More Via Problems?

Per this,

. . . there are now some reports that a manufacturing problem has surfaced with the KT133A chipset. Reportedly, all chipsets shipped since April are unable to operate reliably at 133MHz, causing VIA to offer to reimburse motherboard makers the difference in price between the KT133 and KT133A. Some motherboards with these bad chipsets have apparently been shipped, but VIA may have dodged a bullet due to the industry slowdown. Many of the larger manufacturers seem to have a lot of inventory, so most of the newly manufactured boards had not yet hit the street before the problem was discovered. Unfortunately, these motherboard makers are not happy that they now have a large stock of boards that cannot be sold for what they cost to make, so the offer by VIA is not good enough, and VIA likely does not have the funds to pay for actual losses.

Please note: “chipsets shipped.” Not motherboards. They also say “most” of the mobos got caught. Not all.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Lie, Or Cover Up, or Get Slick

Like a lot of other companies, Via’s not exactly known for having an open-door policy. Too much gets kept secret, for instance, their website doesn’t have datasheets for any socket A chipsets.

When they do have problems, the policy seems to be “Say nothing until you’re forced to, then deny until you can’t.”

This creates two huge problems, one obvious, one not so:

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Too many companies act as if people have dinosaur (or at least Bart Simpson) brains and
get amnesia about the company’s past moves at the company’s convenience.

Well, God gave me a brain, and it has this habit of remembering things. Am I special, or is this something new in human evolution? I think not.

So Mr. Corporate Hall-Warrior, you may persuade yourself that you really pulled off a really slick one, but payback is waiting outside your bubble, waiting for next time. And it can be a mama.

“That was then, this is now” in these cases only proves brain dysfunction. How many lies does it takes to make a liar?

There is a question very rarely asked at public corporate gatherings. It goes like this: “You tell us this. Three months ago, you didn’t tell us the truth about that. Why should we believe you now?” The few times it gets asked, it’s usually a show-stopper.

If that question got asked regularly, we’d see much less of this nonsense.

“When the cat’s away, the rats will play” If a company’s prior practices leave its potential customers inclined to think the worst of them, this leaves the door wide open for that company’s enemies.

People who at least appear to be in a position to know can have their own agendas, and fairly often play fast and loose with what they know.

If, for whatever reason, you want to see such a company go down, you have plenty of room to shade the truth, or occasionally just fabricate. So long as you don’t do it too often, you can always say your sources must have misunderstood, or didn’t get it right, or circumstances changed.

The example that first comes to mind were those statements that Intel was going to prevent overclocking. Whoever said that had an agenda. Maybe that person was part of an Intel faction that really wanted the company to do that. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, or the guy wanted to feel powerful for a moment.

In this particular case, you may have some or even one guy working for a mobo company who for whatever reason is fed up with Via, and wants his company to move away from them. He figures Via is likely not to say anything at all, and if they deny, they’re not going to be believed.

So he says something, and if our journalist goes asks some other people elsewhere who don’t like Via, either, some might be inclined to think this a good idea and confirm the story.

It happens often enough. Not saying it definitely happened this time, and I’m not criticizing the person reporting this, but there are at least some questionable aspects to some parts of that statement, and much left unsaid. Could well be true, could well not be.

So what do you do? On the one side, you have a company with a reputation of not being forthcoming about problems. On the other, you have an anonymous source who may well be legitimately blowing the whistle, or may be spreading false FUD.***

Whom do you believe? If you believe one side, you may be helping a coverup if you’re reporting, or may get burned with a malfunctioning board if you’re buying.

If you believe the other, you may be getting suckered into a bogus “Don’t buy Via” campaign.

Now if Via were a forthcoming company, this wouldn’t be such a problem. See why honesty pays in the long run?

What To Do?

If you recently bought a KT133A board AND you’re having problems running at 133Mhz with it, you ought to take a look at the dates on the Via chips. You’ll see numbers like “0106” which will give you year and week.

If you have something with a date like “0113,” or later, you might want to start yelling.

If you haven’t bought anything yet, you have to wonder about these alleged mobos gathering dust. At some point, they’re going to get sold. I don’t think it would be beyond the capacity of some unscrupulous dealers to sell these downgraded boards as the real thing. I would be very suspicious of any amazingly cheap offers of KT133A boards in the near future from any place that, again, does not have a reputation for honesty.

*** One of my pet peeves. FUD is a much-abused word. It’s not always bad. A reasonable dose of FUD can be a very good thing to have on the battlefield. So is paranoia: a lot of people are out to get you there. 🙂

These are only bad when there’s no reason for it.

Email Ed

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