, something which most people would benefit from if these drives are being uses as a second or third drive or in a NAS or external caddy.

In fact, my sentiments are echoed by someone else who looked at green hard drives less cynically than Bit Tech.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1004-page7.html
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