Got this email the other day:
I’m a videocard forum moderator over at AMDMB and I’ve been helping users with an apparent wide-spread defect in Gainward Ti4200 cards for a while now.
The symptoms are typically a “Pink screen of death” or “checker-board” crash while in 2D or 3D modes. This defect appears to affect both 64MB and 128MB models across all variations (i.e. Powerpacks and Golden Samples) and across all platforms (SiS, VIA, Intel).
The problem appears to be defective capacitors on these particular cards. Gainward appears to know about this problem and have been giving RMAs freely, even to those who have obviously voided their warranty. One user even visited the Gainward office (to do the RMA) and saw different stacks of Ti4200 cards, soldering irons, and capacitors.
However, Gainward is STILL sending out defective cards as replacements!
This is only the tip of what is going on.
Many of the users who have followed this problem are NewEgg customers. While most users dealt with Gainward directly, a few sent back their cards to NewEgg.
A few days ago, I had heard that NewEgg sold off a very large glut of these Gainward cards for $85. I suspect these are defective cards that NewEgg has received back from customers. With limited warranty and refund/exchange periods, these customers will likely get hosed on an apparent “deal”.
I feel that the victim in all this are the customers. Gainward has been very quiet about the problem and has shipped defective RMAs while knowing about the problem. NewEgg may have also.
The situation is appalling and many members are still struggling to get working cards to work from a purchase made six months ago! Some even have gone so far as to do 3 RMAs!
Gainward has been an enthusiast’s choice for a while. However, with these recent problems, I think it is time to re-evaluate.
If you feel this topic is noteworthy, then it would be great if you can post a note on your front page about it.
Here’s a link to the thread I started at AMDMB about the problem. this forum thread
Hopefully with some attention to this, we can get everyone their well-deserved videocards.
Thanks for your time!
Jonathan Hung (Jerky)
Videocard Forum Moderator
1) We have a rather long thread on the subject, too (and no doubt other forums do, too).
2) It’s probably not the best idea in the world to buy one of these cards.
3) While people did report in these forums that they received replacement cards from Gainward that were just as defective; I did not see similiar comments from anyone who bought a refurbished card from Newegg. Then again, that just recently happened.
While the comments about Newegg just repackaging these cards and reselling them is just a suspicion, it is not an unreasonable suspicion under the circumstances. That doesn’t make it so. Maybe Gainward did some soldering and sent them back to Newegg. Maybe Newegg did some soldering themselves.
However, until people who bought these cards say something about what if anything was done to fix these cards, it probably is not the best idea in the world to buy a refurbished Gainward Ti4200 from anybody until you hear otherwise.
If you happened to buy one of these cards, I’d read these forum threads and test it immediately, and if you have problems, please report them in these forums.
4) Some may say that I shouldn’t be emails from people from other places, or that the person who wrote should have kept it to “his” place.
To me, this is silly given the reality of the Internet. The computer hardware websites are like a bunch of castles in a land inhabited by nomads. The people in the castles may argue and fight and play all kinds of turf games, but most nomads pay absolutely no attention to that. They go wherever is best for them at that moment.
One should never take the information wholesale without attribution, but to me, posting a link to a forum thread is just the same as posting a link to an article. If you’re in the same position as the author of this email, and dealing with this kind of problem, I know I’d like to hear about it. Not guaranteeing we’ll post it (there will be premature or false alarms), but we’ll certainly consider it.
This is the sort of story that should be on a lot more front pages, and there should be a lot more stories like this. This is not a matter of two people having a problem. This is not a case where the company has not been given any chance to make things right. This is something people should know about to avoid what looks to be an unwise purchase based on the experiences of others.
If you don’t think so, let me ask you: Why not? Who benefits the most from these stories being kept away in the forum attic?